Last night we set our alarms for 5:30am.
Reason number 1: to hit the road early enough to get to the Reserve de Bandia early in the morning – the best time to see the animals.
Reason number 2: to take showers before the water cut off. (For the past week we’ve only had water from about 1am to 9am… but often by the time we wake up the water pressure is too weak to shower.)
So we were all squeaky clean and on the road early this morning, cruising along with our favorite taxi driver, Basse.
The Reserve de Bandia is about 40 miles from Dakar, but because of traffic leaving the peninsula, it can take a while to get there. During the dry season (October to June), you can drive around the game reserve in a car (like we did). But in the rainy season, you’d definitely need something with 4-wheel drive.
The best times for seeing the animals is the cooler parts of the day, so early morning and evening. You do have to hire one of Bandia’s tour guides (4,000cfa) for each vehicle, but the times we’ve been they’ve always been knowledgeable and helpful. Most speak Wolof, French and some English.
Within the Reserve de Bandia there are white rhinos, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, giant eland, Cape eland, Oryx, Roan antelope, waterbuck, western Buffon’s cob, greater kudu, impala, dama gazelle, red fronted gazelle, warthog, patas monkesy, green vervet monkeys, jackal, mongoose, crocodiles, giant tortoises, ostriches and 120+ bird species.
(Thanks to our guide, we actually did see most of these animals.)
Part of the fun of this little day-trip was taking Basse with us. He had driven tourists to the Reserve before, but had never actually been inside to see the animals. When we got back to Dakar, Cheikh asked him how much we owed him for driving us around for six hours. Basse tried to give us the day as a ‘freebie’ since he’d appreciated the experience, which was really nice of him. (But yes – Cheikh insisted and we did finally pay him!)
Q: What did the blonde name her pet zebra?
Q: What do you call a rhino without a horn?
Q: What do you get when you cross a hen with a hyena?
A: An animal that laughs at every yolk. (Even these!)
Q: What’s invisible and smells of bananas?
A: Monkey breath.
Q: What do you find between the hooves of buffaloes?
A: Slow buffalo hunters.
Q: What does a lion call an eland?
A: Fast food.
Q: Why are rhinos large, gray and wrinkled?
A: If they were small, round and white they would be aspirins.