It is official, and it was about time! Attention is raising on Senegal as a top tourist destination. So far, the beauties of this land have remained mostly undiscovered, especially to the non-French speaking people, but in the last few years, lights are on this vibrant country.
This is more than deserved! With its impressive natural and historical sights, mild climate, political stability, great facilities and flight connections, Senegal can’t just miss in your next holidays’ plans.
Get inspired reading the top 10 things to do here!
Top things to do in Senegal
#1 | Soak in the peace and beauty of natural parks and reserves.
Birdwatchers would love places like Madeleine Island, the lagoon of La Somone, the region of Sine Saloum, the Langue the Barbarie and the national park of DjouDj, sanctuaries for so many bird species.
And to see big mammals, the park of Basse Casamance and the reserves of Bandia and Fathala won’t disappoint you.
Herons, kingfishers and pelicans among the species living in these magic lands. Credits
#2 | Take a boat trip to Gorée Island
Life is calm and peaceful among the lush palms, narrow cobbled roads and colourful colonial houses of Gorée, just off the coasts of Dakar. No cars, no noises, no pollution, just a relaxed and timeless atmosphere here. And yet, for centuries this tiny place has been the largest slave-trading centre in West Africa, theatre of so many atrocities and cruelty; visiting the 18th century House of Slaves and its brutal Door of No Return, is a memento of this dark past, as well as a moral tribute to pay once here.
Walk around to discover other sights and get up to the Castle to have the best view on the island and downtown Dakar.
For its great historical value, Gorée is a UNESCO world heritage site. Credits
#3 | Float on the Pink Lake
The high concentration of salt and the presence of unusual algae turn the lake Retba – this is its official name – into a huge pink pool where you can float in relax.
One hour driving from Dakar, the Pink Lake is perfect for a day trip: you can eat in a cosy lakeside restaurant, explore the lake on a colorful pirogue or take a tour on a camel or on a quad.
The pink color is particularly evident during the dry season (October to June) Credits
#4 | Visit Saint Louis du Senegal during the Jazz Festival
This beautiful old colonial city becomes even more charming during the International Jazz Festival, held every between April and May. Music resounds until dawn, all city lanes liven up and the atmosphere becomes merry and energetic. Just let yourself move with the sound and get lost in this cool bohemian ambience.
Quietly waiting for the Festival’s good vibes Ph Alice Dottori
#5 | Climb up to Mamelle’s Lighthouse
From this spectacular 1864 lighthouse, you will enjoy one the best view on Dakar and on the Ocean. Get a guided tour inside, up to the lighthouse’s heart, or just chill on the external areas.
This photogenic lighthouse also hosts a cool night club during the weekends. Credits
#6 | Visit the highest statue in Africa
Opposite Mamelles’ lighthouse, meet the highest African statue, representing the Renaissance of the African people. Loved by many, argued by others, let’s just say it characteristic and Dakar’s skyline won’t just be the same without it.
With its 49 mt height, the African Reinassance is higher than the statue of Liberty. Credits
#7 | Colorful confusion of local markets
HLM, Sandaga, Tilene, Kermel, Soumbeldioune… there are so many markets here selling basically everything, from groceries to clothes, fabrics, crafts and…name something! If you are brave and not scared of intense negotiations and bargaining, these are the places to go!
Kermel Market – Ph Alice Dottori
#8 | Ride super good waves
Senegal means paradise for surfers. Dakar in particular, being exposed to swells from both north and south, offers a variety of waves that would fit any ability.
A Curiosity: 1966 “Endless summer”, one of the best surf movie, has been partially filmed in Senegal. Credits
#9 | Relax on magnificent beaches
From the more popular urban beaches of Virage, Yoff, Ngor and Mamelles to the paradise coastline outside Dakar (Petite Côte) and the magnificent shores of the Casamance Region, Senegal offers a variety of amazing beaches perfect for swimming, snorkelling or simply sunbathing in full relax.
The wide magnificent beach of Toubab Diallao- Ph Alice Dottori
10 | Eat delicious fresh fish
Enjoy sitting in one of the many beachfront restaurants to taste delicious thiof (a type of grouper, very popular in local cuisine), prawns, lobsters, tunas and lotte (sort of monkfish).
And do not miss the chance to buy them fresh at fish markets at late afternoon, right after the arrival of local fishermen on their colorful loaded pirogues. A truly unique experience!
Fishermen unloading their daliy catch. Credits
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