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- A gray cat slinks past a wooden house. There’s something a little intimidating attempting to describe.
Chez Khady and Simon” is an African farmhouse powered by solar energy, with an eclectic alternative library, hearty seasonal food fresh from the organic garden, music and dancing around the campfire, shady jungle hammocks and some funky chickens. We can arrange trips, language lessons (French and local languages), cooking lessons, music and dance courses and more – just ask. Or just come and hang around in a hammock.
What to expect
If it’s your first time in Africa, then Abene is the perfect introduction. Don’t worry, relax and you’ll have a great time, but it’s probably worth me stating up front – if are expecting 5 star luxury or you don’t like kids or animals, then we’re probably not the place for you. We have two toddlers that aren’t shy to join in, a dog, a couple of cats, plenty of chickens and a goat. I try to provide a tranquil retreat from the chaos of West Africa but can’t help it if the local mosque decides to broadcast a lecture through a distorted tinny speaker or someone organises a reggae party…this is Africa.
We are located between the beach and the village. The route to the beach is through a beautiful wetland area and typically takes 10 to 20 minutes for the 1.5 km walk.
Our staff are from a completely different culture and may have different concepts of time, environmental responsibility and customer service, but that’s not to say they won’t be working extremely hard and going out of their way to help you. We love hosting guests and even if Simon is off on one of his adventures, Khady and friends are generally around to chat, to guide you or to give advice. Equally, we’ll let you be if you just want to hang out in a hammock with a book or enjoy a beach holiday. As some earlier guests remarked: “We usually hate the home stay type of accommodation but Simon and Khady have the knack of only being there when you need them!”
Our home is built with local materials (mud from termite mounds and straw roofs), with minimal cement, using local labour (apart from the imported British labourer – Simon). We are solar powered and have European 2-pin sockets (adaptors easily available) – please note that we can’t charge anything with a heating element so you’ll have to leave the hair straighteners at home. Water is pumped from the well and not advisable for Europeans to drink, but we can provide large 10 litre or regular bottles of mineral water. Wifi access is available free of charge to guests for basic browsing.
Just Beautiful – a great experience
I absolutely loved my stay here. If you would like the perfect combination of personal touch with the independence to explore if you like, then this is just for you. Simon and Khady are great hosts and are really accommodating. Simon always has great advice for things to do and will happily show you around. Ask to see the giant Boabab tree! Entertainment is also excellent here. There’s an awesome reggae night in town on Wednesdays, the beach is paradise. The accommodation itself is wonderful: a traditional hut building with a beautiful interior, your own ensuite bathroom and separate toilet and there are meals provided if you wish. In short: would I come back? Yes. I’m saving for the next trip!
Melanie Horstead, UK, September 2013
“The best food we’ve eaten so far in Senegal!”