As I mentioned in my previous post, the region of Western Africa is a region that I am extremely curious to visit. The many, relatively small, countries that make up this part of the world seem so utterly far away from where I am and off-the-beaten-track that I believe that visiting these places would quite possibly be the essence of real ‘traveling’.
I don’t know when I would get the opportunity to visit this part of the world, but when I do, these are the places that I would love to explore:
Senegal – Possibly the best known globally of the countries that make up this region due to the success of its national football team on the global stage. In addition, I have always been fascinated by Dakar as the end-point of the Paris to Dakar rally. It did come as a surprise for me to read that the population of the country is over 16 million, much more than I would have expected. Another (pleasant) surprise for me was the diversity of bird-life. For a country that’s around 6-7% of India’s size, the number of bird species recorded stands at 50% of India’s number! So yes, bird-watching would be on the agenda as well, possibly around the region of Casamance.
The Gambia – A thin strip of land on both sides of the Gambia river make up the smallest country in mainland Africa. Beaches and bird-watching are the main draws here, at Janjanbureh, Abuko and Brufut.
Guinea-Bissau – More beaches and wildlife to see, in addition to the capital city of Bissau and towns such as Bafata in the interior.
Guinea – The biggest country (by size) in the region with a population of over 12 million, this place, I feel, is truly off the beaten track. Nature and wild-life seem to be the main draws here, with places of interests including Mount Nimba and Fouta Djallon Highlands.
Sierra Leone – Another small country but with a surprisingly high population density of over 1,000 per square kilometre. Beaches and wild-life would be the primary reasons to visit. Places of interest include Tokeh for beaches, Gola National Park for wild-life, the capital of Freetown and islands such as Bunce, Banana and Tiwai.
Liberia – Africa’s first and oldest modern republic, this country with a population of 5 million is also famous for its footballing connections. Monrovia – the capital city and Sapo National Park would be a couple of places to explore.