Senegal: program of the trip

from Feb. 20 to March 5, 2020

Port on the island of Goree in the bay of Dakar Photo: Judith Strohm

Day 1

Individual arrival from various German airports;more information here from May 2020.

The tour guide will have dinner in a restaurant with all those arriving by early evening. There will be time for an individual walk or to rest.

Day 2

After breakfast, the tour guide will explain the program for the next few weeks; then you will take a walk to get to know the area around the hotel, the modern government district "Plateau" around the ‘Place de l’Independance’.

A bus tour will then take you to other neighborhoods of the Dakar peninsula, also called Pate d’Oie (Goosefoot). The tour takes you past the port and the restored train station, past Dakar’s new cultural park with the Grand Theâtre and the Museum of Black Civilizations, toward the Cap Manuel lighthouse, the southernmost point of the peninsula; then drive along the coastal Corniche road through the popular working-class Medina neighborhood, the more upscale Mermoz residential district, and the Mosquee de la Divinite (Mosque of Divinity) in Ouakam to the controversial African Renaissance Monument in the Mamelles neighborhood, from which you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Dakar.

Pape & Cheikh is one of the hottest bands in Dakar Image: AfricAvenir

The tour ends in the Village des artistes, in the artists’ village between Yoff and Grand Foire, where we have dinner with a guest in the newly opened restaurant.

Day 3

You will get up early, because it is time to walk from the hotel to the Medina district, where you will meet the REFDAF (‘Women’s Network for Sustainable Development in Africa’) member organization AFÈME (Association des Femmes de la Medina). Madjiguène Cisse will present the nationwide women’s network REFDAF, and Yacine Ndiagne, who in addition to heading AFÈME is also a city councilor in the Medina, will be happy to answer questions about women’s self-organization and their position in politics and society.

Afterwards, you will go to the office of the Association of Women Lawyers of Senegal, an organization that has been working for decades to improve the legal situation of women and, among other things, helped to bring about the Parity Law.

Later in the afternoon you will go to one of the largest outskirts of Dakar, Guediawaye, where you will visit the teacher and storyteller (griot) Babacar Mbaye Ndaak. In his former high school, meet members of the Mourid brotherhood and listen to their chants before enjoying a privately cooked dinner together.

Supporters of the "Y’en a marre" movement in Dakar in spring 2012 Image: Archive

Afterwards, you will return to the hotel by bus.

Day 4

After breakfast, visit the Museum of Black Civilizations, newly opened in December 2018. If you are lucky, one of the artistic advisors, Professor Emeritus of German Studies Maguèye Kasse, will guide you through the exhibition dedicated to Africa’s contribution to human history. The idea for such a museum dates back to the 1950s by President Senghor.

In the early afternoon you will leave Dakar. By ferry you will go to the island of Goree, symbol of the "Maafa", the transatlantic slave trade. From here, people were deported into slavery for centuries. Although recent studies have since revised downwards the number of people shipped via Goree, this tiny island remains a place of introspection and remembrance.

Former slave house on Goree Island off Dakar – the opening in the background leads directly to the beach where slaves were ‘shipped’. Image: Archive

The first item on the program on the island is a visit to the "House of Slaves", world famous for the "Door of No Return". Baay Souley, a historian specialized in the history of Goree, will guide you through the house and tell the impressive and disturbing story of the European trade with enslaved Africans. Afterwards, Souley will still lead you across the island up to the famous cannon of Goree, but also into the catacombs of the island, now inhabited by artists and families, which extend over the entire hilltops.

In the evening, after the day tourists have left the island, Goree becomes quiet. In the backyard of Mame Penda, who runs a small restaurant, you will have dinner and can take in the island and its powerful history, in the company of Babacar Mbaye Ndaak, who will tell old stories – and perhaps a kora player will join you.

Day 5

After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to walk around the island on your own, to buy a piece of art from one of the numerous and very talented artists, or to reflect on the powerful history of the island.

Later in the morning, you will take the ferry back to Dakar and then make your way to Saint-Louis in the north of Senegal, right on the border with Mauritania. We will stop in Thiès, an important transportation hub and the center of a legendary anti-colonial railroad strike. In Thiès, we visit the carpet weaving factory "Manufacture Senegalaise Des Arts Decoratifs (MSAD)."

A large baobab tree on the central square of Goree Island Photo: Judith Strohm

Saint-Louis was the first French settlement on the African continent, founded 350 years ago. Initially also built as a transshipment point for the slave trade on a long island in the middle of the Senegal Current, Saint-Louis later became the capital of all of French Africa. The Saint-Louisans (like, incidentally, the inhabitants of Dakar, Goree and Rufisque, the so-called "Four Communes") were formally French, became self-confident citizens and sent the first black member of parliament to Paris.

Today, Saint-Louis is a city with a bizarre, uniquely tripartite geography: on the mainland, the commercial center, bustling and noisy; on the 25-kilometer-long and only 100-meter-wide headland that separates the Senegal Current from the open sea (Langue de Barbarie), the fishermen live, facing the Atlantic and a bit xenophobic. And in between, on both banks of the brown stream: the historic old town with 1344 protected buildings and morbid charm, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

You will arrive here towards evening, when the bridge built by Gustav Eiffel, now rusty, over the Senegal River, will blend harmoniously with the colors of the twilight. Dinner and overnight at a hotel on the historic island.

Day 6

After breakfast, you can turn your attention to this listed city on foot in the morning: the well-known preservationist Fatima Fall will accompany us on a walking tour of the city. Although there are efforts to restore the historic downtown, poverty and the resulting lack of awareness often lead to the demolition of listed buildings.

In the old town of St. Louis Image: Archive

Around noon, you will travel by coach about 7 km north to a village on the Senegal River. There you will visit a REFDAF – women’s cooperative, where women improve their household income by processing fish. They will also tell you about the problems they face in their work. After returning to St. Louis, in the late afternoon we will visit the local group of the African Network of Working Children and Youth, a kind of self-help group for young people.

Day 7

In the morning we visit the fashion designer Rama Diaw in her boutique. Haute couture is very important in Senegal and has produced a number of internationally renowned fashion designers.

In the late morning you leave St. Louis and drive about 3 hours to Touba, the holy city and stronghold of the Mourid brotherhood. Founded by the Brotherhood’s founder, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba in 1887, Touba is now the largest settlement in the country outside the capital region, with a population of three-quarters of a million. Despite its size, Touba continues to be run as a communaute rurale (rural community) like a village settlement. About one million pilgrims come to Touba every year for the Magal festival.

After a guided tour of the great mosque and some adjacent buildings such as the mausoleum, library, etc., leave Touba for the "Petite Côte" on the Atlantic Ocean, where you will check in and have dinner at the Hotel Espace Sobo Bade in Toubab Dialaw.

Meeting at the REFDAF office in Dakar Photo: Madjiguène Cisse

Day 8

Created by Haitian poet, theater maker and artist Gerard Chenet, Espace Sobo Bade is a fairytale-like and picturesquely located hotel overlooking the sea, but also a place of culture and cultural exchange.

After the intense program of the previous days, the opportunity to rest and process the many impressions. In the evening, there will be a dance performance by a local dance group led by choreographer Yama Ndione, herself a native of Toubab Dialaw, who has made it her mission to train the younger generations in contemporary and traditional dance.

Day 9

The morning is at leisure. However, if you want to do something, you can either visit the nearby town of Toubab Dialaw on your own or take a walk on the beach.

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to visit the eco-farm "Ferme des 4 Chemins" on the outskirts of Toubab Dialaw, an impressive organic farming project that, among other things, provides numerous local women with their own income. Afterwards we will visit the "ecole des Sables", a famous training center for choreography and contemporary dance founded and directed by Germaine Acogny and her German partner Helmut Voigt.

The beach at Toubab Dialaw Image: Archive

Day 10

The next day begins with a last breakfast on the hotel terrace before heading back to Dakar.

In Dakar we will meet journalism professor and critical journalist Mame Less Camara at the Journalism Institute of the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar. Camara will tell us the history of the Senegalese press, from its colonial beginnings to its liberalization in the 1990s and the role of the press today, for example, in elections.

Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for lunch at the very pleasant campus restaurant (optional) before we drive to the Saint Louis Sun hotel and check in again.

After a break, we will drive towards Yoff to meet the writer Ken Bugul: she will read from her work and discuss it with you – and also be our guest at dinner.

Day 11

The morning program includes a visit to the pan-African research institute CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) and a discussion with the head of the publications department Divine Fruh. Fruh will explain to us the workings and focus of this unique research institution, which was (co)founded by the recently deceased Egyptian economist Samir Amin and now functions as a major pan-African think tank.

From CODESRIA, it’s a pleasant walk through the Point E neighborhood to the Heinrich Boll Foundation headquarters, which opened in 2018. Here we meet the director Usha Ziegelmayer and colleagues and have the possibility of an (optional) lunch together after the talk.

Dakar, Medina district Image: Joseph Hill

In the afternoon we drive to one of the large working class neighborhoods on the outskirts of Dakar, to Pikine, where the Hip Hop Akademy (Hip Hop training center) is located. We meet Amadou Fall Ba, the energetic manager of the center, as well as other Hip Hop activists and talk about the aspirations of the youth, the role of Hip Hop and about the academy itself.

In the evening, conversation and dinner together in a restaurant with journalist Tidiane Kasse of "Pambazuka", a pan-African online platform for social justice; then return to the hotel.

Day 12

In the morning, we drive to the Mermoz district and meet Ibrahima Thiam from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Thiam, who studied and earned his doctorate in Germany, explains to us the Luxemburg Foundation’s focus in West Africa.

In the afternoon, you will drive to the Hann Pecheur district, visit the theater group "Kaddu Yaraax" and meet its director Mamadou Diol. Using the "Theater of the Oppressed" developed by Augusto Boal, Kaddu Yaraax does efficient community education work on various topics such as environmental protection, migration, etc. and manages to mobilize the local population for the development and protection of their own neighborhood.

Street theater of the group "Kaddu Yaraax" in Dakar Photo: Eric van Grasdorff

Dinner at a restaurant with Madjiguène Cisse.

Day 13

On the last morning we have the opportunity for a last individual city walk or for shopping at the markets Kermel or Sandaga.

In the afternoon we will conclude the trip together with an early dinner; you will also have the opportunity to exchange experiences during the trip.

Part of the tour group will leave for the airport around 7 pm, the others will stay, together with the tour guide, until the evening. (For details see: Prices and Services)

Day 14

Individual journey home.

Rearrangements and changes in detail possible. As of February 26, 2020.

The return flight can also take place later individually. Please contact the organizer for details.

For Senegal are no vaccinations required; what you should consider in terms of vaccinations can be found in the country information of the Centrum fur Reisemedizin (CRM); the taz trip belongs to the category "Travel condition 3".

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