Top 10 things to do in Dakar

Why visit Dakar?

Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is a must-see destination for travelers. This dynamic and colorful city offers a unique blend of culture, history and natural landscapes. Whether you are interested in discovering historical sites, the richness of Senegalese culture, exploring nature and the environment, or sampling the local cuisine, Dakar has something for everyone. In this article, we offer you a selection of top 10 things to do when visiting Dakar.

What to do in Dakar? Top 10 things to do in the city!

1. The island of Goree

The island of Goree is one of the most emblematic sites of Dakar. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it bears witness to the tragic history of the slave trade. Visitors can explore the Slave House and the Historical Museum to better understand this dark period of history. The island of Goree, with its cobblestone streets and brightly colored houses, also offers a peaceful atmosphere and an ideal setting to walk around and enjoy the ocean view.

2. The Monument of the African Renaissance

The Monument of the African Renaissance is an imposing bronze statue located on the Mamelles hill, west of Dakar. Inaugurated in 2010 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Senegal’s independence, this 49-meter-high work of art symbolizes the rebirth and unity of the African continent. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding area.

3. Theodore-Monod Museum

The Theodore-Monod Museum, formerly known as the Museum of African Art of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa, should be on the list of things-to-do for art and culture lovers. It houses a vast collection of art objects from all over West Africa, such as masks, sculptures, jewelry and musical instruments. Temporary exhibitions also offer the opportunity to discover the works of contemporary Senegalese and international artists.

4. Hann Forest and Zoological Park

The Hann Forest and Zoological Park is an animal park located about 10 kilometers from downtown Dakar. It is considered one of the main tourist sites of the city and attracts many visitors each year. The park covers more than 100 hectares and is mainly composed of a large baobab forest, where many African animals live, such as lions, crocodiles, monkeys, turtles, antelopes, zebras and giraffes.

It is an ideal place to spend a day with family or friends, to discover the African wildlife and learn more about the biodiversity of the region. It is a place of relaxation and recreation where you can immerse yourself in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city..

5. The Sandaga market

The Sandaga market is the largest and most animated market in Dakar. It offers a unique experience to discover the daily life of the inhabitants and to soak up the local atmosphere. You can find everything from fruits and vegetables to clothes, handicrafts and souvenirs. Don’t hesitate to bargain for the best prices and to taste the culinary specialties offered by the many street vendors.

6. The Mosque of the Divinity

The Mosque of the Divinity, located in the Ouakam district, is a superb example of modern Islamic architecture. It was built in 1997 on a rocky promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can admire the slender minarets, ornate domes and colorful mosaics that decorate the interior of the mosque. The nearby beach offers a pleasant setting to relax and enjoy the sea breeze after your visit.

7. The Village of Arts

Located in Yoff, the Village of Arts is a cultural center dedicated to promoting contemporary Senegalese art. It houses artists’ workshops, an exhibition gallery, and a residency space for creators. Visitors can meet the artists, discover their works, and participate in workshops to learn about African art techniques. The village also organizes cultural events such as film screenings, conferences, and concerts.

8. The Almadies district

The Almadies neighborhood, located at the western end of the Cap-Vert peninsula, is a popular leisure and relaxation spot for Dakar residents and tourists. Beyond being a residential area with numerous high-end real estate projects, there are many beaches, restaurants serving local and international specialties, as well as sailing and diving clubs. It is also the starting point for excursions to Ngor Island, a small natural paradise ideal for swimming and lazing around.

9. The Independence Square

The Independence Square is an iconic site in Dakar, located in the heart of the city. Surrounded by government buildings and historic monuments, it is considered one of the nerve centers of political and social life in Senegal. The square has great symbolic importance for Senegalese people, as it is where the proclamation of independence was made in 1960.

(WT-en) Kahuna613 at English Wikivoyage, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, it is a gathering place for political demonstrations, cultural events, and national celebrations. It is also a popular walking area for locals and tourists, with cafes, restaurants, and shops nearby.

10. The Dakar Corniche

Offering a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Dakar, it is considered one of the most iconic places in the city and a popular walking area for locals and tourists. Along the Corniche, one can find restaurants, hotels, shops, beaches, and tourist attractions, such as the lighthouse at the Pointe des Almadies.

The Corniche is also a lively nightlife area, with bars and nightclubs that attract a young and trendy crowd. The stunning ocean view and sea breeze make the Corniche Dakar a place of relaxation and rejuvenation, the perfect spot to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Our favorite: The Pink Lake

Among all these fascinating places, our favorite undoubtedly goes to Pink Lake.

The Pink Lake, located about thirty kilometers northeast of Dakar, is an exceptional natural site. Its water, whose color varies from pink to purple depending on the light and salt concentration, offers a breathtaking spectacle. Visitors can swim in the Pink Lake, whose salinity is higher than that of the Dead Sea or observe workers harvesting salt on its banks. 4×4 or quad excursions also allow discovering the sand dunes and surrounding villages.

In addition, the leisure activities offered around the lake allow for a day rich in discoveries and sensations. This unique natural site offers an unforgettable experience, both for the beauty of its colors and for the peaceful atmosphere that reigns there.

Dakar, the colorful capital of hospitality

Dakar is a city with many facets, where historical sites, cultural treasures and natural wonders come together to offer visitors an unforgettable travel experience. Whether you are passionate about history, art, nature or gastronomy, you will undoubtedly find something to satisfy your curiosity and desires in this dynamic and welcoming city. And don’t forget that Senegalese hospitality is legendary, you will be welcomed with a warm smile and unparalleled kindness. Dakarian people are proud of their city and will be happy to advise you on the best places to visit, dishes to taste and activities not to be missed.