The Jazz Festival is such an important event in the international music scene that the main artists attend it every year.
Artists like Archie Sheep, Randy Weston, Lucky Peterson, Jake DeJohnette, Mc Coy Tyner, Ali Farka Tourè, Abdoullah Ibrahim, and Joe Zawinul have walked the stages throughout the years. Artists who have changed Jazz’s history. When the sun goes down, the Jazz’s rhythms mix with the natural African ones.
Day 1: DAKAR IN, Lac Rose
Transfer to hotel
Day 2: PINK LAKE, from Lac Rose to Saint Louis
Drive to Lac Rose, a shallow saltwater lake surrounded by dunes, also known as Lac Retba. The water is ten times saltier than in the ocean and thanks to this high concentration the lake often shimmers into pink. Workers here collect salt in the traditional way.
Miles of exciting drive on the beach by 4×4 will bring us to discover the largest fisherman village in Senegal. More than 4500 wooden painted pirogues come to the shore with the catch of the day… We will leave our vehicles for a less intrusive, but fun, donkey chariot to approach the fisherman selling to the local market women, to meet the artisans carving the large pirogues, the painters decorating them with bright colours, and if we are lucky the “local saint” for final blessing before sailing…
We continue to Saint Louis, a charming old town that was the first capital of all French colonies in West Africa.
We will attend the main event of the Jazz festival.
Day 3: JAZZ FESTIVAL
Saint Louis, known to locals as Ndar, is a charming ancient town that was a French territory from 1673 until 1895 and the capital of all French West Africa colonies from 1895 until 1902 when the capital was moved to Dakar. From 1920 to 1957, it also served as the capital of the neighbouring colony of Mauritania.
It has been the former base of the “Aeropostale” airmail pioneer operation between Europe, Africa, and South America. Saint Exupéry, the famous writer, author of “The Little Prince”, was one of Aeropostale pilots following this route.
Located on two islands between the Senegal river and the ocean at the southern edge of the Sahara, rich in three centuries of history, cultural background, geography, architecture, Saint-Louis is a “bridge” between the savannah and the desert, the ocean, the river, and the inland, between tradition and modernity, Islam and Christianity, Europe and Africa.
Home to a society with a distinctive lifestyle, Saint Louis has retained its unique identity. “No one comes without falling in love with the city,” proudly say its people who consider Saint Louis as the birthplace of Senegalese Teranga, the Wolof word for hospitability
The best way to visit the narrow lanes of Saint Louis is by calash, just as locals do, and walk in the fisherman quarters. Time to stroll in the tiny avenues and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this old town.
We will attend the main event of the Jazz festival.
Day 4: SAHARA ATMOSPHERE, from Saint Louis to Lompoul
After a final taste of Saint Louis ambiance, we drive to Lompoul desert.
The Lompoul desert is a small desert (about 18 km2) located 145 km south of Saint Louis. It is characterized by orange sand dunes forming a landscape that is more akin to those of the Sahara and Mauritania than those of the surrounding area of Senegal.
Day 5: NOMADS, from Lompoul to Ferlo region
Continuation to the Ferlo Desert to discover the arid region where nomadic Fulani tribes herd large droves of zebu. The Fulani (also called Peurl) are the largest nomadic tribe roaming West African Savannahs, living in a vast area from Senegal to Chad. Their origins are still covered with mystery. They all share a common aristocratic cult for beauty and elegance. In the afternoon a local guide will join us for a visit to the neighbouring villages and shelters. When the herds come back, we might even be invited to witness the milking process.
Day 6: SACRED CITY, from Ferlo to Dakar
The rarely visited holy town of Tuba (Touba) is the right place to appreciate the hospitality of an African brotherhood. Tuba inhabitants follow Mouridism and the town itself is a sort of theocratic “state within the state”, ruled by a Caliph. The founder of Mouridi brotherhood was a Sufi named Amhadou Bàmba Mbake.
Amhadou Bàmba founded Touba in 1887. The holy site remained a tiny, isolated place in the wilderness until his death and burial at the site of the Great Mosque, 40 years later. The Great Mosque was finally completed in 1963 and since its inauguration, the city has grown at a rapid pace: from under 5,000 inhabitants in 1964, the population was officially estimated at 529,000 in 2007
The Mourides have a large social and economic impact in Senegal: thanks to their peaceful (and African) vision of Islam, Mouridism, with other brotherhoods following the cult of Marabouts, has become the bastion that protects Senegal from radical Islam.
During the Grand Magal, the annual pilgrimage, the town is visited by four million pilgrims.
Mourides welcome any interest in their traditions. Yet since Tuba is a sacred town, all visitors should accept traditional rules. Therefore, we must apply a considerate dress code: not smoke, not drink alcohol and not listen to music during the visit. If we follow these rules, we will be welcomed. A Baye Fall, a member of a colourful branch of Mouridism, will accompany us during the visit.
Day 7: SINE SALOUM, from Kaolack to Sine Saloum
Sine-Saloum is a region of Senegal located north of the Gambia and south of the Petite Côte. It comprises an area of 24,000 square kilometers, about 12 percent of Senegal.
The western part contains the Saloum delta. This region is home to the Saloum Delta National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
Flowing very slowly, this delta allows salt water to enter deep inland.
Day 8: DAKAR OUT, from Sine Saloum to the airport
Private boat excursion: visit the mangroves and discover many bird species in their habitat, as well as reforestation programs, put in place to protect this region.
In the evening, transfer to the airport for the return flight.