SENEGAL Land of the Baobab

WELCOME
GO TO THE SENEGAL LINKS ON THE LEFT BELOW OR GO TO THE MAP FURTHER DOWN TO EXPLORE THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY
PATCH.gif (916 bytes) A great Baobab PATCH.gif (916 bytes)

Created and maintained by Nick Hobgood

CLICK ON THE NUMBERS ON THE MAP TO THE RIGHT BELOW TO VISIT THAT REGION IN SENEGAL 

Senegal's neighboring countries

Northern coast of Senegal

 

BAOBAB FOREST
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     On the road from Dakar to St. Louis one passes through a land of mystical giants, the baobabs.  When one of these sentinels of the savannah has reached a certain age, it merits the presence of  a magical spirit.  These powerful spirits are consulted for guidance in the ways of life.  This baobab forest stretches on for miles.

Dwarfed in the Baobab forest

     Baobab trees also have practical purposes in Senegalese life and culture. The dried pulp from the  Baobab fruit are used to make a tart juice called "Bui".  The very hard seeds from the same fruit are used as pieces in a traditional game called "Mankala". The game board is made of 2 long wood slats in which 6 cups are carved.  4-6 baobab seeds are placed in each cup and the object is to capture the most seeds while moving around the board.  

A sea of baobabs as seen from the road

PARC NATIONAL DE LA LANGUE DE BARBARIE
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      Near the "Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie" there is a small sanctuary for endangered terrestrial tortoises and rare antelopes.  When the sanctuary was visited in October of 1997 the nursery which housed the last batch of tortoises read as follows:
  
Eggs laid: Dec. 20, 1995
Hatched: Jun. 07, 1996
Incubation: 167 days
     At only a little over a year in age, the juvenile tortoises were but small round balls around 2 inches in diameter.  They were kept in a cage as shown at left to protect them especially from mischievous monkeys who live in the sanctuary.  Endless curiosity which characterizes all of us primates lead the monkeys to pry the little tortoises' shells open to see what is inside.  These attacks are of course fatal for the tortoises, and are the reason for their safe keeping in cages until their shells are strong enough to protect them from too much "monkey business".   

Tortoise nursery

     "Keeping cool"  A couple of young tortoises are in a hole they dug in order to stay out of the hot sun.  These two are in their teens and their shells are about 1 foot in diameter.  They reach sexual maturity later in life at which point the male develops an indentation on the underside of its shell.  This indentation allows for the male to mount the female without rolling off, when mating.
Two tortoises in their den
     This old guy is estimated to be in his 80's and his shell measures around 3 feet in diameter.  He greets visitors by "running"  up to see what kinds of treats he may get (for him it's running, but is still SLOW by human standards).  The park staff feed the tortoises a diet of fruit and vegetables.   Bananas are a favorite !
An old tortoise greeting visitors
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