10 Cool Things To Do In Dakar; Senegal In 2021
Senegal is by far one of my favourite African countries and one of those African countries that feels a lot like Europe. Dakar is a beautiful but very busy city, which is great for big city lovers, but there are quieter neighbourhoods if you love to relax such as Yoff and Ngor.
Quick Tips for travelling to Dakar
Senegal is a very relaxed and liberal country but is still an Islamic country so modesty should be taken into consideration.
Transport may be your biggest expense here as taxi drivers are often opportunists inflating the prices for tourists. Especially at the airports so I recommend getting the coach to downtown Dakar.
In Dakar haggling with taxi drivers is a must, even for locals. Busses are cheaper but often confusing to navigate for a non-local as bus stops are not clearly marked.
With the rise of tourism to the country’s capital, Dakar has a lot of cheaper accommodations are now available. An average night in a hostel will cost around $5 per person per night with 5-star hotels costing around $150 a night.
With so much to do and see you’ll be spoilt for choice in this special city but here are my Top 10 must sees in the city.
1. Goree Island
If there’s one must visit place in Dakar, this is it! Just off the course of mainland Senegal, Goree Island offers a better understanding the transatlantic slave trade and Senegalese history. From museums to well preserved buildings, this UNESECO World Heritage Site truly feels like you’re stepping back in time. This island is a chilling reminder of the scar of slavery many African countries still carry. I advise going with a tour guide, you can hire them before you get at the port where you buy tickets to the island or on the island. (Senegalese and Africans get a discounted rate onto the island)
2. The African Renaissance Monument
This is an undeniably breathtaking copper statue in the capital. A must see in Dakar. This monument celebrates not only Senegalese liberation but African liberation from colonialism. This magnificent statue was created in hopes of becoming an international tourist attraction like the statue of liberty. I hope you like stairs because just like the road to freedom, it is a long climb up.
3. Niokolo-Koba National Park
This is a UNESECO World Heritage site is Senegal’s largest national park. This protected area is home to some amazing biodiversity. This is a great place for bird lovers who’d be able to get close up views of flamencos, pelicans and even elephants!
4. The IFAN Musuem and Museum of Black Civilizations
These museums are great places to go to explore more of West African culture. With a hundred of artefacts, from African clothing styles to traditional armour dating back hundreds of years. A must visit if you’re in Dakar.
5. The stones of Senegambia
Though not tecnically in Dakar, these stones are still worth the trip. Scattered around Senegal and Gambia, these UNESECO World heritage sites date back to the 3rd century BC. and are historical landmarks. Whilst some speculate these stones to be a burial ground, others believe the stones were placed there by Gods and have spiritual meaning. Either way, they sure are an archaeological wonder.
6. Visit Fathala
For those adventure seekers, why not visit Fathala Wildlife reserve. This reserve is home to hundreds of animals including endangered animals such as rhinos, warthogs, buffaloes and more.You can even get the unique experience to walk with lions. Bet you don’t have the opportunity to do that everyday.
7. Lac Rose
Also known as Lake Retba, This is a beautiful lake located 45km from central Dakar and is naturally pink due to the high salt content. Though when I went, it wasn’t particularly pink, it is worth a visit if you have extra time on your trip as the landscape and area alone are very different to inner city Dakar.
8. Djoudj National Bird park
This national park is the 3rd sanctuary in the world and a paradise for bird lovers. With over 350 different bird species migrating to and from this park, don’t miss out on a chance to see some beautiful birds such as pelicans and flamingos. But if birds aren’t your thing, this park is also home to other animals like monkeys, warthogs and even crocodiles.
9. Mosque of divinity
This mosque is located in Ouakam, a neighbourhood in Dakar and stands tall on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Why not take a trip to see it and marvel at the amazing architecture.
10. The Beach
Dakar has some undeniably great beaches with neighbourhoods like Ngor being notoriously loved by surfers. With amazing sandy beaches and great local food close by, you definitely won’t be disappointed making Dakar your next holiday destination.
Let us know how you found Dakar below!