Every country has its treasured destinations. Some talk about it freely, others keep it close to their chest. Today, we’re exploring what is arguably Senegal’s best-kept secret – the beautiful coastal city of Mbour, home to Le Village Artisanal de Saly. Also known as the arts and crafts market, this community project was established in collaboration with the Saly city hall. It is aimed at enabling over 200 local artists and craftsmen to showcase and sell their beautiful and varied works.
Le Village Artisanal de Saly houses some of the best souvenirs and gift items tourists can buy in Mbour and Senegal at large. It is situated by the main roundabout in central Saly; and you can buy things like masks, costumes, key holders, bracelets, wallets, African fabric, statuettes and lots more. It is advisable to come with a tour guide especially if you don’t speak the local language. Wolof and French are the dominant languages in Senegal.
The vendors could be very passionate when it comes to selling to tourists. So prepare yourself mentally before going to the market as you’re bound to experience cat calls and tugging from almost every direction. If you visit in the morning, it is much quieter and unnerving as against other times of the day when activities at the market are fast-paced and at its peak.
A very important tip to remember is the exorbitant initial prices usually quoted by the vendors – especially to tourists. The vendors intentionally charge three to four times above the actual price of products with the aim of making as much profit as they can from tourists. So just relax, listen to them, smile and offer them a third or a fourth of whatever price they declare. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they’ll budge, and if they prove stubborn please feel free to walk away. In most cases, they’ll be one to run after you or call you back to pay. What an interesting experience it is! So, the key is to be patient and firm about your decision on how much you’re willing to pay for any item.
Aside from the buying and selling, the market also organizes musical and cultural events periodically to entertain visitors and tourists. So if you’re visiting at the time this is being done, you can’t be luckier. On a final note, remember to have a significant quantity of CFA Franc bank-notes. You don’t want to run short of money and be at the mercy of the money changers. Better be prepared than sorry.
What’s more?! Just grab your pen and add Le Village Artisanal de Saly to your bucket list. It’s an adventure worth every penny and time of yours. Enjoy!