2024 Milton Senegal Cultural Journey

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2024 Milton Senegal Cultural Journey! We have created two webpages dedicated to this exciting opportunity: this first page, the Pre-Enrollment page, is meant to share exciting details, highlights and pertinent info that potential travelers will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment Page, is meant to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. Please be sure to review the information on the appropriate page thoroughly and we hope you are excited for all Senegal has to offer!!
Travel Dates: June 10, 2024 - June 21, 2024
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,990 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $1,200

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers and given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - SenegalToday the group will fly from the US to Senegal.Airplane
2Saint LouisToday the group will arrive to Senegal and immediately transfer to Saint Louis. We will spend the rest of the day relaxing and recuperating after the long journey. We'll also make time to have an orientation meeting, visit a bank to exchange money, and orient ourselves around our neighborhood.Saint Louis Hotel
3Saint LouisThe adventures begin as we explore the city of St. Louis today. We will make sure to check out the local fish market - the busiest in Senegal - and will have the option to visit a bird sanctuary nearby in the afternoon or arrange a volunteer opportunity in town. After a fulfilling day, we will grab dinner and enjoy the comforts of our hotel before setting out for our homestay community tomorrow.Saint Louis Hotel
4Lompoul DesertToday we depart for the Lompoul Desert Lodge, where students will have the chance to ride camels and camp in the desert. The lodge is located about three hours from Dakar, but feels like it's on another planet. Students will camp along the sand dunes in very comfortable tents with running water, matresses and carpeting. This evening, we will gather around a campfire and enjoy some awesome stargazigng, good food and mint tea.Desert Lodge
5DakarThe group will travel to the capital city of Dakar and will head to our hotel which sits right on the coast. We'll spend most of this day resting, relaxing and recuperating from our long day of travel. We'll have an optional activity where we will visit the Peace Corps Office to learn about the work they do in Senegal or visit the Musée des Civilisations Noires.Hotel Calao
6DakarWe will spend most of this day touring Goree Island which was the departure point for millions of Africans during the centuries-long slave trade and sits just off the coast of Dakar. We'll explore the island with a local guide and, time allowing, explore some of the bigger artisanal markets in the capital.Hotel Calao
7Dakar - MbourThe group will travel to Mbour on the central Atlantic coast of Senegal. After arriving at a lovely hotel we’ll spend the day resting, relaxing and swimming in the ocean!La Pierre de Lisse
8Mbour - Bandia National Park - DakarToday the group will embark on a safari in one of Senegal’s best game parks! We'll tour a large swath of savannah in a jeep with our English-speaking tour guide and marvel at a wide range of impressive animals. This evening we will head back to Dakar and enjoy our last evening together in the country.Hotel Calao
9Dakar - USAToday we will make our way back to the airport and travel back to USA. Depending on our flight time, we will either have one last day in the capital or will head straight to the airport in the morning.Airplane
10USAArrivalYour Own Bed

Fundraising

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Learn more here.

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.  We vet and inspect the accommodations to ensure they uphold the ethos of our programs, are great values for our travelers and nice places to rest after enriching days of travel.  

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
La Pierre de Lisse

A small paradise about 45 minutes from Dakar, La Pierre de Lisse is true oasis located on the beach of Toubab Dialaw. Students will stay in private cabanas of stone walls and thatch roofs scattered throughout a large, exotic garden. Internet access throughout in the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Hotel Le Calao du Lac Rose

This lovely, family-run property is a short distance from the international airport near an enchanting pink salt lake. The ocean-front hotel is located on beautiful grounds where students stay in individual cabanas surrounded by flower and tree-lined paths. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Group Flight

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION, DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

An average service project depends completely on the needs of each community and can vary greatly from year to year. Service projects are planned together with the SSA Country Director and community organizers. The project will always benefit the entire community and is chosen and approved by community leaders. Walking Tree staff never decides what service project is done, rather projects are always proposed by local community leaders as they are most in tune with the needs of the community. In the past, our groups have constructed latrines, constructed rooms on community buildings and participated in beautification projects.

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES: (quantities depend on your trip length)

  • 6-8 pairs of underwear
  • 6-8 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
  • 2 pairs of soccer socks to cover your legs during the day at the work site
  • 4-6 t-shirts (some quick dry)
  • 2-3 light-weight, long sleeve shirts
  • 1 light sweater or sweatshirt
  • 1 light rain jacket
  • 2-4 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • 2-3 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
  • 1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
  • 1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals (optional for beach)
  • 1 pair of work gloves
  • 1 swim suit
  • 1 good sun hat

*Important Note for Female Travelers: In the interest of being respectful while still allowing travelers to be comfortable under the heat, (in public at least) shirts should cover shoulders and shorts or skirts/dresses should be conservative- that is, thighs, shoulders and decollete should be covered.

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS

  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent (you will use a lot)
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Prescription medication in properly marked original container
  • Biodegradable soap, shampoo, etc. That is to say, vegetable-based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Passport
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power Converter and Adapter: Senegal runs on voltage of 230 Frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets types: C / D / E / K
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • Water filtration device
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Extra batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • Host family gift
  • STUDENT ID
  • French/English Dictionary

HOMESTAY GIFTS

Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Fina Senghor
Fina Senghor
Senegal Country Director


University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis – M.A Applied Foreign Languages (English and Spanish), Tourism and Conference Interpreting.

Fina was born and raised in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. Later, due to her passion for languages, she went to Saint-Louis to continue her studies. After her master’s degree in 2008, she joined a British organization arranging trips for foreigners in developing countries around the world. Fina was in charge of welcoming young students to her country, who were coming to help and support local people in hard living conditions. With 9 years of experience working in multicultural environments, she is open-minded and very involved in social action. Furthermore, Fina is a member of cultural and social associations that give priority to the well-being of children and women in Africa.

Gabriel Duncan
Gabriel Duncan
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government

While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1.  Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of, or are consuming, or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety.
  4. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Threatening physical or emotional harm, or brandishing a weapon.
  4. Possessing, consuming, or distributing tobacco or nicotine, including vape pens.
  5. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  6. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Senegal website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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