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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Memories of Goree Island | Senegal travel (1/4)

Memories of Goree Island | Senegal travel (1/4)

European-styled and pastel coloured buildings; the architectural design and the views were like no other.

As you know, Senegal is a french speaking country. Hence, French travellers have enjoyed Senegal's attractions since the 70s. This is now fast changing as there are English-speaking guides in most tourist attractions which have given tourist like me the confidence to venture into such territories.

There is so much to do in Senegal in terms of tourism. I toured the country in 2016 and the locals were extremely hospitable and some of them doubled as guides. On this beautiful occasion I will be sharing my experience from the visit to Goree Island

The island is beautiful, but laden with sad memories. Goree Island is off the coast of Dakar, hence requires a short ferry ride. I arrived at the ferry dock quite early in the morning and there was already a long queue as you will expect of the main tourist site in Dakar. As I approached the queue, a bubbling elderly local approached me and introduced himself as a tour guide & historian while showing me his ID card. He was full of energy and I noticed everyone greeted him as they walked by and that gave me some comfort, hence, I agreed to pay for his service. He saved me the stress of queuing up.

If I remember clearly, the ferry departs Dakar to Goree Island (and vice versa) every two hours

 Goree Island

Goree Island

Waiting for to board the ferry, I noticed most of the passengers were traders and indigenes of Goree Island. The entire place smelt of food items and all sort

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Some of the locals who were traders tried selling their goods and services to foreigners like myself immediately the ferry started moving,

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

AT GOREE ISLAND

Once we alighted from the ferry, the tour guide merged me with other tourists. I was excited to be part of a group. Anyways, the beautiful colours of the houses at Goree Island warmly welcomed us.  I quickly noticed the well preserved ancient european architectural designs and hungered for all the stories. 

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Institute was established in 1992 for the development and the promotion of arts and culture in Africa

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

The tour guide leading us to the Island while telling us about the history of the island and the people

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

No more echoes of slave trade at Goree Island. Now it's peaceful and beautiful

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

HOUSE OF SLAVES, GOREE ISLAND

Goree Island is home to Senegal's history within the trans-atlantic slave trade and the house of slaves is one of the major attractions on the Island. It is popularly called Maison des Esclaves. This is a monumental African structure and forms part of Africa's slave history. 

A visit to house of slave saddened me. Gory imagination filled my head and instantly made me sick. Definitely an eye opening experience to man's inhumanity to his fellow man. I could only imagine how the slaves felt when they passed the 'Door of No return' and shipped to Europe and other parts of the world. Nothing could feel more worthless!.

The island serves as a reminder of past atrocities and a visit to the only remaining slave house and the museum is a must. 

 House of slaves | Goree Island

House of slaves | Goree Island

Entrance to the slave castle. Picture depicts the striking statue of two slaves as a celebration of freedom

 House of slaves | The Ajala Bug

House of slaves | The Ajala Bug

Me and other fellow tourists.

 Slave dungeons

Slave dungeons

 Slave dungeons at Goree Island

Slave dungeons at Goree Island

 Slave dungeons at House of Slaves

Slave dungeons at House of Slaves

 House of Slaves

House of Slaves

Slave dungeons. Slaves were kept here in the most inhumane conditions for up to three months. It was extremely dark and frightening

 Door of No return | House of Slaves | Goree Island

Door of No return | House of Slaves | Goree Island

 House of Slaves

House of Slaves

Gifts received from sale of slaves

 Gifts from the whiteman | Goree Island

Gifts from the whiteman | Goree Island

 Chains used to keep slaves captive | Goree Island

Chains used to keep slaves captive | Goree Island

 Slave masters house | Goree Island

Slave masters house | Goree Island

 Goree Island

Goree Island

The balcony of the slave masters, from where they watched the arrivals of the ships. Also, when it was time for the slaves to be sold, they were stripped naked and herded out into a courtyard for the buyers to observe them from the balconies before confirming purchase

 Slave house | Goree Island

Slave house | Goree Island

The ones who were too wick or died were all thrown into the sea for the sharks to fed on.

 Gifts received from selling slaves | Goree Island

Gifts received from selling slaves | Goree Island

 House of slaves

House of slaves

EXPLORING GOREE ISLAND

After listening to the gory past of slave house which is capable of breeding hatred, we continued to explore the other parts of the island. We wander through the narrow streets of Goree Island, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. The sadness evaporates a little.

 Walking the neigbourhood

Walking the neigbourhood

 The police station

The police station

 Art at Goree Island

Art at Goree Island

 Art at Goree Island

Art at Goree Island

IMG_1592 (2).JPG
 The Church at Goree Island

The Church at Goree Island

 The Church at Goree Island

The Church at Goree Island

 The first school in Senegal

The first school in Senegal

 Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

Goree Island | The Ajala Bug

A few notable people including Felix Houphouet-Boigny the first president of Cote d'Ivoire, Modibo Keita the first president of Mali, Hamani Diori the first president of Niger, Sylvanus Olympio former prisident of Togo and Mamadou Dia the first Prime Minister of Senegal, passed through this school

Final words on Exploring Senegal

When the boat leaves the docks at Dakar, it isn't too long before Goree Island comes into view. The beautiful buildings give no clue to the horrors that once occurred at the Island, when it was a warehouse for the slave trade for over the three centuries during which the slave trade occurred.

For me, two hours was such a short time to explore the Island. I really wanted to stay for longer but........I had to leave plus my tour guide was on the move. We eventually departed Goree back to Dakar and I was never the same again.

Thanks for reading. Have you visited Senegal and more specifically, Goree Island before? Please share your experience with us. 

Till my next travel story on Senegal, be kind to one another

Margaret.

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