Dakar is the capital city of Senegal in West Africa. It stands as a multicultural, diverse city full of vibrant arts and heritage. The westernmost African city, a major regional port, the largest city, and Senegal's national capital. It has an aura that seeps into the soul, bustling and addictive, that makes you feel like you never want to leave. The major attraction is the late-night parties, baobab smoothies, and cotton-candy sunsets while enjoying surfing at the beach. Here you can enjoy the city's vibrant nightlife with its local mbalax music. And you can also relax on the peaceful islands and beaches.
Located in a gorgeous garden, Village des Arts showcases Dakar's exceptional arts scene. The Museum of Black Civilizations features black cultural contributions around the world. Experience the thrill of seeing 11 species of turtles up close with a trip to a bio-preserve. Nature, arts, culture, and history combine to make Dakar a unique destination.
It is an once-in-a-lifetime experience to visit Les Mamelles, which provides a closer look at the Atlantic Ocean, not to mention the bronze statue La Renaissance Africaine. The Statue of Liberty is more miniature, but this one is four times bigger. Africans see this as a symbol of hope as a child, woman, and man point.
Akon was exported from here, as you must have heard. Almost every street in this city has its soundtrack, and music is an integral part of its culture. It pays to spend your night outside in places like Youssou N'Dour's nightclub or the Omar Pene, where you can enjoy Senegalese classics.
Taking a cab doesn't allow you to experience the local lifestyle in Dakar; walk around the city and see affordable meals being served by open stoves, horse-drawn carts moving graciously, and makeshift stalls selling various items.
Other African capitals can't compare to Dakar's fine dining, music scene, and stunning beaches. Here are some things you can do in Dakar, Senegal, that will make your stay unforgettable:
Senegal, particularly Dakar, is well known for its religious tolerance, with a majority Muslim and a minority Catholic population living in perfect harmony. Dakar has an impressive collection of mosques and churches, including the Plateau Cathedral with a capacity of 3,000 and the Mosque El Hadji Omar Al Foutiyou with its distinctive green dome and four minarets. It is, however, the Mosque of the Divinity that must be considered the jewel in the crown. The beautiful three-tower hotel in Ouakam sits in the middle of a horseshoe cove, overlooking the endless Atlantic. At the same time, fishers guard their catch against pelicans on the beach. If you are visiting Dakar, don't miss this.
The Petite Côte (Small Coast) isn't technically located in Dakar. Still, a day trip there is an excellent way to experience Senegal's sights without going too far. Typical seaside villages are scattered along the Petite Côte, which stretches 70 kilometers between the Cap-Vert Peninsula (Dakar) and the Sine-Saloum Delta. Popenguine beach is where you can dine in style, Saly resort is where you can relax, and Toubab Dialao is where you can catch a wave and wander the old town. In addition, the Côte is conveniently located near the new airport, making for a beautiful pre-flight day trip.
Around 1,600 people live on Gorée Island, about 45 acres in size. In this peaceful area, pastel-colored houses line quiet cobbled streets without being disturbed by cars. In the past, however, colonial powers, including the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and French, have fought over the island due to its deep harbor and defendable shores. The Slave trade was one of the essential activities on the island. Around 20 million African enslaved workers passed through its most famous building, the House of Slaves. Gorée serves as a "memory island" of the Atlantic slave trade, despite historians questioning the extent of its involvement.
It is less than an hour's drive from Dakar to see Pink Lake, also known as Lake Retba, among locals. There are several salt sources around the world, including this unique lake. Dead Sea water has a much higher density of salt per square foot than the Atlantic Ocean. Water with high salt content causes pink color due to bacteria. The lake's color changes dramatically during the dry season between November and June. Salt worth thousands of kilograms annually is extracted by salt workers. Many Senegalese earn their living by fishing in this vast lake. The lake is surrounded by hundreds of salt collectors who work every day.
You might have never seen a monument as impressive as this one. A man and woman holding up a baby are depicted in the giant sculpture. It shows African liberation from hatred, ignorance, and racism, which is significant for the entire continent. Located on a twin hill called "Collines des Mamelles," the bronze monument towers 49 meters high. The African Renaissance Monument's power is evident as you climb the long staircase. You can climb up to the top inside and admire it from the outside. In Dakar, this is one of the best things to do because you can see some of the city's most spectacular views.