Senegal, the land of “Teranga” (Hospitality)” boasts a rich and diversified culture; Crossroads of civilizations and influences, mixing ancestral know-how and contemporary creation. Senegal is home to Craft masters and renown artists such as Ousmane Sow, Kalidou Kassé, Ndary Lô, music legends such as Youssou, Ndour, Baaba Maal, Daara J Family, movie greats such as the late Ousmane Sembene, the late Djibril Diop Mambety, William Mbaye and Alain Gomis, the rising star of African cinema. Senegalese fashion is also won world stage thanks to the contribution of Collé Ardo Sow, Douma Dieng, Adama Paris, Selly Raby Kane, Rama Diaw, Emma Style, Thiané Diagne, Cheikha, etc. A quick tour in craft markets across the country will bring you face to face with the talent and the lively culture of Senegal.
Senegal’s rich heritage also includes many monuments and historic places: Classified historical sites (the island of Gorée, Saint-Louis, etc.), monuments (monument of the African Renaissance), are historical sites. You will not be surprised to be told countless stories about heroes and heroines who marked the country’s history such as Aline Sitod Diatta, Lat Dior or the women of Nder. Everywhere you go, you will hear stories about Senegalese pride.
Tourist Attractions in and around Dakar
The African Renaissance Monument: The African Renaissance Monument is a 49-meter-tall bronze statue located on top of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles, outside Dakar, Senegal. A great view of the city.
Musee of IFAN: The Musée de l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire or IFAN Museum of African Arts is one of the oldest art museums in West Africa. The museum is founded in 1936, and contains important collections from across Francophone Africa. The museum is one of the regular locations used in the Dakar Biennale exhibition, showing art by contemporary African and diaspora artists
Mamelles Lighthouse: The Lighthouse is a strategically important lighthouse located near Cap Vert, the westernmost point of Africa, on the outskirts of Dakar. Completed in 1864, it has been described as “one of the world’s great lighthouses, guiding ships around the western tip of Africa”.
Marché Kermel: The covered Marché Kermel, behind Ave Sarraut and within walking distance of Marché Sandaga, sells a mixture of foodstuffs and souvenirs. It’s worth visiting for the beautiful buildings that shelters its busy stalls. The original 1860 construction burnt down in 1994, but the 1997 reconstruction has been closely modelled on the building’s initial structure and decoration.
Iles des Madeleines: Even though Îlot Sarpant is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle & bustle of the city; it provides a different, yet welcome feel from Dakar (and even nearby Ngor Island). This archipelago of completely uninhabited nature reserves is filled with volcanic rock formations, rare bird species, with a few baobab trees. This a great place to escape the city and enjoy a day in nature with friends.
Lac Rose: Lac Rose (Pink Lake) lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, some 30 km north-east of Dakar. It is named for its pink waters caused by Dunaliella salina algae and is known for its high salt content, up to 40% in some areas.
Gorée island: Gorée is a tiny, car-free island off the coast of Dakar, in Senegal. It’s known for its role in Atlantic slave trade. On the narrow streets, colonial buildings include the House of Slaves, now a museum. The 19th-century Fort d’Estrées houses the IFAN Historical Museum, with exhibits on Senegal’s past. The Henriette Bathily Women’s Museum considers the role of women in West African society. In 1978 Gorée Island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and several of its historic structures were restored in the 1980s and ’90s.
Museum of Black Civilizations: Opened in December 2018, the largest museum of black civilization with 14,000 square meters of floor space and capacity for 18,000 exhibits.
Read a NYTimes article on what to do during 36 Hours in Dakar.