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Dakar

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

7th November, 2013

Dakar

Dakar is one of West Africa’s most westernised capitals and has a strong French influence. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic Coast and is the most western city on the African mainland. With colourful craft markets full of traditional embroidery, woodcarvings, metal work and costume jewellery several were seen today to be trying their hand at bartering. Mint tea is once again very popular here with the locals which I suspect a few of our guests were eager to try.

Arrival into Dakar was very straight forward. Pilot on, into the port through the breakwaters and then a hard to port and slide gracefully into the pier. The weather was calm so it was a very pleasant and stress free arrival.

Morning dispatch went much smoother this morning as there didn’t appear to be any last minute surprises, unlike the last port of call being Freetown in Sierra Leone where shore passes then needed to be issued. The tours available today were Goree Island, which is a fantastic excursion. This tiny island measures only 900 metres long and 300 metres wide, lying just off the coast of Dakar it was discovered by a Portuguese explorer in 1444. On this tour you really learn about the fascinating history of the island, being taken round the dungeons with a fantastic narration of the history spoken in French but translated by the local guide. Trying hard to avoid the local handicrafts it isn’t easy to leave without purchasing something. Once again there were several coaches for the Dakar panoramic which several decided to do as they were then able to catch the afternoon excursion as well which so happened to be a new tour to Saga. This tour discovered the more authentic aspects of Senegalese culture as they were expressed through art, dance and music. The excursion which always intrigues me is the pink lake safari tour. It seems so odd that a lake can in fact appear pink however I have been assured by the guests this is in fact true. It’s the bacteria supposedly that creates iron oxide and the sunset that gives this illusion.

As you drive through Dakar’s main shopping street the hectic scenes from the markets are quite visible from the coach. Dakar as I’m sure many will agree is a place in which is fantastic to visit for the day, but it’s almost a sense of relief when returning back to the luxury of Saga Sapphire. With highs of around 30 degrees today everyone has been thoroughly enjoying the sunshine, with many lazing around the pool it looked extremely inviting as it’s almost as warm as a bath tub. 

Dakar

Sail away today was at 4.45pm which was when everyone gathered out on the open deck to wave goodbye whilst enjoying a glass of tropical daiquiri. The departure was just as straight forward, basically let all the ropes go and then move astern out of the berth and turn the bow to be in the middle of the breakwaters and off we go. This evening we had an early evening classical recital through in the main show lounge with the Sydenham Quartet who finished with a beautiful piece from sleeping beauty. After the evening meal passengers either went up to the disco madness hour in the drawing room with the cruise team, or headed back through into the Britannia lounge for yet another show but with the Saga Sapphire Quintessential Quartet. Singing a selection of magnificent melodies the title of their show was really quite app as it was really “a night to Remember”.

With now two days at sea it’s really a great opportunity for our guests to really sit back and relax before our next port of call being Santa Cruz in Tenerife.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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