St.-Louis is the major town of northern Senegal, on an island at the mouth of the Senegal River on the border with Mauretania to the north. It was the first French settlement in West Africa, and was the capital of French West Africa as well as the first capital of Senegal. The old part of town on the island is old historical colonial buildings, most of them unrestored and many tumbling into ruin. The Pont Faidherbe Bridge, designed in 1897 by Gustav Eiffel, connects the island to the mainland. Originally its middle section rotated to allow steamships to pass up the river.
The Langue de Barbarie (Tongue of Barbary) peninsula separating the river from the open Atlantic to the west was historically the African district and today is a busy fishing village, Guet N'Dar.
The small Réserve Spéciale de Faune de Guembeul, 12km south of St.-Louis, protects native Sahel animals, including giant African spurred (sulcata) tortoises and dama gazelles.
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Last modified 31 January 2008