Saloum Delta National Park, Senegal

This national park in Senegal is named after its Saloum River Delta location 50 miles west of Kaolack. The North Atlantic meets the Saloum River in this park filled with sand dune islands and stunning mangroves. The park also contains the Fathala Game Reserve, the only place on Earth where visitors can see rare Western Giant eland antelopes, and the bird watching paradise of Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary. The Fathala Game Reserve can safely be explored by pirogues, hiking, or self-driving safari tours. Each winter, aquatic warblers migrate from Europe to join Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary’s flamingoes, pelicans, and nearly 400 other exotic bird species.
The Saloum Delta is close to the African continent’s western extremity, about 100 km south of the Senegalese capital, Dakar. It is an extensive area of mudflats, mangrove swamp and channels, with about 200 small islands, some of which are forested. It has been settled by fishermen for centuries, and a rich cultural history is being pieced together from archaeological evidence in the delta. In particular, 218 man-made mounds, some several hundred metres long and made of shells have been discovered. Some 28 of these mounds have been found to include burial tumuli containing some remarkable artefacts.
Covering over 760 sq km of mangrove-lined creeks, sandy islands, large sea areas and woodland, the Parc National du Delta du Saloum is Senegal’s second-largest national park. Beyond the mangrove swamps and a large marine section, its main attraction is the fantastically varied landscape and the hundreds of bird species it attracts in the south.
Fishing and shellfish gathering have sustained human life in the 5,000 km2 property, which is formed by the arms of three rivers. The site comprises brackish channels encompassing over 200 islands and islets, mangrove forest, an Atlantic marine environment, and dry forest.
The site is marked by 218 shellfish mounds, some of them several hundreds metres long, produced by its human inhabitants over the ages. Burial sites on 28 of the mounds take the form of tumuli where remarkable artefacts have been found. They are important for our understanding of cultures from the various periods of the delta’s occupation and testify to the history of human settlement along the coast of West Africa. Simply the best from Cometowestafrica.

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