Le désert de Lampoul

About halfway between Dakar and St Louis is the town of Kébémer. If you head west, towards the ocean, you’ll first hit the desert of Lompoul. Wrenn and Jamie had been camping there before and it sounded like too much fun to pass up. But we did take Jamie’s recommendation and went for a more ‘luxurious’ camping experience this time!

Our tent

The tents were about the size of our apartment in France. The dining area was decorated with low tables and cushions (très Mauritanian) and dinner was a delicious North African buffet.

But there was still plenty of rustic adventure! Cold water bucket showers, kerosene lanterns, open air toilets…

Dune buddies

We arrived in the afternoon, delivered to the campsite in the back of a 4WD truck riding along with our luggage and big jugs of water. (I was afraid of running out of water, but Wrenn and Jamie had me covered!)

Jamie and Wrenn on the ride out the desert

After taking a peek in our tents and dropping of our bags, we headed out for a walk in the dunes.

Herd of camels near the campsite

It’s amazing. You really think that there will be something just on the other side of the next dune…but it’s just another dune! It was perfect weather – warm with a cool breeze as the sun went down. But before it did, Cheikh and Wrenn tested out a series of dunes in hopes of determining the very best one for jumping off. Unfortunately, Wrenn tested one out with his whole body… but his sympathetic (first) wife made sure he was okay before snapping his picture.

Sand-coated Wrenn

If you have the chance, we highly recommend spending a night camping in the désert de Lompoul – and going the ‘luxury route’ is definitely best, in my opinion. (Probably because I got spoiled our family camp-outs growing up. What? Your dad didn’t make cinnamon rolls over a campfire?)

And the weather this time of year was perfect. Warm during the day, cool at night. You could walk barefoot in the sand comfortably.

Inside our tent

Things to pack:
– sunblock, sunglasses, hat
– bug spray
– flashlight (easier than a lantern in the middle of the night)
– water bottles to carry on walks, plus a larger bottle for refills
– cards or games for the evening
– jacket or sweater for evenings
– board for dune surfing

If you’re interested, our friend Pape Dieye at Saint-Louis Découverte does excursions in Lompoul. There are options for one or two nights and also the possibility of driving there from either Dakar or St Louis along the beach the whole way.

Cheikh jumping off dunes
Sleeping under the stars… and peeing under them too!
We saw a herd of about 40 camels!
Tables at dinner
Wrenn and Jamie
The bathroom sink
Writing his name in the sand
Bucket shower behind our tent
Sunrise in the desert
Early morning walk
Morning dew
“The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands.” Isaiah 35:1
Breakfast table
Cheikh & Khady