Senegal Surf Trip – N’gor Island
N’gor Island is situated just off the mainland of Senegal, on the western most point of Africa.
From the airport in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, a 10 minute taxi ride and a 5 minute ferry/overloaded fishing boat will leave you nestled on the tiny island. From there it’s a short meander through the sandy streets to N’gor surf camp. Run by Jesper, his wife and their team of about 8, it is a friendly place with decent accommodation, surfboard hire (sorry about the snapped board!) and nice food being served in the mornings and evenings.
“Surf Camp Entrance”
There are around 20 permanent inhabitants on the island, so finding a bar that is open late in to the evenings is somewhat of a chore, however with the abundance of great waves in close proximity, you may find yourself falling asleep early in the evenings after plenty of water-time and food.
There is a rocky right and a left hander (aptly named “N’gor right and left”) relentlessly peeling off either side of the 800m long island, with a sheltered beach facing the mainland. There are no breaking waves on this beach but it is a great place to eat fresh seafood, get haggled in to buying a necklace and observe the “ferries” edge their way back and forth between the mainland with far too many people on board.
With Dakar’s geographical position and opposite facing coasts within 5 minutes of each other, it gets battered with swell and there is rarely a day when there is not a decent wave – but for some reason it is uncrowded.
A lot of the waves break over urchin-infested reefs, are relatively powerful and so are not well-suited for beginner surfers (or 9’6 thick, heavy, single fin longboards – as Dave found out one one of the heavier days).
There is however, one rocky beach break close to Dakar, which is suited to learner surfers and has ample facilities on the beach, giving it a good atmosphere. It is strangely called “Secrets”
As we soon discovered which of the items we took were useful and what we should have taken, we have come up with a list of useful gear to take, should you want to go:
Xcel Reef Boots – to put it simply – lifesavers. Both Dave and I stepped on urchins, but thanks to the boots, we didn’t end up with spikes in our feet, potentially becoming infected and ruining further surfs
Suncream – the malaria tablets will turn you a funny, pink colour (or maybe that was just me), but lets keep the pink to a minimum with decent suncream – make sure it’s water resistant, much like the sexwax and panama jack suncream
Xcel Wetsuit – if not for the warmth, for the protection! In their summer months you will not need a wetsuit but in the winter, a 3/2 suit is ample.
Xcel Rash vest – keep UV protected and rash-free if you aren’t wearing a wetsuit. The xcel rash vests are of fantastic quality and come in a range of colours and sizes
Spare Fins – with plenty of rocks under the water, there is a chance you may break your fins, so make sure you have spare. The gas composite fins are a good choice as they are great fins at a great price.
Snorkelling Equipment – The water is very clear and there is an abundance of marine life, so snorkelling is great. However we were pleased that we went snorkelling towards the end of the trip, as it became apparent just how many urchins there are.
Fin Keys and Spare Leggy String – very handy little things when snapped fins and lost boards are commonplace, but far too easy to lose – take a few
Repair Materials – as there is only one surf shop in the whole of Senegal, materials are very hard to come by. You may need to perform a quick fix on your board, so UV sola cure resin (polyester and epoxy) is very handy. Some fibreglass cloth will help to strengthen the repairs and some sandpaper is handy for blending the repairs.
Keeping it short, if you want to rack up the surf-time on uncrowded waves in warm water – the relaxed island of N’gor may well be for you . . .
If you like a bit of liveliness in the evenings, you’re going to have to take your shoes off, roll up your jeans and hop on the ferry to explore what Dakar has to offer.
If you would like anymore information on the trip or advice on what to take/when to go etc. why not pop in for a chat or give us a call and I’m sure there’s a few stories we could tell you.
For accommodation on N’gor Island, be sure to check out Jesper’s website over at http://www.gosurf.dk