After a week in urban Senegal we headed to the beach on the far southern edge of the country. As I noted earlier the commute was pretty hellish, but I can now report that it was totally worth it. We had a great week at a truly beautiful resort.
We stayed at at place called Les Alizes. It’s well regarded on TripAdvisor, but that’s based on pretty limited reviews; only three in English so far in 2015. So it’s hard to have a good sense of what you’re going to get. Here’s what we did get. A small house all to ourselves; three bedrooms plus a loft, living room, kitchen, patio, and sun deck. Beautiful grounds just packed with flowers and vines and color. Some of the best food we’ve ever had at any resort anywhere in the world. A nice pool with comfortable loungers and a view to die for. A huge beach that went on for miles, also with great beach chairs.
And … we had it almost entirely to ourselves. There was one other couple there most of the nights we were there, but our last day we had the whole place to ourselves. Amusingly we were talking with one of the managers on our last night, who asked if we thought it was too quiet. I almost wanted to ask what that meant, but we said no, we were very happy with it. He said the couple that left the day before complained, saying it was too quiet. They weren’t at all a young couple, probably just about my age. I found that weird, because I was thrilled to not have to share the pool or beach with others.
Of course, it’s also a little sad that the place was so empty. They’ll be packed over the Holidays, but their business has fallen off as the fear of terrorism has grown. Really tragic because the resort is beautiful and the staff was wonderful. You feel genuinely bad for them if they’re livelihood is being eroded because of a few bat-shit crazy terrorists. Especially when Senegal has felt so damned safe in each of our three stops.
Meanwhile, back to the highlights. We spent most days lazing on the beach, reading and walking. I’ve tackled a massive Pulitzer Prize winning, 1,250-page history of New York City so I need all the beach time I can get; it will be weeks before I finish it. The walking part was good, too. There were, seriously, measurably more cattle on the beach than people. While there was really not much – just about nothing – outside the resort, you could walk a mile-and-a-half north to a Club Med (where the other couple looking for excitement obviously should have gone) or two miles south to … Guinea-Bissau. Yup, you just walk walk down the beach and find yourself in a new country. Seemed strange. Along with North Korea and Bosnia-Herzogovina, this is now the third country we’ve touched on this adventure that we don’t count as a country we’ve visited. You have to do more than just walk across a border or have a cup of coffee to say you’ve been there.
Amusingly, the second time I walked that way a big old dead dolphin had washed ashore. There were lots of big ugly birds starting to pick it apart so I just kept walking. The next day the birds were still there but most of the dolphin wasn’t anymore. Officially I appreciate the beauty of nature, but in this case yuck.
The best part of the whole week, though, was the food. Now, I love a good beach, and this was most definitely a good beach. The food, though, was simply amazing. We ate every meal for six days there and every dish for lunch and dinner would blow you away. I’ve never found anything like it, where every meal was such a treat and at not unreasonable prices. I’ve noted before that French colonialists left at least something of value behind and this was a great case. The chef was Senegalese but he’d obviously picked up more than a few tricks from the remnants of the French.
Cap Skirring: beaches, beautiful grounds, cows, and some of the best food we’ve ever had at a resort. A pretty good package! From here we’ve hired a driver to take us north to The Gambia where we’re spending another week at the beach. It’ll be difficult to meet the standards of Cap Skirring.