I’ve lived about one-third of my life in West Africa. There are sights, sounds and smells (oh, the smells) that make me feel completely at home there.

Of course, the majority of experiences and situations are either unfamiliar or frustrating in that I know I will never, ever fully fit in. A white girl in a room of Senegalese women will always be white, even if she can talk their talk and walk their walk. (Which, by the way, I’m not half bad at.)

The last time I set foot in Africa was 2004 – making this my longest stretch I’d ever spent away. Going back was insane. Absolutely insane. There was so much that I knew without thinking, that’s just a part of who I am, and so much that shocked me: the poverty, the trash, the joy, the hospitality…

These photos show just some of Senegal’s beauty. Its greatest beauty is its people – no question.

The pool at Hôtel Cap St Louis
Camel-spotting on the way back to Dakar
The beach at Hydrobase
More camels!
Bungalows at Hôtel Cap St Louis
He was there for just a couple seconds, then gone again.
Fruit from the baobob tree
Remember Zazoo from The Lion King?
I'm pretty sure this is his cousin, Amadou.
I love it.