Overlanding in Senegal II. – Taking it Easy

Last updated

January 25, 2018  

A noise woke us up in the morning as if we had set up our tent in the middle of a village market. About 50 cars were camping under a bunch of baobab trees and since we were never really far away from some villages, we were inevitably found by the locals.

The atmosphere wasn’t as friendly as we had experienced before though.

People seemed poor in the area, but I had the (perhaps wrong) impression that they were much better off than people we met before and not so desperately in need of much.

Villigers and an older Prado in Senegal
We have packed up our camping gear and were heading for Wassadou

I must have been wrong, because at least 100 people were roaming the camp area in search of anything they could potentially be given.

They were quite pushy, and on some occasions we had to ask them to leave our personal stuff alone and not to just take it. They even took the Toyota’s used air filter that I replaced after the previous day’s dust bath.

It wasn’t easy to pack up our camp in these circumstances.

Dusty interior of the Toyota after overlanding on the savanna

Anyway, we left and, just like after the hard off-road stage in Mauritania, decided to take it easy and drive straight to the next dedicated campsite, although Mate and Aliz in the Porsche decided to drive off-road.

We, along with Jim and Gyuri in the Discovery, stopped under a baobab tree to try and clear the dust from the interior of our cars.

We used Mate’s awesome ARB air compressor to blow the dust out of the back, the dashboard, the food-box… from everywhere. It was a job that took quite some time.

After a few hours of driving we arrived at the campsite, the Campement Wassadou on the Gambia riverbank. While on the road we had received a message from Mirek saying we should avoid Tambacounda because the town had been set on fire.

As we later found out, the government had introduced a new law making it mandatory for motorcyclists to wear a crash helmet. Senegal is a hot country, so I can sort of understand why people were unhappy about this new rule, but creating barricades throughout the town and setting them on fire may have been an overreaction.

Toyota Landcruiser Prado 120 GX470 on the ramp

Arriving in the campsite early meant we had time to cook a nice meal, have some beers and enjoy a relaxing day with other overlanders.

We may have had one beer too many.

Campement de Wassadou in Senegal
overland campsite
DIY table serving well in the overland rig
Campsite on the Gambia riverbank
Photo of author
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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