Dakar is indeed a city of contrasts, perfectly situated on the country’s Atlantic coast, Cape Verde Peninsula in a jumble of tiny villages and former French colonial towns, which has brought adventure to it. The French imprint is still evident in their culture and language. The city is celebrated for its beautiful beaches and lakes that are not crowded, colonial building styles, exquisite hotel resorts, game parks and reserves. Seeing the horse-cart drivers dragging the roads with sleek cars in Dakar is an eye-catching scene. Apart from that, the city features amazing attractions and it is one place in Africa that boasts a great nightlife and varied music environment. If you are planning to visit Dakar and you are not convinced enough; we have listed 12 reasons why you should visit Dakar:
1. Mesmerizing Views
Photo Source: Eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr
A trip to Les Mamelles is a lifetime experience that brings the Atlantic Ocean to your view, not forgetting that the bronze statue Le Renaissance Afriquaine can be viewed from here. Do you know that it is larger than the famous Statue of Liberty? It features a child, woman and man pointing; a symbol of hope to Africa.
2. Historic Ile de Gorée
Photo Source: John Karwoski on Flickr
A short ferry ride will bring you to Goree Island a treasure that was discovered by some curious tourists years back. This is a reminder of what the slave transport route was like, painting the painful history of slavery with its House of Slaves, historic forts, houses, and museums, including La Maison des Esclaves. The beautiful streets that are lined with some colonial buildings can be a great place to wander around. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Visit The Pink Lake at Lac Rose
Photo Source: Mireia Saenz on Flickr
Lac Rose or Lake Retba is one of the most popular places that you can be when you come to Dakar, a salty lake that change to bright pink on sunny days due to the high salt content in the water. You can swim here or even watch people ride on horseback.
4. Enjoy Vibrant Entertainment
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You must have heard that Akon was exported from here. Music is an integral part of this city and there is hardly a street that does not have its own unique soundtrack. The Omar Pene and Orchestre Baobab offer you Senegalese classics while places like the Youssou N’Dour’s nightclub make your night worth spending outside.
5. Explore The Local Life
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There is no need taking a cab to move around if you really want to have a feel of the local lifestyle in Dakar, just take a walk and see the open stoves serving people affordable meals, horse-drawn carts graciously moving and the noise from makeshift stalls traders selling a collection of goods.
6. Interesting Art and culture
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One place where you can see the wealth of the art and culture of the city is at L’Institut Français, where you will find an escape from the thrum of the bustling streets and heat accompanied with its exotic gardens. People come here to take cappuccinos in the café, read or even watch movies. The last surprise of this place can be found at the Galerie le Manège which houses amazing exhibitions.
7. Delicious Cuisine
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The aromas of the local and international cuisine are almost everywhere, drawing you to eat meals such as the mafé rice, cooked al fresco, grilled fish, skewered mutton or even the national dish thiéboudiene. There are beautiful restaurants or hotels to satisfy your hunger around the city.
8. Fantastic Shopping Experience
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The magical haggling and riot of noise that come from African markets are not missing here. You can visit the Marché Kermel and Marché des HLM and do your cheap shopping. Now remember if you are going to buy fabric, the more colourful ones can be the best for you. There are a lot of fabric that ranges from Mauritanian Arabic-style, Malian waxed and down to the locally made materials.
9. Exotic Beaches
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You may be surprised to know that most photographed beaches in the world come from this country. You will love the amazing red cliffs site where Toubab Dialao beach is located, the the Île N’Gor or the Petite Côte where you can move around and have water fun.
10. Natural Beauty at Fathala Wildlife Reserve
This is one natural reserve that you cannot miss when you come to Dakar. It is a part of the Saloum Delta National Park, best known for its wetlands and forest and houses hundreds of wildlife. A pirogue trip (boat trip) will give you all the hypes that come from exploring charming places like Missirah. Visit: Fathala Wildlife Reserve
11. See the Stone Circles
Photo Source: Penguintravel.com
The Stone Circles is the world’s largest group of megalithic complexes and it is UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The carvings on the stones are very complex and a lot of tourists are seen visiting this place. There are guided tours to help you located the actual burial grounds of these stones before they were found.
12. Visit the Hidden Keur Moussa
Photo Source: Senegalvision.com
This is huge Benedictine complex that is hidden in the hills. It is located outside the Dakar and you can observe mass that is accompanied by the musical instruments into the liturgy. Do not say that we didn’t tell you, the goat cheese here is legendary.
Have you seen why you should visit Dakar? We may not have told you that accommodation is great here, from the luxury hotels to budget hotels. Even if you are thinking of a fairy tale vacation or break, Dakar is indeed the right place for you to visit