Les Manguiers de Guereo (the mangroves) is a hidden gem. Literally hidden! You would never find it unless you knew where it was - it doesn't even have a sign at the end of the track that leads there. Eric founded the hotel 6 or 7 years ago. He is only interested in making sure his guests are enjoying themselves and nothing is too much trouble. The hotel has 13 bungalows overlooking the nearby Samone lagoon, each equipped with 2 bedrooms, a large bathroom and separate toilet. The air con works and there is plenty of hot water. There is no shortage of sunbeds and the infinity pool is never crowded. The bar and dining area is open sided but cool and at night lit by a rainbow of coloured lights.
We were collected from our hotel in Dakar (where we spent a couple of nights) at precisely 10.00 by Valerie and Flubber her little dog and driven the 100k to Les Manguiers. The trip used to take 4 hours over dirt tracks but now a new motorway has cut the journey time to around an hour. Eric greeted us like long lost friends and introduced his "4 muskateers" Abdullah, Djibril, Paul & Etienne. Nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent, especially the seafood. as the hotel was quiet, Abdullah or Djibril would "speak the menu". The oysters were lovely and the Gambas to die for. We wanted to seen the Ospreys fishing in the nearby lagoon - Eric took us personally through the Mangroves to find the best vantage point. He suggested visiting the Banda Reserve a few miles away where you can go on a mini safari and see many animals that used to be indigenous to Senegal roaming free and wild. Then he decided to come too and we saw giraffe and zebra, ostrich, crocodiles, monkeys and antelopes but even with a guide who tried very hard we couldn't find the rhinos!
We fell in love with rural Senegal. It's third world but the people were lovely and friendly. We walked about on our own in complete safety. In Dakar there was begging and people trying to get money off you but not in Samone, they just said Bonjour! It helps to speak a bit of French but only a bit - I did French O level 40 years ago - but we managed and Eric's English is good.
But the real beauty is the birds. Hundreds of them. Not just the ospreys (or balbuzzards as they are known locally) - we regularly watched a dozen fishing in the lagoon at low tide, but lots of others. Little Senegal parrots sat outside my window every morning. Hornbills (including the red-billed Zazoo) sat in the tree. Parakeets flew by. We found 4 species of kingfisher (including 2 types on Eric's little lake).The bright blue Abyssinian Rollers are everywhere as are the pretty bee eaters. There are bearded barbets and Gonoluks and dozens of other pretty little birds. And if you are lucky you might see the pelican tree which is just amazing. Red monkeys visit the hotel gardens and there are a family of jackals on the lagoon which we glimpsed a few times. Eric arranged for us to go out with a local birdwatcher a couple of times. He spoke no English but with his French book translated into latin and then English we managed very well.
Don't expect dancing and nightlife, it isn't that sort of place. The entertainment is the location and the food and the drinks and the beach and the lagoon and the wildlife. There is boules and table tennis and table football. Eric has golf clubs and will take you to a very splendid golf club a few miles away. He had just bought a donkey cart and was about to train his two donkeys to pull it for the children (he was being very firm with his staff that they must NOT hit the donkeys). He has plans to import some antelope from Banda and he has already planted hundreds of trees. You can even borrow a dog to walk (thanks vanilla). And all this for E100 a day!. Wonderful value. Go now because once the big companies discover this little paradise it will be spoiled forever. Or rather don't go - just leave it for me!!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located between Somone and Popenguine, in the village of Guereo, Les Manguiers de Guereo offers a stunning view on Somone's laguna.From the restaurant, the bar or the swimming pool, you can enjoy the view on the laguna and its thousands of birds. ... more less