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Senegal - duurzaam reizen - Ondersteun de lokale economie

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL IN AFRICA

Imagine you’re in Senegal.

 

You find yourself inside a typical white tourist van, windows closed, air conditioning on. Secretly holding the camera, you carefully view everything from a distance as you wave at children passing by. But here’s the catch: you’d much rather be sitting in a rusty taxi, having a chat with the local driver. You’d rather be stopping at the bustling markets and tasting those juicy mangoes. You’d rather be playing with and picking up words from the kids you just waved at.  You’d much rather be in the middle of it all and transform into a ‘real local’. I mean, come on, no one wants to be merely a spectator, right?

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL IN AFRICA
Photo by Charlotte Noël in São Tomé
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL IN AFRICA - SENEGAL
Photo Senegal by Stefanie Orlans

Here are five ways you can really have the local experience when traveling. 

DITCH THE HOTEL

 

 

Did you know that it is perfectly possible to spend a night with the locals instead of at a fancy hotel? There are various initiatives such as homestays. In this way, you can truly taste the genuine African hospitality and feel fully integrated into the host family. Help out for a few hours in the countryside, play a game of soccer with the kids, get to know the cuisine and even take part in preparing a meal.

Be forewarned, you probably won’t get a hotel-type king-sized bed with room service, but it definitely will be an unforgettable experience.

Travel like a local in Senegal
Photo by Stefanie Orlans (Senegal)
Homestay Kenya TravelRebel
Charlotte Noël during homestay in Kenya

PICK UP SOME LOCAL PHRASES

Salaam Alekum.  Walekum Salaam!

Nengendef . Ma nifi!

 

Try to learn some local greetings. A small effort, really, but one that makes a world of difference. The locals will be pleasantly surprised and immediately see you as their friend. Showing  respect and interest in their language and culture is also the perfect way to start up some amazing conversations.

5 TIPS TO TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL IN AFRICA - SENEGAL
Photo by Stefanie Orlans

SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY

 

By traveling locally, you also unconsciously support the local economy. If you sleep in a locally operated guesthouse or opt for a homestay, your money will directly go to the locals. Also try to buy local art and crafts straight from the artist’s hand. That way, you know where your money is going, and let’s admit it, it’s so much more fun to know the story behind a souvenir! Win-win situation for you and the locals!

Hadithi Kenya
Photo by Charlotte Noël in Kenya – Traditional baskets of Hadithi
Senegal - duurzaam reizen - Ondersteun de lokale economie
Stefanie Orlans in Senegal

 

TRAVEL WITH A LOCAL GUIDE

Trying to tour Africa on your own can sometimes be challenging. There is often no well-organized public transport, the cultural habits are completely different, and of course, there is the language barrier. So why not let a local guide show you the way? This can be the perfect person to tell you more about the regional history, explain  the customs, and introduce you to the local cuisine … trust me, you will get to experience places and things you simply would not be able to otherwise. And all of it in a safe and responsible way!

Senegal Reis met een lokale gids
Photo Stefanie Orlans

TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Did you know that all the best conversations in Africa occur on public transport? Yup, true story.Taxi drivers are often more witty than some politicians and your neighbor on the bus will definitely be curious about your story. Taking a local ‘taxi-brousse’ or a ‘clando van’ is an experience in itself and very much a part of the culture. So it would be a shame to only watch this from your white air-conditioned van, wouldn’t it?

Senegal Dakar en omgeving: lokaal transport Duurzaam reizen TravelRebel
Photo Stefanie Orlans – Bantoe
Senegal Saint-Louis
Photo Stefanie Orlans – Senegal Saint-Louis

Text and photos by Stefanie Orlans

So try out some of these tips during your next adventure and let me know how it goes! Happy traveling, rebels.

 

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