Archive for Senegal
We are often asked what sights we think are worth seeing, which places we found interesting and what would we recommend doing. These are our ideas about places to visit in Senegal.
The details may change so we suggest you check with a good guide book. We prefer the “Rough Guide” series because they are well written and kept up to date. You can get more information on www.roughguides.com
Chamber of Commerce and the new covered Market, Dakar
Dakar is a busy and prosperous city with strong French influences. There are many good hotels and several excellent restaurants. A feature of Dakar is the pastry and tea shops serving cream cakes and chocolate confections. The IFAN museum (Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noir) is a well laid out museum with fascinating displays. Unfortunately the explanations are not in English and this somewhat detracts from its usefulness.
Outside the Presidential Palace on Avenue Senghor guards in red tunics mount a ceremonial presence. On the Western Corniche there is a big craft market and artisans village. It’s worth seeing the woodcarving and handcrafts here.
Island of Goree
Nestling in the south Atlantic just off Dakar the island of Goree is a wonderful place to chill out. The town on the island was built by the French about 150 years ago and the old colonial buildings and cobbled streets retain their charm. It is a popular day trip destination for tourists and for the people of Dakar who relax there at the weekends.
The many visitors attract the inevitable souvenir stalls and there are many cafés and restaurants. A pleasant walk from the beach up the well constructed cliff path takes you past local artists and jewellery makers’ stalls until the summit is reached. The commanding view across the ocean to Dakar makes it clear why the now abandoned naval guns were sited here.
Naval guns on the cliffs. Fort converted into a museum
Back near the beach a former Napoleonic fort now houses a small but interesting museum.
Slave house museum
One of the attractions for tourists is a merchant’s house which has brandy cellars. This has been converted into a small museum dedicated to slavery and is popularly known as the “Slave House”. The real charm of Goree however emerges after the last of the half hourly ferries leaves the jetty. Then a quiet and peace descends on the island. There are a few small family run hotels with shuttered windows and four poster beds. These also boast atmospheric restaurants serving good food. An evening stroll along the small beach, chatting occasionally to the locals relaxing after a busy day, followed by an agreeable meal makes Goree a place worth visiting.
Ferries leave from the Eastern Corniche in Dakar every half hour.
Once a stopping place for transatlantic seaplanes flying from Paris to South America St Louis exudes an air of past colonial importance. Now a bit dusty and decrepit the town is friendly and laid back. Without the energy and hassle of Dakar St Louis has an attraction all of its own.
Whether strolling along the colonial streets, or sitting in a horse drawn buggy, the pastel painted French style shop houses with iron balconies please the eye. In the evening some restaurants offer St Louis jazz with African drumming as an accompaniment to good food. The town is in the north of Senegal on an island in the River Senegal where it meets the Ocean.
Fishing village. Dried shark and sting ray on the beach
Colourful street near the fishing village.
A bustling fishing village just outside the town offers interesting sights, sounds and smells to the visitor. Here shark fins and stingrays are laid out to dry, for export to Ghana.