Island Time In Africa
We left Morocco for our next destination, Senegal, but not before being invited to our landlord Mhand’s home for lamb couscous.
Mhand’s daughter Nadia graciously prepared a large couscous meal for me, Michael, Mhand, and two other guests at the house where we’d rented an apartment.
After the meal, Nadia made amlou for us to take home: a kind of peanut butter made of peanuts ground up with argan oil and honey. She used a stone grinder that has been in Mhand’s family for 200 years.
We had waves almost every single day we were in the little fishing village in Morocco, but we were still looking forward to getting to Senegal, where the weather and water is a little warmer this time of year.
We splurged a little and stayed at the best surf camp in Senegal for the first two weeks we were here: N’gor Island Surf Camp.
It’s on tiny N’gor Island, which is only 800 meters long, and has no cars. There are two surf breaks on the island; one on each side. The right works more often than the left, and can hold large swells. The right is also the wave that was featured in the classic surf movie The Endless Summer, and there’s a hand-painted sign above the wave proudly announcing this fact:
There are many other excellent waves within a 30-minute walk of the mainland beach that faces N’gor Island. To get across, we have to take one of the pirogues, which cross the 700-meter channel every 10 or 15 minutes:
While staying at the surf camp, the entire camp took a little trip to a secluded surf spot called Spot X and surfed some fun, long and clean head high peelers:
The beaches on N’gor Island are small but pretty, with little restaurants and places renting mats for sunbathing and makeshift cabanas for privacy:
The island’s sandy footpaths are lined with palms and wind past cute houses:
The island is full of artful details and colorful characters:
There are many skilful spear fishermen who ply their trade every day in the waters around the island and then sell the fish fresh off their spears:
We’ve rented a cute little bungalow where we spend any non-surf time sitting on our veranda, reading and writing or hanging out with friends.
We’ve ventured into downtown Dakar several times, once to visit the markets selling produce, fish, clothing, handicrafts and fabulously colored fabrics. The local women wear matching headwraps and dresses in gorgeous African prints. We weren’t buying, but were happy to feast our eyes on the lovely colors while one of our friends shopped for fabric.
We’ve gotten to spend a couple of afternoons hanging out with two surfing friends from New York, Elie and Nate, who moved to N’gor Island one year ago. They work in consulting for development projects in several African countries, and are also social entrepreneurs. One of Elie’s many projects is Mama Liberia, a women’s co-op based in Liberia that produces beautiful, handcrafted bags and duvet covers from amazingly printed African fabrics. They can be shipped anywhere in the world, and the hand stitching is super durable. This is my Mama Liberia bag, which has quickly become my favorite carry-all: