GLP Films and National Geographic present: Visit a Village on an Island Made of Shells

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Visit a Village on an Island Made of Shells

Along Senegal’s Petit Cote lies an island unlike any other. Completely man-made, yet sustainably developed, the Island of Fadiouth (Shell Island) is a unique example of human development using locally harvested resources. Created over 300 years, Fadiouth rose out of the Sine-Saloum Delta as an island created by discarded mollusk shells. Today, Fadiouth’s unique geology has pushed it to become a center of marine conservation as well as religious tolerance. Mollusk shells have become the site of the only cemetery in Senegal with Christian, Muslim and Animist graves.

Behind the Scenes on Shell Island:


Surrounded by the shifting waters of the Sine-Saloum Delta, access to the island is by bridge or boat.


Locals have been harvesting mollusks from the surrounding waters for centuries. Discarded shells accumulate, gradually expanding the island’s size.


The tides bring water that filters in to the mangroves and allows mollusks and other marine life to flourish.


The coexistence of Muslim and Catholic religions is most apparent in the local cemetery.


An intense sense of community on the island stems from the merging of different cultures and religions.


The island’s mollusks find their way on to the facade of the homes themselves.


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