The Original Dakar Rally

One of the world’s most dangerous off-road endurance events is called the Dakar Rally.  Thierry Sabine was a French motorcycle racer who established the Paris-Dakar rally almost 40 years ago.  Lac Rose in Senegal was the final leg leading toward the Dakar finish line.  Due to safety and terrorism concerns, the Dakar Rally moved to South America.  It is currently held in Saudi Arabia under the name, The Dakar.  One of my excursions in Senegal was a chance to experience the sand dunes where these popular, and sometimes deadly rallys took place.

Adrenaline and Adventure, here I come!
Tour of the Dakar Rally sand dunes, Atlantic Ocean and Lac Retba (Lac Rose)

Competitors raced for two weeks to finish 10,000 km (6200 mi.) over steep sand dunes like the one I glanced back to photograph.  

Dakar Rally sand dunes in Senegal.

I had to be very careful not to drop my phone along the jolty ride.  I was living in the moment by feeling free from a life of quarantine, virtual teaching, and tutoring four nights a week. 

Self care activated.

Similar to the struggle back home, there were times where our vehicle was using all the horsepower it had to traverse the sand dunes.  It was more challenging than the option to rent dromedaries.

Bactrian camels have two humps; dromedary camels have one.

At the top of one of the highest points gave us panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Even from this distance, the sounds of the waves coming to shore was louder than any beach I have experienced.

I had to keep reminding myself that I was walking along the coast of Africa.

There was a model and production crew who used the beautiful views for a photo shoot backdrop.  

Melanin Poppin’

After the thrill of the dunes, we went along the Atlantic Ocean shore to go for a dip and ride four wheelers.  

Never lost. Always Exploring.
A small scale of what the Dakar Rally feels like.

The currents were very strong.  I was the only one brave enough to run out there sort of like the excited child who darts out into traffic.  That was me.

I live for moments like this.

We got back in the 4×4 to see Lac Rose.  The signage in the roads leading to the lake call it Lac Retba.  Either way, the name is to describe the pink color cast off by the algae that grows in the salt water.  I found it interesting that it’s located only five minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

A very faint perimeter of pink was visible around Lac Rose in December.

The color pink was not very obvious on the date I was there (12-21-20). I have read about different times of year or day to visit to get the best pink effect.  The women selling their artwork made of sand and beaded jewelry were some true hustlers.  The woman in the blue was like, “Take my picture.”  I loved her energy.

It’s the confidence for me.

The vendors didn’t speak much English, and I don’t speak a lick of Wolof or French, but we still bonded.  My boyfriend bargained back and forth over my souvenirs.  I’m more of a “just buy it” person.  He explained how it is their form of entertainment to haggle back and forth with tourists.

My Sisters trying to teach me the skill of balance.
Original art made from sand and salt at Lac Rose.

I learned how the salt harvesters slather their bodies in shea butter to protect their skin from salinity concentrations which exceed the Dead Sea.  I have a somewhat high salt tolerance from years of doing the Master Cleanse that involves sea salt flushes.  In fact, I had just completed a 10-day fast in November.  I dipped my finger in the water to taste it.  Yes, it is very salty. 

Senegal is the largest salt producer in West Africa.

Last, but not least is the memorial marker for Thierry Sabine.  He lost his life when his helicopter crashed into a sand dune.  He was well-known and loved by the Senegalase people.  His name will live on for generations because he helped improve the economy with the Dakar Rally.

In Memory of Thierry Sabine, founder of the Dakar Rally.

Kelsie Lou

About Kelsie Lou

Teacher on the move.
This entry was posted in Adventure, automotive, Beaches, Culture, landmarks, Senegal Africa, Sports, Teachers, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Original Dakar Rally

  1. herrmomonews says:

    …nice place and nice blog.


  2. Amazing. I can tell you were definitely getting that self care in. You’re simply glowing. What a fun and exciting experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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