Let’s be honest. 90% of my “travel” is within a two-hour radius of Dakar. So this post would be more accurately titled “Tips for going to Saly with little kids.”
1. You cannot pack too much bottled water. On our way out of Dakar, we stop to buy an extra 6-pack of 1.5 liter bottles of Kirene, just in case. And they usually don’t make it home.
2. Also stock up on extra credit for phone and internet before you go. There are some dead zones for cell service but in general you can get online and figure out where on (Google) Earth you are when needed.
3. Sunglasses. Yes, they protect your eyes from sun, blah blah blah. They also allow you to close your eyes discreetly so the driver can’t see that you are freaking out internally when they pass a semi-truck going around a blind curve.
4. Best snacks for road trip/the hotel serves dinner at 8pm: dried mango packets, Vache Qui Rit cheese wedges, roasted peanuts, little 50 CFA biscuits packages from the buutik (not very sugary) and roadside bananas.
Tip: With the exception of bananas, I avoid buying fruit on the side of the road. Often it’s been in the sun too long and tastes fermented.
5. The autoroute à péage (toll road) is always worth it. Always.
6. These little Carte Noire sticks of coffee are lifesavers. The hotel coffee may be bad or the coffee maker in your rental may not have filters. Better safe than sorry. The sticks are available in supermarkets or individually in some buutiks.
7. Teach your kids how to pee behind a tree, squatting by the car door, into a squatty potty hole, hovering over a seatless toilet… When the need is urgent is not the right time to be instructing them on where to put their hands, how to hold her skirt, etc…
8. While you’re at it, be sure you know how to pee in all these situations too. Road trip clothing should take these situations into account. (My personal go-to is a pair of chaya pants for comfort and practicality.)
9. A portable booster seat for eating is a wonderful thing. Most hotels and restaurants have high chairs, but not many. If you go at a busy time, you may not get one. So just BYO booster and enjoy the brochettes de lotte.
10. You tell me!