10 interesting things you might not know about Senegal

1. Shell Island:

Probably one of the most original recycling projects in the world is the use of seashells in Senegal. Local seafood lovers have created an island out of millions of shellfish shells. The houses, paths, and even graveyards in the city of Fadiouth are made of seashells that crackle underfoot wherever you go. They create a hard material, while being shiny and decorative

2. They are building a wall

It is not a brick or prefabricated fence, but a wall of trees, designed to hold back the ever-expanding Sahara desert. It's called the Great Green Wall, and it's a huge corridor of greenery running through the southern Sahara, from Senegal to Djibouti in the east. At first, it was mainly about planting trees, later the project transformed into actions to improve the pumping and use of water and the protection of greenery and more efficient use of land. 21 African countries are involved in the project and it is all coordinated by Senegal.

3. Sensational surfing

The local Endless Summer is often used as a location for key scenes in surfing movies. It is also one of the best surfing spots you can go to in Africa. Thanks to the relatively small number of tourists who are brave enough to ride the wild waves, it is not crowded.

4. Sheep and goats surf too

Yes, indeed. From time to time, shepherds appear in local villages and on the beaches of Dakar and bring their animals to the shore to participate in a cleansing ritual. The animals are washed in the ocean and then they go back to normal grazing on the savannah.

5. There's a growing art scene

  Dakar is also a place of creative talent: painters and sculptors worldwide have gathered in the Senegalese capital to seek inspiration. Visitors can visit local artists at the Village des Arts, where they will find more than 50 artists.

6. Pink Lake

The pink hue of Lac Rose, about an hour's drive from the capital Dakar, is a natural phenomenon caused by the lake's unusually high salt content. The salt content is comparable to the Dead Sea and even exceeds it in the dry season. The salty solution in the water attracts harmless bacteria (Dunaliella salina) that produce a red pigment that absorbs sunlight. That is also why the lake is not deep pink all year round. The lake is pinker when it is dry and there is less water, usually from November to June. In the rainy season, from July to October, there is more water and the lake is therefore not completely pink.  During this period, the color of the water's surface changes between brown and burgundy shades.

7. Merged with Gambia for a short time

In 1982, Senegal and the Gambia agreed to form a confederation to improve cooperation between the two countries. But the newly created Senegambia did not last very long. Senegal abolished this confederation in 1989 because the Gambia refused closer cooperation.

8. Dakar is home to Africa's tallest statue

Overlooking the Senegalese capital, the 49-meter Monument to the Rebirth of Africa, or the African Renaissance, is the continent's tallest statue. It is a sculpture of a man, woman, and child that was created for the 50th anniversary of Senegal's independence in 2010. Although designed by a Senegalese architect, the bronze structure was manufactured and built by a North Korean construction company.

 9. The name of the largest automobile plant in the world

The largest car race in the world, the Paris-Dakar Rally had its premiere in 1979 and was considered the toughest race in the world. As a test of man and machine, the rally led through some of the world's most dangerous terrain, including the Sahara desert. However, the threat of terrorism in the Sahel, the ecoclimatic and biogeographical transition zone between the Sahara in the north and the Sudanese savannah in the south, led to the relocation of this race to South America in 2009.

10. Dark pas

Senegal was a center for the slave trade, and visitors can learn all about this part of history at the House of Slaves on Goree Island, off the coast of Dakar. Beneath the gentle sound of the sea breeze lurks pain and silent cries from the past. There was a "transshipment" for slaves, who were then taken further. The unfortunate place was called the House of Slaves and it was a market where Africans were transported by middlemen from mainland West Africa. Then they were brought to a place now called the Door of No Return, from where they boarded small boats that took them to merchant ships anchored farther from the shores.