I arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on March 15, 2018 with some trepidation. I had never been to Senegal (or to Africa), and did not speak French or Wolof. I knew very little of its people but was game for some adventure. The new airport was a fair way from the city itself, on its outermost boundaries, but an air-conditioned, luxury bus whisked me to the Grand Yoff Terminal for a mere 10 Euros. It was much more economical than a taxi and filled with European travellers. I was off to a great start.
My host, Amadou Ndiaye, was at the terminal to meet me —the first indication of the personal service I would come to appreciate. He spoke English, French, and Wolof, and settled any concerns that I had about communication problems. In five minutes we were at his apartment building, letting me know that I would be situated at the center of everything in Dakar. I would later find out that he did not exaggerate his claims.
I was in for another pleasant shock. His building was more secure than my own in the United States. A wireless, electronic door was activated by a remote access key to the ground floor. My apartment was on the fourth floor and secured by double bolted locks that made a satisfyingly secure sound when unbolted or bolted. The whole building was kept under 24 hour television surveillance. You would think I was entering the US Embassy.
The apartment itself was very well appointed with everything a guest would need. It was fully furnished with utensils, appliances, and furniture. I had Wi-fi, cable tv, and hot & cold water. My bed was large enough for three people, and a stairway to the roof provided a scenic panorama of the Grand Yoff neighbourhood.
Despite the extraordinary security of my apartment, I soon found out that the neighbourhood was a very pleasant and safe environment, its people helpful, friendly, and accommodating to my atrocious attempts at speaking French. Perfect, n'est-ce pas?
I was off and running about the area with no concerns whatsoever. The bus lines ran almost to my doorstep. Amadou was correct: I was at the center of things. I took one bus(#23) to downtown Dakar (a 30 minute ride) to visit the museums, the presidential palace, the local markets, and other points of interest. I took another (#47) to buy fresh fish at the seaside in Ngor (Almadies) and to eat at the seaside restaurants. I also stayed at home in Grand Yoff and patronized the local neighbourhood market and establishments. There was a lot to see.
This apartment was ideal and just what I was looking for me and my family. It is a safe and secure building. It has all the necessary amenities that you need. The owner Amadou Ndiaye was wonderful! just a nice guy! He even sent a driver to pick my family and I from the airport. There was also this amazing young lady who did a wonderful job cleaning the apartment and making the beds daily. Thank you Amadou for everything! You made our stay there worth it.