DAKAR, July 22 (Hfrance.fr) - During shadowy cliffs that dominate the westernmost coast of Africa, a team of Senegalese mountaineers is looking for points of support which, according to them, are disappearing.
Climbing falls behind wrestling, football and surfing as beloved Senegalese pastimes, but it has brought together a small community of locals and expats who say their sport is under threat.
The problem: coastal erosion caused by a massive construction boom in the capital Dakar where luxury hotels and condominiums are coBuilt near once-an intact shore, eating away at the dirt and eroding well-worn climbing routes.
Pieces of hard cliff quickly turn into scree slopes; support points and places to lock a rope are lost.
"It 'sa bit sad, because it is really a place where you can get rid of all the stress of Dakar, all the noise and everything, ”helps Abasse Wane, who has been climbing the cliffs above Dakar's Mamelles beach for several years.
Waiting at the top after each ascent is no longer a clean park with a pleasant view of the Mamelles lighthouse in Dakar, which for 150 years has kept ships at bay. away from the reef below. Nowadays it's a dusty construction site littered with medical waste from a nearby hospital.
"C 'is a nice place to grim, and the opportunity for Senegalese climbers to be seen ... certainly won't happen if we don't have access to them, "he said, alongside construction debris that has been dumped at the edge of the cliff.
Erosion costs the government of Senegal more than $ 537 million per year, mainly due to the loss of high-value urban land, according to a 2019 World Bank study.
This is more than double what Benin loses, despite the region's worst coastal erosion in terms of volume of land lost.
Geologist Pape Goumbo Lo, who heads the scientific research institute, is concerned that if something is not done soon, the cliffs and the lighthouse may collapse into the sea.
"We must protect Mamelles from any emergency. It is historical, it is touristy, it is ecological and it is 'is strategic. "
There is still some magic.
A Recent evening climbers found an injured falcon nestled on the cliff side, unable to fly. They took the bird and two weeks later it was flying again.
" This is our main goal, "said Daouda Diallo, a rock face regular. " To protect this area for the next generation. " Reporting by Cooper Inveen and Ngouda Dione; Editing by Edward McAllister and Richard Pullin
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