My African Adventure – A Photographic Journey in Natural Beauty (and some other fun stuff)

I’ve missed you, beauties! But I am now back from an amazing trip to Africa and wanted to share my journey (and beauty finds) with you.

Below are some photos from the sights, the people, the experiences and the beauty of Senegal, Africa.

I joined some amazing people on a whirlwind trip around this beautiful country and was even blessed enough to experience a (royal) African wedding.

Join me on my journey below:

This is a sunset picture of the largest herb in the world – the Baobab tree. This tree is largely found in mainland Africa and is an amazing multitasker. The baobab tree is used for its fruits, leaves (for food), fibre (often mixed into porridge or soup thickener), dye and fuel! But most interesting to me, is the oil that is extracted from the fruit that is used as a beautifying ingredient – much like you would use jojoba oil. The baobab oil nourishes and improves skin elasticity as well as soothes dry skin. It contains Vitamins A, D, E and F, which help to heal damaged cells (and thus, acts as a great anti-aging agent). Unlike many other oils, it is said to not leave a greasy residue – although I have yet to try it for myself.  Next time you’re checking out your product lists, see if you see any baobab oil. While it is used in small quantities, it is possible to purchase USDA-certified organic bottles in the US.

Baobab trees are also (apparently) great for building bridges between, especially over top of crocodile sanctuaries. Here I am crossing one (I may or may not have lost my mind).

 As my nearest and dearest know, I am absolutely obsessed  in love with monkeys. In Senegal the “green” and “red” monkeys are commonly found in their natural habitats around the Sahel. The Sahel desert is the transition zone of the Sahara desert to the North Savanna, located across the north of Africa. I made friends with a green monkey in Bandia (by no means was our friendship based on food…).  

I also met a few other beautiful creatures on my journey:

My heart broke for this sweet little goat amongst a pile of garbage.

My first trip on camel back was provided by this gentleman:

The MBA part of my brain is always looking at how the economy is run. As with most of Africa, the Small and Medium sized businesses (and even micro-businesses) is what keeps the economy afloat. It is the smallhold farmers and abundance of entrepreneurs that make the economic world go round here. One thing I love about African agriculture is that it is mostly organic (not certified, however, but organic in that they do not use – mainly because of the cost – expensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers). Below are some organic farms found in the most curious places (near a highway, and on a desert plain) and some fishing boats that are used to fish sustainably (you won’t see any large trolling fishing boats here!).

While I was in Senegal we did a side tour to The Pink Lake (also known as Lac Rose). While my camera did not do it much justice, I’ve found a shot to give you an idea of what it is. Essentially the Pink Lake was once part of the ocean, but when it was closed off to the rest of the water way, it became a highly salty and harboured a type of algae that actually turned the water pink. 

The salt content is like that of the dead sea, so it has great beauty benefiting properties.

Below are some of my “Pink Lake” beauty finds: salt body scrub and shea butter by a natural Senegalese beauty brand, Chouette Mama. Lac Rose is largely mined for salt, and during the day work approximately 7 hours in and around the salty water. To protect their skin and avoid tissue damage many use Shea butter (also known as Beurre de Karité) as an emollient.  I bought more than enough of that along the way…

Already knowing what an awesome moisturizer shea butter is in general (it’s in almost all body lotions and body butters), I made it a priority to grab a bulk order of it before leaving Senegal. Below is my 1 kg bag of pure, raw, unrefined (and organic) shea butter – extracted using water, making it so pure it is edible. This will last as my all over moisturizer and hair treatment for a while… I hope :-)

My “African mom” was worried that eating would be hard for me, given that I avoid gluten, dairy and meat, but Africa proved to be a fantastic place to eat, and eat well! Rice and veggies abound kept me full to the brim. Below is an example of a typical Senegalese dish where everyone eats of the same bowl (in their own section).

After eating, many African people (especially women) can be seen chewing the “Sothiou”” (the Senegal name used for this chew stick), which, in the wolof language, means “to clean.” We bought some chew sticks from the gentleman below, but you can find them commonly in natural food stores all around the world. It is argued that these chew sticks are as effective (and more ecofriendly) as using a regular plastic toothbrush, since many of the natural oils found in the wood are naturally anti-microbial. If you want to give it a try, check out the licorice root sticks on Amazon here.

Here are a few shots of some sites around Senegal:

Buses in Africa: not the safest mode of transportation

In Africa, markets are not for the faint of heart. The poverty rocks you to your core.

The main reason for my trip to Senegal was to attend a wedding, where a dear friend of mine was the Maid of Honor and sister of the bride. Below are some shots from the wedding that are less authentic to the typical “African experience”, but fun nonetheless.

The Bride & Groom leaving the church after their vows were given

M & I at the reception – I’m wearing sustainable fashion designer Nina Skarra

On day 2 of the wedding we wore traditional African attire to celebrate. Here is a group shot of myself with some of the wonderful people I spent time with while in Senegal. We are all wearing the colours that the family wore – such an honor.

Some of the amazing people I spent time with in Senegal

I hope you enjoyed the pics and tips – I am already looking forward to my next trip to Africa.