Top attractions in Dakar

Dakar, Senegal
A view of a section of Dakar. PHOTO/FILE
Dakar is the capital city of Senegal and the westernmost city on the African mainland.

It is home to mosques, beaches, cliff walks and museums and is rich in cultural artefacts including clothing, drums, carvings and tools.

The people of Senegal are known for their hospitality and are always friendly and ready to offer a helping hand.

You can get into and leave Dakar at any time of day or night since there are many flights to and from other African cities such as Nairobi, Lagos, Tunis, Abidjan, Addis Ababa just to name a few.

Dakar has a fairly dependable bus system that can be used to get around to the major attractions in the city. Taxis are also available everywhere and are more safe and cheaper. You have to negotiate and bargain the fare before starting the trip.

Major tourist attractions in Dakar

IFAN Museum of African Arts
It is one of the oldest art museums in West Africa and a prestigious cultural research centre focusing on the colonies of French West Africa.

Its main attractions consist of aspects of traditional life such as ancient weaponry, tapestry, musical instruments, clothes and masks.

Goree Island
The island is home to historic forts and museums including the landmark House of Slaves Museum.

This is where slaves and their traders lived before being shipped across the Atlantic to their destination. It has interesting colonial architecture despite its awful past.

Hann Park and Zoo
The park is green and leafy throughout the year and features a wide variety of Senegalese plant life, a swamp, over 130 animals and an intriguing bird site.

Animals such as lions, monkeys and chimps are locked up in cages where you can get an up close view and even feed the animals.

Colourful Markets
Markets such as Marche HLM, Marche Sandaga and Kermel Market are good shopping spots where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, jewellery, fabrics and assorted crafts from different ethnic groups.

The best time to shop are morning hours when the markets are less crowded.

The night life in Dakar especially in terms of music is second to none. The city has one of west Africa’s most diverse music scenes featuring hip hop, reggae, jazz and mbalax (the local modern music).

Many of Dakar’s clubs are open until dawn and its a common practice for the young revellers to dance until 6 or 7 in the morning.

The best areas are in Ngor and Les Almadies while Thiossanee is the best club for live mbalax.
There is a wide selection of hotels to choose including Radisson Blu Hotel, Faarid Hotel Restaurant Dakar, Hotel Al Baraka, Rysara Hotel and the Hotel du Phare Les Mamelles.