Things to do in Senegal
When travelling around the beautiful country, make sure to stop at some of these top Senegal attractions within the colourful land:
1. Gorée Island
This car-free island is situated just off the coast of Senegal’s busy capital city, Dakar. Known for its role in the 15th-19th century Atlantic slave trade, this island was the center of the Europeans lust for control over the slave trade.
Visit the island to really delve deep into the history of Senegal.
2. Lake Retba
Also known as the Lac Rose, this lake lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal. Named for its pink waters caused by Dunaliella Salina Algae, as well as its high salt content.
Less than an hour away from Dakar, this unusual lake will surely catch the unsuspecting visitor’s eye because of its unusual yet vivid pink colour.
3. Îles de la Madeleine
Locals believed earlier that these islands were possessed by evil spirits and therefore uninhabited. No one has tried to settle there since.
Immaculate bird, fish and plant life can be seen on these islands, as well as steep cliffs carved by the sea over millions of years.
4. Our Lady Victories Cathedral, Dakar
Also known as the Cathedral of Dakar. The sanctuary was built on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery, whose land was given to the church from the government. The cathedral was blessed by Cardinal Jean Verdier, archbishop of Paris. The funeral of former president, Léopold Senghor, was performed in this church in 2001.
5. Faidherbe Bridge
A road bridge over the Senegal River linking the mainland of Senegal to the city of Saint-Louis, this bridge serves as a century old emblem of Senegal’s former colonial riverside capital. The bridge carries vehicles as well as foot traffic, it is half a kilometer long and weighs over 1.5 ton.
The Faidherbe Bridge is said to be the emblem and jewel of Saint Louis.
6. Lompoul Desert
This desert is characterized by its orange sand dunes, forming a landscape remarkably similar to that of the Sahara desert. Named after the nearby village Lompoul, this desert is one of Senegal’s popular tourist attractions.
7. Dindefelo Falls
Located in the town of Dindefelo, in Southeast Senegal. The falls are roughly 100 meters high. The Park area forms part of the larger Niokolo-Koba National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere world heritage site. UNESCO estimates the annual tourist visits to the falls in the thousands.
8. Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Located on the Southeast bank of the Senegal River. This sanctuary provides a range of wetland habitats which are extremely popular with migrating birds, many of which have just crossed the Sahara. The most visible birds here are pelicans and flamingos. A wide range of wildlife can also be found in the park, which is also a designated World Heritage Site.
9. African Renaissance Monument
If you are travelling within Dakar, this cannot be missed! This 49 meter tall bronze statue is located on top of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Originally scheduled for completion in December 2009, delays stretched into early 2010, and the formal dedication happened on 4 April 2010, Senegal’s “National Day”, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence from France. This statue is the tallest statue in Africa.
10. IFAN Museum of African Arts
This is one of the oldest art museums in West Africa. It is one of the most esteemed centers for the study of African culture and part of the Cheikh Anta Diop University. As one of the essential cultural research centers of the colonies of French West Africa, it contains important collections from across Francophone Africa. This museum is a regular location used in the Dakar Biennale exhibition, showing art by contemporary African and diaspora artists.