10 Reasons To Visit Senegal

For many travelers, Senegal is their intro to West African culture. From the dust covered streets of Dakar to the tropical mangroves of Casamance, the country packs an impressive array of landscapes and attractions into a relatively small area.  Whether you are a history or nature buff, here are 10 reasons to visit Senegal.

Goree Island

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1. Goree Island

This beautiful island off the shore of Dakar has a dark past and was the center of the West African slave trade. It is a popular pilgrimage spot for people of the African diaspora. If you can’t make it, you can take a virtual visit to the island here.

Petite Cote

Photo courtesy of senegalie.wifeo.com

2. Petite Cote

This stretch of beach is one of the most popular places in the country to visit. Tradewinds keep the dazzling white beaches cooler than spots farther inland, and the peaceful surrounds make a great side trip from Dakar.

Saint Louis Jazz Festival

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3. Saint-Louis Jazz Festival

This decades-old festival is one of the most important in Africa. Jazz first became popular in Senegal in the 1930s when records from Cuba were aired on the radio. The northern coastal town of Saint Louis, which used to be the capital of Senegal, has a charming colonial atmosphere.

Djoudj

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4. Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

Located about 60km north of Saint-Louis, this park is the third largest ornithological park in the world. The site is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is a sanctuary for 1.5 million birds.

casamance

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5. Casamance

Separated from Senegal by Gambia, this tropical region has experiences a bitter low-level civil war for the past three decades, so it’s best to check travel advisories before you go. Despite the sporadic flare-ups, it’s still worth seeing for the uninhabited beaches and giant mangrove lagoons.

Thiossane

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6. Thiossane, Youssou N’Dour’s Nightclub

The famous artist’s nightclub, Thiossane (pronounced cho-san) is a prime nightlife spot in the bustling center of Dakar. N’Dour performs his famous mbalax music from 2am every Saturday.

Le Monument de la Renaissance africaine

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7. Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine

Larger than the Statue of Liberty and completed in 2010, this 49-foot bronze monolith is a beacon of hope for Africa. If you can’t make it all the way up the steps, the monument can be easily seen on the Dakar skyline, and also when flying into and out of the airport.

Lac Rose Senegal

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8.  Lac Rose

The water in this salt lake often appears bright pink due to the presence of Dunaliella salina algae. It is a popular spot for swimming or boating (in a pirogue, above) through the other-worldly waters. The lake is currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Langue de Barbarie

Photo courtesy of ho visto nina volare / flickr

9. Langue de Barbarie

Home to ruins, pelicans, and tortoises, this national park is a fantastic place to see birds if you can’t make it all the way to Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary. The park is only 18km south of Saint-Louis and makes a quick excursion.

Stone Circles Senegal

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10. Sine Ngayene and the Wanar Stone Circles

While archaeologists aren’t sure when these were built, they believe they could date as far back as 300 B.C. There are 52 stone circles in Sine Ngayene and 1102 carved stones. It is thought that the area was used as burial sites.

Related content on AFKTravel:

Why You Should Visit Senegal’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
10 Festivals In Senegal That You Should Know About
10 Natural Attractions In Senegal That You Have To Visit


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