Dakar Travel Guide
Dakar © Jeff Attaway
Situated on the tip of the Cape Verde
Peninsula in western Senegal, Dakar is a surprisingly lively and
bustling capital. It boasts luxurious hotels, beaches and
watersports, as well as casinos, a wide range of restaurants and an
active nightlife scene. This modern metro is also one of the
busiest ports for cruise ships in Africa.
Dakar has always been the capital city of
the country, including during the three centuries of French
colonialism and also since independence in 1960. The country has
retained strong ties with France, with strong French influence
still visible in the architecture of the city, where well-preserved
colonial buildings, the monumental government house and café
terraces stand testimony to its past.
For history enthusiasts, Gorée
Island, a UNESCO Historical Monument, is a must-see. Here, the
painful and violent truths of Senegal's slave trade past comes
alive in 'La Maison des Enclaves' with its cells, shackles and
slave dealers' apartments. There are also the many museums housed
in former slave houses, and the forts built to protect the
The architecture in central Dakar is an
attraction in itself; there are some beautiful buildings in and
around the city, including the city's cathedral and grand mosque.
However, the most famous site in Dakar is the controversial African
Renaissance Monument, a massive sculpture representing Africa's
emergence from slavery and colonialism.
Another great way to enjoy an afternoon in
Dakar is by browsing the busy markets or having a picnic in one of
the beautiful parks. Hann Park and Zoo is a great place to take the
kids, and the astonishing colours of Lake Retba make for a
beautiful and intriguing sight for visitors of all ages.
Dakar is a mixture of the old and the new,
retaining its traditional values while also developing into the
country's main economic hub. Those interested in the history of the
region will not be disappointed, as it actively engages and
explores its history under slavery and colonial oppression.