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- A gray cat slinks past a wooden house. There’s something a little intimidating attempting to describe.
What to do in Abene
In Abene, you can visit the big tree, the craft market, relax on the beach or in our garden or just stroll around and enjoy the laid back vibes. I can lead you on local walks or point you in the right direction. Bicycles are available for hire in the village and I’ll soon be offering kayaking as well.
Drum & dance
Khady was a professional dancer and loves nothing better than to teach her craft.
We can arrange music (including djembe, sabar wolof, seorouba, kora and balafon) and dance tuition from 5000 cfa/lesson with reductions for groups or multiple lessons. Lessons will take place in the cooler morning and late afternoon leaving you free to explore or relax in between.
Abene is a great place to learn French as the language is generally spoken simply and slowly. We can also arrange for lessons in local languages such as wolof or diola. Please ask for details.
If you enjoy the food, Khady will be happy to teach you local cuisine and arrange visits to the markets.
Most local people are happy to be photographed, but as always, it is polite to ask first.
Ladies at the “Big Tree”, one of the main local attractions, will demand a donation and a coin or two usually suffices.
Bird spotting & wildlife
The Gambia and Senegal are well known bird watching destinations as the region is at the crossroads of equatorial Africa, the Sahara and the Atlantic, as well as being on route for birds migrating between Europe and the rest of Africa. Some 660 species have been recorded in the region. Although the Little Baobab is located close to national parks, to which we can arrange visits, you can also simply sit on your verandah and watch the birds in our garden.
Senegal isn’t a major safari destination like East or Southern Africa but that’s not to say there’s nothing to see. Our land is home to small mammals and reptiles, including monitor lizards. We are occasionally visited by monkeys in search of fruit. It is possible to see further varieties of monkeys, crocodiles and hippos in the region. Further afield are national parks with chimpanzee, lion, leopard, antelope, wart hog and more. We can arrange trips to any of these.
We are currently working with bird spotting guides from the Gambia and can make introductions if necessary.
This is Africa. We are offering adventurous tours in developing countries. Yes, there is a risk, but that is what makes them attractive to our participants. Having said that, I feel far more at ease in Senegal than I do in say London.
Our treks and tours can be strenuous in nature, thus requiring a robust and spirited attitude. We travel light in harsh conditions, staying and eating in local villages where food and facilities can require a sense of humour and positive mental attitude.We believe this gives you a unique cultural experience and the opportunity to really get under the skin of the region as well as have an awesome adventure.
This is not an organised tour in that everything will run smoothly and to plan. This is Africa, we will meet with challenges and these all add to the fun – I daresay they will be the bits you remember most. Transport can be antiquated and operating on a schedule that nobody, driver included, is sure of. Roads get washed away, boats may not turn up and you may be required to push now and again. The climate can be harsh, with extreme heat and the occasional downpour or dust storm. Local staff, guides and partners are from a completely different culture and may have different concepts of time, environmental responsibility and customer service – that’s not to say they won’t be working extremely hard and going out of their way to help you. Whilst trekking, we rely upon local food sources which can be excellent, sometimes not so. Sometimes we may get caught up in the power struggles or have disagreements with the police or other officials; verbal chess matches that we treat as a game.
The Little Baobab runs its tours with a team mentality. We will provide the leadership, but when the going gets tough we depend on your attitude for the trips success. There’s no typical team member, but what binds us is a spirit of adventure, a sense of humour, a positive outlook, team spirit and a certain level of fitness. If trekking, we will be hiking for up to ten miles a day, and it can get hot, although we aim for the bulk of strenuous activity to be in the cool of the morning or late afternoon. You do not need to be an extreme athlete, but a modest level of fitness is desirable. We carry a first aid kit.
In our view, Abene and the regions in which we travel and trek are as safe as any developing country and we regularly visit these areas. With our extensive network of friends and family, we keep an ear close to the ground and hold our guests safety as sacred.
By joining a tour with the Little Baobab you are accepting of these risks.
These are examples but can be tailor made depending upon your interests.
One day Kafountine and Swamp tour – 25000 cfa per person (min 2 people) – includes jeep hire, boat trip, garden entry and guiding.
First, we will visit the small Christian village of Kassel where we take a boat into the mangrove swamp and then around a large island that is home to hundreds of pelicans. Later we will visit the Art Oasis Botanical gardens in Kafountine where we can learn about the medical properties of many local plants. There is a chance for lunch either at local or French style restaurants and then a trip to the vast fishing village where tonnes of fish are smoked daily. After a quick visit to the new lino print art gallery, we can either visit a further piece of swamp where we can swim in the calm waters or another bush garden with bar for refreshments.
One day village tour – 25000 cfa/ per person (min 2 person) – includes jeep hire, local style lunch, local drinks and guiding.
Over the course of the day we will travel through the bush by 4wd through several villages, some Christian and some muslim. There will be a chance to sample the local cafe touba, palm wine and cashew liquor (depending upon the season). We will lunch at Khady’s family home and have a chance to visit the local hospital that the Little Baobab helps to support. The cost includes a small donation to the hospital.
One day village hike – 25000 cfa per group (includes guiding and local drinks).
From Abene, we will walk north through the bush to the christian diola village of Niafrang where we can sample the local palm wine (depending upon season), visit the village rice paddies and take lunch overlooking the mangroves. We will return via the beach.
Two day swamp hike – 50000 cfa/person (includes transport, guiding, accommodation, meals)
We will drive to the village of Kassel on the fringes of the mangroves from where we will visit the pelican island before being dropped on an island. After a 2 hour hike through salt pans and forest we will arrive in the Karoninke village of Couba where we will stay with a local family. We can explore local waterways in a dug out canoe, visit the rice fields and swim in the bolongs. Depending upon the season we can sample the palm wine and oysters. There is a chance to explore further the next morning before taking a different route back to Kassel.
One day swamp picnic – 10,000 cfa/person – includes transport, lunch and drinks
We visit a secluded beach on the edge of the mangrove swamp with calm waters for swimming and trails for local walks. Generally we grill fish on a fire and serve with salad. We’ll also bring an ice box stocked with drinks.
One day Ziguinchor tour
To be split between groups of 1-6:
45000 cfa for a private car or 6000cfa/pp public transport
35000 for boat trip
25000 cfa guiding fee
We will make a ninety minute drive to the provincial capital of Ziguinchor from where we make a two hour boat trip where we regularly see dolphins, pelicans, flamingos and other bird life. After lunch we explore the river front and the old colonial centre of Ziguinchor before returning to Abene. There will be a chance to use the ATM and wifi connections.
The Casa-trek is a journey across the Casamance between the Gambian and Guinea Bissau borders. The full trek can be completed in seven to ten days of walking and boating. Shorter versions or additional side trips can be made.
We trek through forests, along beaches and across mangrove swamps. We are working with the Chiefs to help develop tourism in a responsible and sustainable manner.
This is a unique chance to observe and participate in the village life of these remote communities and to observe some of their ceremonies and traditions.
Treks are tailor made to your needs and priced accordingly, depending upon the number of days, and methods of transport. For example, there are chances to hire private boats as opposed to waiting for local boats (which operate to their own and not our schedule). Although we mostly stay with local families en route, there are opportunities to stay at guest houses in Karabane, Djembering or Cap Skirring and to eat at local or French restaurants there.
The total cost is made up of the transport costs (including bush taxi return to Abene, unless continuing south), hotel/room fees, all meals and a guiding fee. The total cost (including the guides meals, transport and food) will be split between trekkers.
I can arrange personalised trips in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Mali. I can arrange a four wheel drive or minibus with driver or we can use public transport depending upon your budget.
Recent trips include:
Price quotations will include transport, food, accommodation, guiding fee and guides costs. Please message me for specific requests or further information, stating proposed destination(s), the number of guests, whether you’d prefer a private or public vehicle and budget, mid or top end food and accommodation: