Mango stands in the village of Pout

Dusty roads lined with villages, stands selling mangoes, women selling brightly colored baskets and courtyards with sheep. Lots of sheep. Rugged desert terrain that goes on for miles in every direction. Well-beaten paths along the edge of the road where driver after driver has chosen to travel off-road since it’s smoother than the ‘paved’ road.

Baskets for sale outside of Thiès
Baskets for sale outside of Thiès

For this kind of roadtrip, there’s only one vehicle you want to take… and that, my friends, is a Ford Figo.

Picture 5
We go Figo.

You’ve never heard of it? Let me fill you in. Ford India used the Fiesta, a subcompact hatchback, as a starting point and from there developed the Figo to be sold in (and I quote) developing countries. Somehow I don’t think that means they added 4-wheel drive, a goat-detection feature and a machete rack…

But I’ll let you know for sure after we take this trip.

Lompoul Desert, between Dakar and Saint-Louis
Lompoul Desert, between Dakar and Saint-Louis

So, as you have probably guessed, we’re not taking it because it’s ‘the one you want to take on a Senegal roadtrip’. But we are taking because I won a weekend car rental in a silent auction! Not sure if you actually ‘win’ at silent auctions, but considering I only bid $20 and we’ll have the car for three full days, I’m going to call this a win.

Getting away to a slower pace...
Getting away to a slower pace…

Double win… Cheikh just drove up in it and it still has plastic on the seats. Perfect for traveling with a toddler.

Vroom, vroom!