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Spotlight on Senegal: The Saloum Delta

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Senegal’s Saloum Delta is a lot of things. An island made entirely of shells, take a riverboat tour down the delta where you can see miles of mangroves and animals or swim with fish in the delta’s waters. If you love nature, the Saloum Delta can’t be missed and we’ll tell you why.  

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What is the significance of the park? 

With evidence of civilization as early as 600 years ago, the symbiotic relationship between humans and biodiversity is evident at the delta. Many tribes in the area were spiritual and believed that they were connected with their environment. Those who visit can listen to the stories of griots (storytellers) about life before modern technology.  

Fun Fact: this is one of the rumored places where Jollof Rice was first crafted.  


How to visit the park 

Located above the Senegal-Gambia border, a group of villages inhabited by locals call the delta home. One of the more notable villages is Toubacouta, located about 4.5 hours south of Dakar and 1 hour away from Fatick. It is recommended that you drive in a private vehicle for the journey. For hotel/Airbnb reservations, go online and communicate with a local for confirmation. 

Things to do on the Saloum Delta

Shell Island 

shell island

It is a rare opportunity to be able to walk over land that is comprised of shells. Be amazed by the biodiversity that still remains on the island and watch wandering animals migrate from island to island. Once you head towards the center of the island, you can find gravesites of village chiefs that were buried inside of baobab trees and take a picture on the highest point of the island to see their neighbors. 


water @ saloum

While swimming in a traditional pool or lake might be nice, it is better when you swim with fish. Fish like to swim alongside their human counterparts and at night, you can see some glowing in the river. If you are up for the challenge, swim across islands (against the current) and walk inside of them. Depending on the season, you can spot pelicans inside the various islands and see monkeys that pop in and out.  

Boat Tour 

boat tour

If you stay in a hotel or if your Airbnb has connections, you can do a guided boat tour of the delta. A tour could include a visit to shell island, a closer look at the mangroves, and a chance to spot animals from a reasonable distance. It is hard to cover the 360,000+ acres of the entire delta, so it is best to spend time around your accommodation’s property.

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