In my last post, I was going to Saint-Louis in Senegal and it was actually my FIRST time! Of course, I am excited because I cannot wait to share this beautiful city with you. Like I said, I was there for #FundWellMME2019, a Microfunding project with FundWell and the incubator of the University of Gaston Berger. I will tell you a little more about the project, and a lot more about Saint-Louis! Let’s get into one of Senegal’s most beautiful cities.
The region of Saint-Louis is about 264 kilometers away from Dakar and the city Saint-Louis is about 50 kilometers further ahead. Locally, the island of Saint-Louis is also known as Ndar. Furthermore, the city was actually the first French colony in West-Africa. In addition, it was actually the capital of Senegal from 1872 to 1957. The city consists of small alleyways and impressive 19-century colonial buildings. A little bit similar to Gorée Island. At night, the city might remind you of New Orleans with busy bars and live jazzmusic. The highlights of Saint-Louis include the International Jazz Festival where thousands of people come to celebrate Jazz. Other than that, you can visit the famous bridge Pont de Faidherbe, local restaurants and some national parcs such as La langue de Barbarie or the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary.
The island of Saint-Louis, or N’dar is a small strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Senegal river. Like aforementioned, Ndar used to be the capital of Senegal. It actually played an important cultural and economic role in West Africa. Additionally, it is also one of UNESCO’s protected world heritage sites. With its architecture, the island is a great example of a colonial city. Also, there is Guet N’dar, a coastal part that’s also a fish town. It kind of looks like Soumbedioune where there are loads of colorful Senegalese canoes that load off fish or leave on days end to catch some.
What I love about Saint-Louis are the vibrant colors, which we can also find on Gorée Island. As you guys may know already, I definitely LOVE Gorée island. I thought Saint-Louis would be more like Gorée Island, but bigger. However, there’s so much more that you can discover about Saint-Louis compared to Gorée Island. Other than that, Gorée is a real tourist hot spot. Even though Saint-Louis is too, it is less commercial and really authentic. I definitely loved the fact that I was able to visit family in Saint-Louis and not just discover.
If you are interested in visiting Saint-Louis from Dakar. There are actually a lot of ways to get to do so. We were lucky that Kémo and Pape were actually driving us to Saint-Louis and we made a half-day trip out of it. You however, could choose to take a local bus, a minivan/minibus or a 7-place. There are also different spots you can take your car or bus. For example, when I go to Podor, you can also get off at Saint-Louis. This bus departs from Stade Demba Diop almost every day of the week. Also, it is better if you call beforehand to reserve a ticket. Otherwise, you can always go to the big station Beaux Maraichers. This is also where I took the car to The Gambia.
FundWell and the University of Gaston Berger
Now a little more about FundWell and the reason for being in Saint-Louis! I am in Saint-Louis to attend the FundWell Microfunding & Mentorship Ecosystem that Sharesa has organized with some other people whom I’ll introduce you in my next post! Moreover, the FundWell MME will be done in partnership with the incubator of the University of Gaston Berger. My role throughout the program is to take pictures, assist the organizers and doing some translating. I can’t wait to share more about the amazing people I’ve worked with in the upcoming posts! Stay tuned and in the meantime, you can definitely press play below and let me take you around N’dar and teach you a thing or two.