November 06, 2021travel & culture
Our Magical Escapade in Guereo, Senegal
Breathtaking views & magic
I am always seeking magic; in people, in places, in food. So I have decided to start sharing with you my magical experiences because it is an important part of what inspires me to create. I recently enjoyed unique getaways in different regions of Senegal I never visited before. Our first stop was Les Manguiers de Guéréo, a refined hotel lodge surrounded by lush flora. The place offers a unique experience of wildlife observation, among other things, and a surreal connection to nature.
Spending more than a year indoors has made us long for the most mundane things; the rustling of trees, the gentle breeze, and the calming sounds of nature. We’d give anything to spend a day or two with these free luxuries, and the lodge was the perfect place to experience all of it. The 22 acres property overlooks Senegal’s Somone nature reserve, established for the preservation of the ecological integrity of the lagoon and the promotion of sustainable local development.
I stayed in one of the lodge’s superior suites with a private infinity pool and breathtaking views. The property’s rooms are built as beautiful huts spread throughout the estate, all of which are consciously designed to bring a sense of tranquility. The wood decor in the rooms highlight the property’s commitment to nature, while the vibrant color scheme and locally designed pieces elevate the overall experience.
A Place to Claim Serenity Back
Our stay was rooted in rest and relaxation. The locally sourced food was succulent and the views were nothing short of spectacular. Taking a dip in the pool while watching the sunset is definitely a must, in addition to soaking in all the sun and taking beautiful pictures during golden hour.
After the past year in isolation, I admit that I started losing my wanderlust spirit (screen fatigue is real, folks). We all run out eventually, so this trip came at the perfect time. Being in tune with nature and everything it has to offer allowed me to reclaim serenity and personal peace, two things that Les Manguiers de Guéréo prioritizes above all else.
A Strong Emphasis on Sustainability
Les Manguiers de Guéréo owes many of its features to the talented craftsmen who provided their ancestral know-how to build the property. From ideation to design, you can see and feel authenticity and intentionality. The use of natural resources like bamboo and reclaimed wood shows lodge’s commitment to sustainability; something that truly resonated with my work as a conscious designer. Most importantly, this lodge was created with a strong mission rooted in nature preservation. They describe the property and visitors as guests of nature and actively promote the preservation of the natural reserve, a very refreshing approach to tourism. The reserve is home to a bird sanctuary, a protected lagoon with beautiful mangroves and unique hikes to explore various plant and animal speechies like monkeys.
A Showcase of Senegal’s Majestic Scenery
The hotel lodge is built close to the ocean and set upon a land sheltering various fauna. I loved throwing on any printed scarf as a sarong or dress over my swimsuits and taking a walk around the lodge while listening to the soft chirping of birds. Besides the wonderful environment, the interior design of the hotel is not to be missed. From the huts’ structural design to the furniture, everything is well thought out and intentional. It’s like taking a glimpse of Senegal’s art scene; incredibly diverse, sustainable, colorful, and deeply rooted in culture.
Don’t Skip on the Activities!
My team and I visited the Bandia Reserve, 20 minutes away from the hotel. This safari park is inhabited by wildlife like giraffes, zebras, rhinos, antelopes, ostriches and more. Being among these great creatures in Bandia was very commonplace for me growing up in Senegal, but it was truly exciting to see my friends from California experience it for the first time.
Lagoon Boat Ride
One of the greatest activities at Guereo is the 2-hour boat ride around the Somone Lagoon Nature Reserve. We enjoyed the unique scenery of lush trees growing on water and saw large crabs. The highlight for me was to experience the magical sounds in a bird sanctuary on tiny islands on the water.
The lodge has beautifully designed trails and observation points to truly experience your oneness with nature. You can occasionally greet curious monkeys, or just be surrounded by beautiful butterflies, birds and plants. Speaking of which, we recommend visiting the Baobab Forest; majestic and century-old trees, regarded as Senegal’s emblem.
Experiencing Les Manguiers de Guéréo and its surroundings with my team and best friends is something I will hold close to my heart. Senegal is my home, and this place felt like an extension of that. I was able to refresh myself and be inspired again and can’t wait to show you the new textiles I imagined from this trip.
More About Les Manguiers de Guéréo
Transport: We rented a private car and driver (for our team of 7) with Rent Dakar for our entire tour of Senegal and I highly recommend them. The peace of mind of having a professional driver allows you to fully be mentally present while experiencing all this magic. The hotel is approximately 1-hour away from our DSS Airport.
Rooms: The hotel has three types of rooms, all shaped as beautiful huts. I stayed in the Superior Suite (Starting at $380 a night) with my sister and best-friend The suite features 2 private rooms (for up to 4 people), a private infinity pool and panoramic views of the forest. My other team members stayed in Comfort rooms (ideal for couples), each with a queen bed and private terrace (Starting at $175 a night).
Photo & Video Credit: Ranier Gadduang, Marieme Gueye, Diarra Bousso, Joe Maglioco.