Sunday, 20 December 2015

Zebrabar, Senegal

We headed into town on the Monday to collect Charles and Cats tent cover hoping they had done a good repair on the broken zip and a few other jobs they had asked to be done to make the cover a little stronger. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite the repair they had in mind but it would do the job with a bit of fiddling and would hopefully last all the way to South Africa. While Charles and Cat were sorting that out we had a Senegalese man show us his handmade jewellery which Rob ended up buying a copper style bracelet for 1000CFA (£1.10). After he bought it, Rob realised he had lost his phone. Earlier that day we were in the phone shop getting a local sim card so we headed back there to see if anyone had handed it in (unlikely in these parts, but worth a try). We were sad to see it had closed. There were two European girls that said they were staying in the area and could check whether our phone was there in the morning. So we gave them our details, expecting never to hear from them, but worth a try.
In the morning we decided to pack up the tent at 6am to be there for opening time at 7:30am in hope to get it back. We went in and they said they hadn't had anything handed in. So it was gone! The more we thought about the more we thought maybe the Senegalese man with the jewellery had possibly pick pocketed Rob. It certainly wasn't the end of the world, but a lesson learned, so we headed back to camp. 
Then about 4days later I received an email from one of the European girls to say they had Robs phone, but didn't have reception to contact us sooner (we know all to well about that!). Such fantastic news, but the problem was that she had already left for Dakar and then off to Guinnea Bassau, which was not somewhere we were going. We still may never see it again. But still amazing to know that it wasn't stolen and these girls were trying their hardest to get it back to us. 
We then felt awful that we had blamed the Senegalese man, and we took back all our accusations!

While enjoying our lazy days in camp, Cat and I have learnt that fishing is actually such fun! I always thought fishing was boring as hell and could never get my head around it. But there I was loving every second! We spent a number of our days casting our lines out in the hope of catching something. Normally we would catch the odd clam, rubbish bag, shoe, sock and pants (of course we were trying to get a whole outfit)... But every so often there would be a fish! Fantastic, that meant we had another free meal! We have however destroyed our rods in the process, as we possibly need more heavy duty equipment for sea fishing, and will have to buy a new one at some point, as well as replacing the lures that the fish decided to steal while casting our lines. Charles and Cat have been our fish mongers as they gut and descale the fish ready for eating. Rob is not a lover of fish but he did really well and tried everything.

Charles, Cat and myself were out fishing one day while Rob stayed at the campsite. We weren't having much success catching anything, but we were soaking up the sun, watching the crabs make their little homes in the sand and trying to fish. We saw rob in the distance walking towards us along the beach with something massive dangling at his side. The closer he got to us we could finally see what he was carrying... A MASSIVE RAY! 
One of the couples in the campsite had taken the canoes out for the day to the little island opposite from the campsite. He had some serious fishing kit which meant he was able to catch far more substantial sized fish than we could. But he had no idea what to do with this massive ray, so gave it to Rob. Rob and Charles spend the rest of the afternoon figuring out how to gut and skin this massive fish. They did well and we were left with massive lumps of meet that we would have for dinner. So we went over to the couple that had caught it and said we had gutted it and would have it for dinner if they would like to join us.
We had a fantastic evening learning about them and their travels around the world. They were from Germany and had build an old 4WD Peugeot Van which they had converted fr their trip down to Senegal. They would spend a month in Senegal and then drive home where they had their next trip booked to Thailand for diving. We lit a fire and got some veg boiling away in our Dutch oven while Cat made some couscous and Charles fried the Ray as we weren't sure if it would just fall apart on the fire. We were all shocked to see the meat of the Ray looked like rows of segments in an orange piece. We were hoping it would taste good (always awkward when you're trying to cook something new for guests). We dished up and it was gorgeous! Not fishy at all and almost seemed like chicken. Fantastic meal and always a relief when seeing our guests go back for seconds.

During our last few days at the camp a large yellow tour truck called OasisOverland descended on our quiet Zebrabar campsite. It was filled with 21 people from 8different countries and of all ages. Watching them set up their tents and going about their set tasks was definitely an interesting thing to see as it seemed like a military operation.  Slowly one by one we started meeting them and learning about the dynamics of the team. It looked like it was great fun as they all bounced off each other and could see how they would soon be friends for life. We learned that the tour started from London and would go down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town and then back up the east side to Cairo in 40weeks. 10 of the group would do the whole 40 weeks and others would get off at certain points where more people would then join. There were some people that were on their 100th country that they were visiting. Most definitely shows us what small fish we are!
Our last day in the camp we got to know the group a little more as some of them joined us by our cars, while we drank beer and got merry. It was such fun as the banter started to flow. This would be a long evening of drinking and most certainly meant hangovers in the morning! After dinner we joined them around their fire where they showed us some beautiful pics of their trip so far, we spoke about visas and routes through Africa. Then we moved up to the bar where we sat chatting until the wee hours of the morning. Such fun!!
They were a great bunch and definitely sad to have to say goodbye but of course we wished them safe travels as they did for us.

So packing up this morning was most definitely a hard task as we all had very fragile bodies with burning headaches. But it was time to hit the road, so we settled the bill and said our goodbyes to everyone at the Zebrabar. I am going to particularly miss Nora, a 3year old little black girl who had been adopted by the German family who owned Zebrabar. I'm even going to miss their little puppy called Wifi who had mega sharp teeth and loved to nip at your heals for your attention, which meant walking to the ablution blocks was always a relief when you arrived in one piece! It's safe to say that we absolutely loved our time there as we were only meant to spend a couple of days, but ended up spending two weeks there! A perfect spot in paradise!

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