Senegal is emerging on to the world stage in a big way, swiftly growing as a must see destination. Its modern and vivacious capital city, Dakar, is well known for its lively nightlife, while the coastal region of the Petite Cote offers up a relaxing seaside retreat.
For tips on how to get around in Senegal, read our Senegal Transportation guide. To check out things to see and do in our destinations, visit our Dakar & Saint Louis Destination Guide and Petite Cote & Saly Destination Guide.
A visit to the Ile de Goree is a must. This small island just off the Dakar coast is the epicentre of the African slave trade and a tour around its interior is an experience almost beyond words. Built by the Dutch in 1776 the House of Slaves held captive millions of men, women and children over a three and a half century period before they were sold into a life of servitude, shipped to the Americas, passing through the ‘Door of no return'.
In 1978 the island was listed on the world heritage list by UNESCO. Despite its dark history, today the island is a peaceful place and is one of Dakar's most visited tourist sites.
One of the most visited spots along the Cap Vert Peninsula is Le Lac Rose. One of nature's rarest phenomenon, the lakes unique pink colouring is caused by high mineral concentration and millions of micro organisms inhabiting the water. The lake is surrounded by sand dunes, baobab forests and villages. The lake is a vital source of income for the villagers, who can be seen daily using traditional methods to extract salt from the bottom of the lake to sell to the cities.
The festival takes place over the second weekend of May every year in Saint Louis and has become a world renound meeting place for musicians and toutists from around the globe. The festival has been growing in popularity since its humble beginnings during the early nineties and now gathers more than 5000 audience members and numerous performers from all over the world.
The Island of Fadiouth is an old fishing village located near Jaol, on the southern end of the Petite Cote. Fadiouth has become a popular tourist site for its unique architecture. Over many years, the remains of clamshells have built up over the streets and houses creating this unique white village. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island, it is accessible only by an 800m long wooden foot bridge or by the local boats, pirogues. The village cemetery is on another island that is reached by crossing another wooden footbridge. Each grave is marked by a white cross and a pile of shells.
The fine sandy white beaches of the Petite Cote are some of the most picturesque in West Africa. Spend your days lounging around soaking up the radiant African sun, or enjoy one of the many available watersports: swimming, waterskiing, jetskiing, snorkelling, scuba diving, canoeing, and windsurfing. The deep sea fishing here is some of the best in Senegal.
Football is a popular game all over Africa, and its popularity has improved in Senegal since their explosive entrance onto the world stage at the 2002 World Cup. Impromptu games are played mostly on the weekends, and as the days cool off towards the evening. There are football fields in almost every town, and inter-town matches draw large crowds.
The Musée de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire is one of the oldest and best known art and cultural museums in West Africa. Undergoing renovations in 1995 the building holding the museum was originally the central administration headquarters for the French West Africa Federation and is now a regular venue for the Dak Art festival. Over 300 items are on display including musical instruments, stunning fabrics, masks, statues and farming implements.
Hours: 8:00am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-6:30pm.