I didn’t purchase any visas before I came to West Africa, because they are super expensive in the U.S. and because situations change and many tourist visas are only good for 3 months. No point in getting over here with a bunch of visas to realize Guinea-Bissau isn’t safe to travel to right now and you shouldn’t take the bus from The Gambia to Ziguinchor. Which is exactly what happened.
So my trip which began in Senegal, and was to follow the coast and head east until Ethiopia, has changed to flying out of Dakar to Cape Town. That decision was made in part from visa issues and safety, and another part from a creepy couch surfing experience which has led me to booking a hotel room in Dakar for two nights before I leave, crouched in a corner rocking myself and whispering inaudible things. More on that later.
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My first experience couch surfing was wonderful. I arrived in Dakar at an unusually reasonable hour this time: 8:45 AM. Most of the flights arrive at 2 AM or some other such nonsense, where you are whisked away to your hotel to sleep a few hours and then get up to work. But not this time! Marcus, my couch surfing host, picked me up at the airport and we drove along the sunny cost, following the line of blue water and craggy rocks. His wife and a few friends were headed up to Lac Rose, would I care to join them?
Lac Rose is a Pink Lake, as the name suggests. It has an even higher concentration of salt than the Dead Sea, and the level of salt in the water causes a person to float. You cannot sink. It’s the weirdest sensation— and a burning one. Slightly raw or recently shaven area of skin will burn, so it’s not a place you want to swim for any length of time. But after a few beers at the bar next to the lake, bobbing in the salty water for a bit was fun, even with the burning.
Afterwards, we rented 4-wheelers (called quads here) and rode them all around the lake, racing over dunes and through small villages, until we got to the sea.
A dirtbag solo adventurer and storyteller, in 2015, Dani completed a 4,500 mile+ cycling journey through 15 countries from Portugal to the Republic of Georgia. Her most recent project, #FindingFitzRoy, documents her motorcycle journey down the Americas— from Washington, DC to Patagonia.