Cap Skirring, the ultimate tropical beach paradise in Senegal. When we arrived it was pretty quiet. First we thought it may be due to siesta time – everybody may be engaged in other activities than strolling in the hot sun. Then we realized that all the signboards of hotels and guesthouses needed quite some maintenance. Then we discovered that the roads leading to the hotels and the paths inside were rather overgrown. We tried to explain all this by the effects of the rainy season, maybe combined with the salty water of the sea. Then our exploration led us to new exiting results – all these beautiful places we used to stay many years ago were closed.
Some lonely watchmen tried to explain us the situation. Don’t worry it was not a nuclear accident; it was not an attack of jiddhis or some bad girls jealous not to be a tourist. No it was simply politics.
Strong men want to show that they are strong. So a former president didn’t want to leave at the end of his term, which caused some strong reaction of definitely unlawful citizens. That slightly reduced the number of tourists in Cap Skirring, because they did not know if this president would not ask for exile with the rebels in the Casamance.
Next was the politicians’ reaction to EU visa requirements. To facilitate this issue the Government of Senegal introduced similar regulations. Unfortunately, they did not put in place the necessary infrastructure to issue these famous biometric visas. By then tourists would have to pay visa fees with credit cards on unsecured websites, Senegalese embassies did not have the sophisticated equipment to take your grandma’s fingerprints and without a visa nobody could enter this beautifully inviting country. It looked like certain potential tourists didn’t like this awesome promotion campaign and preferred to go to Maldives instead of Senegal. But still, some 10% of the initial visitors to Senegal did not change their plans and they helped at least some places in Cap Skirring to survive.
And now the issue out of control of politicians – some guys in neighbouring countries started this Ebola issue – and away were the last 10%.
Consequently, out of the 100% of tourists visiting Senegal some 2 or 3 years ago, exactly 0% remains. So far the story of some watchmen – probably it’s only their imagination and an explanation of small guys who do not really understand the world; but who knows…
Some days later in Saly-Portudal – the ultimate destination for organised French all-inclusive tourist activities in Senegal. Again, we were the only ones. We could clearly see that politics had its part in this situation. But we also discovered that Saly completely lost its beach. All sand seems to have gone in one night during a heavy storm. Currently, they use the former beach as a dumping ground for all kind of waste. Maybe they hope that a lot of waste would attract a lot of sand.
Also the formerly famous tourist mile with lots of restaurants, souvenir stalls and all kind of useless offers looks like having suffered from a huge hurricane – only leaving us with a number of all present touts’n’wannabies still not discouraged by reality.