1043 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

February, 2020

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

Whilst sailing with “Variety Cruises”: on their “Rivers of West Africa”: cruise, one of our excursions was to Joal-Fadiout in Senegal. Having taken a pirogue or long, slim motorised wooden boat to Djifer on the mainland, we boarded a coach for the 90-minute drive.

Having stopped on route a couple of times for bird watching opportunities, we arrived at Joal, a small sleepy fishing town. We were split into groups of four and allocated a guide who would show us Fadiout, which lies on an island of clam shells, and a second island with a large Christian and Muslim cemetery.

Before setting off, we admired a statue of a couple wrestling: it is the second most popular sport after football, and the champion of Senegalese wrestling Yékini, was born in Joal.

We walked over an impressive 500m long wooden bridge to Fadiout and learned that the latest bridges were built as recently as 2004. 6,000 people live on the island and in complete reverse to the rest of Senegal, 90% are Catholic and 10% Muslim. The black clam shells on the island have been bleached white by the sun, and were found on the paths, in local architecture and the crafts we saw for sale in small shops.

The Catholic church, with its bell tower which doubles as a lighthouse, was built in 1881 and restored in 1999 after a storm. As we visited on a Sunday, adult mass had taken place from 9am to 10am and as the 11am children’s Sunday School hadn’t yet started, we were able to take photos from the doorway.

We continued past one of three mosques on the island onto the calvary station which was directly opposite the mystical baobab tree used by the animists (at the side was a small thatched hut where they would make offerings).

As we wandered through the narrow alleys, we noticed a number of buildings with roofs and bench seating and were told these were ‘resting places for the elderly men’ who could use them to talk, meet and play cards. Each of the island’s three districts, has its own resting place.

Just as we were going to cross the second 200m wooden bridge to the cemetery, we heard singing from behind and stood aside to let a group of around 50 Muslim’s pass (they were on their way to the cemetery as someone had recently died). The cemetery was interesting and on a slight hill with distinctive cross and unusual shaped headstones. The Muslim quarter was on the far side, but out of respect, it was off limits during our visit.

We spotted what looked like parasols on a beach, but we were told they were old grain stores on stilts as the grain wasn’t kept in the houses because of the fire risk.

We then boarded a small rather wobbly pirogue. We both squashed on to a front seat, in reality a wooden plank and were punted back through what we were told was very shallow water. On the 15-minute trip, we saw sheep being washed in the water which barely came up to their bodies.

We finished what had been a really interesting trip, with lunch back in Joal where we feasted on freshly caught fish and chips.

Our cruise was booked with “Seafarer Cruising and Sailing Holidays”:

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.