Senegal - Top Tips

Super Seven

1. Dakar City Tour

This is a capital city that's definitely worth exploring. There's plenty to see, but the points of interest are spread over distances, so best to check these out via car. These attractions include Dakar Cathedral, The Grand Mosque, Dakar Railway Station, Mosque of the Divinity, and Obelisk Square. In addition, there's some impressive street art around the university campus area.

2. Goree Island

A tiny island off the coast of Dakar which is easily reachable via ferry in under 20 minutes. The island played a major role in the Atlantic slave trade during the 15th-19th century. On the island itself, there's narrow streets lined with colonial buildings, as well as remains from past conflict. The House of the Slaves is one of the highlights, but I would recommend 3-4 hours here to check out the whole island. There's some impressive view points too.

3. Pink Lake

The Pink Lake is also referred to as Lake Retba. It's located 30km North East of the capital and easily reachable via road. The lake is bright pink in colour due to the combination of salina algae and high salt content. There are locals dotted around the lake that will happily take you on a short boat ride. You will also see workers gathering the salt from the base of the lake onto small boats. The worker in the photo below is from Timbuktu in Mali and has been working on the lake for 4 years.

4. The Great Mosque of Touba

Touba is a city easily reachable within a 2.5 hour drive East of Dakar. Regardless of religion, the mosque there is truly spectacular from an architectural perspective, so that alone is worth the journey. You'll find local volunteers at the mosque who will gladly help you with a tour both inside and outside the mosque. Construction of the mosque started in 1887 and completed in 1963.

5. African Renaissance Monument

At 49 meters tall, the statue is the largest monument on continental Africa. The monument opened to the public on 4th April 2010, which is both Senegal National Day and the anniversary of 50 years of independence. Located on a 100 meter high hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and offers an observation deck via elevator (10 Euro Fee). Perhaps the most surprising fact is that the monument was constructed by a North Korean company.

6. Saint Louis Overnight Trip

Saint Louis is a city known for its colonial architecture and offers a great authentic visit into local Senegalese everyday life. Saint Louis is actually an island that's linked to the mainland by Faidherbe Bridge, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel. I would definitely recommend a horse and carriage ride around the city. It's the perfect setting to snap away with your camera along the colourful streets and watch the local fishermen reel in their catch. Based on the distance from Dakar, I would recommend an overnight stop.

7. The Westernmost Point of Continental Africa

Perhaps more for the geeky travellers, but Senegal boasts the westernmost point on continental Africa. Googlemaps is the easiest way of reaching this point as it's not exactly well signposted. Be aware that there is a jetty leading out to the ocean from the beach that's within 200 meters of the westernmost point, so don't get confused between the two. If you're a fan of abandoned locations, the hotel adjacent to the westernmost point is also worth checking out.

Accommodation Advice

Dakar has a wide range of hotels, so I've decided to recommend one in Saint-Louis. Hotel Du Palais is in a great central location offering spacious rooms with nice balconies overlooking the colonial streets.

Food Factor

Noflaye Beach restaurant located in the Almadies area of Dakar was the clear dining winner during my time in Senegal. Beachfront location, so perfect to watch the sunset, huge seafood platters, and very good value on the wallet. Would definitely recommend this place as a "must" while in Senegal.

Guide Recommendation

If you're looking for a local to driver/guide whilst in Senegal, I can positively recommend Amadou (+221 776 314874).

He's very responsive via Whatsapp and works with many of the large global tour operators so has a wealth of knowledge in both Senegal and neighbouring countries.

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