Ile de Goree

written by | Posted on April 1st, 2014

Maison des Esclaves (photo crédit: Spector Tours)

Maison des Esclaves (photo credit: spectortravel.com)

Clients heading for the west coast nation of Senegal will certainly want to take the 20-minute ferry ride from Dakar to West Africa’s most historic place: Ile de Goree. This tiny island has no cars, just narrow alleyways with colonial brick buildings and houses with wrought-iron balconies trailing with bougainvillea—many of those local houses are open in May during the festival Regards sur Courts. The calm of Goree is not so much romantic as meditative, for its historic buildings bear witness to the island’s leading role in the Atlantic slave trade. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and family visited Goree during their African tours, spending time at the island’s most famous house—Maison des Esclaves, a powerful symbol of the horrors of slavery. Another attraction is the interesting Musee de la Femme, a museum dedicated to the role of Senegalese women throughout history.

Spector Travel, specializing in cultural and natural history tours to West Africa, includes Ile de Goree on many of its Senegal itineraries. An island visit is one of many cultural features on the 9-night Senegal Saint Louis Jazz Festival May 30 to June 9. It combines the Dak’Art (the best venue for contemporary visual culture in Africa) and the Saint Louis fete that showcases jazz, blues, gospel and other similar music. The program includes visits to Dakar, the Goree Island slave house with a lecture, Dak’Art festivities, Pink Lake, a village school visit and the Jazz Festival. The tour cost of $2,950 pp dbl also covers  roundtrip air New York-Dakar, first-class accommodations, transfers, hotel tax and service charge.

For more information, visit spectortravel.com.