the last stop in senegal, along the northern border with Mauritania was a remote town called Bakel. Unlike Matam, which was dying due to the demise of the river trade, Bakel was a bustling little community tucked miles away from anywhere. No cinema, no running water, and only half days of electricty, it really seemed like a lost little world. But it had energy -- everyone seemed to be working on something. But the heat was outrageous -- 46 degrees of hot dead air caught by the surrounding mountains.



An important strategic town stitching the french colonial empire together. Cemetries of dead french soldiers. Bizarre little forts on hilltops, and canons looking across the senegal river to Mauritania.

This is part of the french fort, now the prefecture.

Probably the filthiest place I'd been -- the streets were a mess of rocks and plastic bags. But it was so hot who cares? Most of the streets were just carpeted in fine red dust.


This is the patron of the hotel I was staying in. 3 wives and 24 kids!


Here are two of his wives and various children having their lunch - a traditional senegalese dish of fish, rice and a few vegetables. Actually, it seemed like the only senegalese dish after a while.


Lo, and his friend Cheik, looked after me while I was in Bakel and showed me around town.

We went swimming in the river until the fish started to try and eat me.


Just hanging out.
There's really not much to do in this place at all.

Unless, of course, you're a closet cross-dresser, then this is the place for you.