4.1 C
New York

Senegal’s offering bargain basement winter breaks – and now you possibly can fly direct with Tui

Published:

The creaking appears to be nothing greater than the gentle listing of the picket pirogue boat because it softly lolls on the green-tinged waters of the Sine-Saloum delta.

However the creaking is definitely the sound of dinner on this coastal region of Senegal. What I can hear are oysters slowly opening their shells in cages submerged along the delta’s edge.

They’re then caught and cooked by the Serer people, considered one of the dominant groups on this West African coastal region, which has just turn into an entire lot easier to access from the UK.

Vibrant nation: Rob Crossan checks into the gargantuan Riu Baobab resort in Senegal. Tui has launched its first direct-flight, package-tour holidays to the West African country, he reveals 

British tour operator Tui has launched its first direct-flight, package-tour holidays to Senegal — a rustic where, up until now, tourism has been almost entirely made up of holiday makers from France, the colonial ruler of this vast nation until 1960.

My experience of floating serenely through the Sine-Saloum Delta was probably the quietest moment I had on this vibrant West African nation.

Riu Baobab resort is the fulcrum for Tui’s entry into Senegal: a white-washed behemoth with greater than 500 rooms on the fudge-yellow sands of the Atlantic coast.

It’s around a 75-minute drive along the flat, acacia and scrub-dominated landscape from the international airport within the capital city, Dakar.

There are local touches to my room, with picket masks and enormous black-and-white art prints of djembe drums on my wall. 

The Riu Baobab resort is a 75-minute drive along the flat, acacia and scrub-dominated landscape from the international airport in the capital city, Dakar (above)

The Riu Baobab resort is a 75-minute drive along the flat, acacia and scrub-dominated landscape from the international airport within the capital city, Dakar (above)

Though that is removed from a boutique safari-esque experience. The tubby, middle-aged men drinking lager and eating chicken nuggets within the swim-up alfresco bar remind me of a flooded Wetherspoons.

And although there are Senegalese options on the menu, the fundamental restaurant buffet is predominantly stocked with British staples.

A winter temperature of 30c is one draw; one other is the all-inclusive option (it really works out from £116.50 per day, per person with all food and alcohol), which is remarkable value, especially factoring within the water slides for kids, evening entertainment and live music.

Rob finds that there is a predominantly British crowd at Riu Baobab resort (above)

Riu Baobab resort's all-inclusive option works out from £116.50 per day, per person with all food and alcohol

Riu Baobab resort’s all-inclusive option works out from £116.50 per day, per person with all food and alcohol

The local infrastructure may be dodgy, as I find during a seven-hour power blackout one evening, which suggests eating our dinner and finding the method to our rooms by cell phone light. But these look like teething problems borne with good humour by the predominantly British crowd.

If you happen to’re used to the vast expanse of the Kruger National Park in South Africa or Chobe in Botswana, then you definitely’ll probably consider the day trip to the nearby Bandia Reserve something of a playpen.

But inside its 13 square miles is a wealth of giraffes, eland, buffalo, zebras, sunbirds and even a few rhinos who, sadly, decided to not make an appearance during my 4×4 drive around. On the centre of the reserve is a baobab tree that holds a dark secret.

For, in a convention dating back centuries and only outlawed in 1962, this baobab trunk (together with many others in Senegal) was used as a burial ground for sages, singers, musicians, poets and storytellers, referred to as griots to the Serer people.

Rob goes on a serene boat trip through the green-tinged waters of the Sine-Saloum delta (above)

Rob goes on a serene boat trip through the green-tinged waters of the Sine-Saloum delta (above)

Guests staying at the Riu Baobab resort can take a day trip to the nearby Bandia Reserve (pictured), home to a wealth of zebras

Guests staying on the Riu Baobab resort can take a day trip to the nearby Bandia Reserve (pictured), home to a wealth of zebras

Sunbirds are native to Senegal and its Bandia Reserve, Rob reveals

Sunbirds are native to Senegal and its Bandia Reserve, Rob reveals

Most human skeletons have now been removed but a skull stays on show at the bottom of the tree in Bandia.

Back on the resort I can’t resist taking one last dawn walk along the beach because the sun suggestions its hat upwards towards one other day of balming heat. The undertow tug of the Atlantic warns me to maintain my sea adventures to nothing greater than a toe-tickling dip.

Yet the fishermen within the village of Pointe Sarene, a 30-minute walk from the resort, are hardier than me, tugging their pirogue boats towards the shore at 7am loaded with a nocturnal catch of dorada and captain fish.

I enterprise inside a shack on the shoreline that sells all the pieces from soap powder to automotive axles and partake in a cup of touba coffee infused with cloves, which is sort of a bargain at 70CFA (around 9p) for a cup. I believe Senegal will shortly be on the radar of those of us keen to flee the rigours of a British winter.

TRAVEL FACTS

TUI offers seven nights on the 4T+ Riu Baobab on an all-inclusive basis from £816 pp. Price relies on two adults sharing a double room with balcony or terrace, departing from London Gatwick on January 9, 2023, including transfers. See tui.co.uk, visit a TUI store or download the app.

sportinbits@gmail.com
sportinbits@gmail.comhttps://sportinbits.com
Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles

spot_img

Recent articles

spot_img