Must Do's in Dakar
Hello again, from Senegal!
As I told you, I have been in Dakar for a while and of course, I have not been sitting still.
Today, I will share with you 5 cool things, you should definitely check out when you are in town. First of all, I want to emphasize that there is so much more you can do in Dakar. So yes, it was quite hard to make this shortlist of just 5 things. However, it did not stop me, let’s go!
Gorée is a small island on the coast of Dakar. Gorée was used during the transatlantic slave trade. From the 15th until the 19th century, Gorée was the biggest center for the slave trade.
Today, the island is one of the most popular touristic places and since 1978 one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. I love visiting Gorée Island. I definitely love the rich history of the island and its vibe. All around the island, you can learn about the Senegalese history and black history in
general. Furthermore, you can also learn about important figures of Senegalese history. I can
wander around the island all day and take some colorful pictures. If not, Gorée island is perfect for swimming, relaxing and eating some grilled fish. You can also find local market stalls where you can buy souvenirs, clothing and there are even artists that sell their paintings. Gorée is great to spend all day, or just the afternoon, but make sure you catch the ferry on time!
HOUSE OF SLAVES
La Maison des Esclaves, or the House of Slaves, has such a significance for Gorée Island. This is
the place where the slaves used to be held prisoner during the slave trade. According to UNESCO,
there were more than 20 million slaves shipped off of Gorée Island. At the Maison des Esclaves,
you can, for example, see the different chambers where men, women and children were held
captive. Other than that, you can visit the Museum, get a tour and get an idea of what it would
have been like. Last but not least, there’s the door of no return, which looks out at the ocean. I think it is important to visit Gorée and the House of Slaves. What happened in the past cannot be
changed, but it is helpful to get to know a part of the history of the country you’re visiting.
N'GOR BEACH & ISLAND
The next island on my list is N’gor and what I love is that you can visit the island in a local boat,
also known as a pirogue. So, when you are in Dakar, you go to the neighborhood N’gor. On the
beach, you can take a pirogue to the island Ngor. Of course, it is also possible to just stay at the
beach and spend the day there. Moreover, the island is known as Senegal’s artistic island. Local
artists have been moving to N’gor in the past decade and they have built their own artistic
culture. Other than that, it is a great place for surfers to catch some waves. On the island itself,
there are different beaches where you can go swimming or relaxing. In the late afternoon, you
can eat fresh fish off the grill. In the summer, it is nice to go to N’gor for the day.
THE MONUMENT OF THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE
The Monument of the African Renaissance is a place you can simply not mis during your stay in
Dakar. The bronze statue is almost 50 meters high and displays an African family consisting of a
mother and father with their child. The child is actually being held by his father and he is pointing to the Atlantic Ocean. This statue was built because Senegal celebrated 50 years of independence in 2010. This year was my first time in Senegal in a long while, so it was definitely memorable for me. What I love most about it is that the monument is super large. Not only is it 50 meters high, it is also on top of a height of almost 100 meters. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually go inside the Monument. Inside, there is a whole museum dedicated to Black History. There is more than enough to learn about historic icons of African descent. And as an extra, you can find art pieces from all over the world.
SHOPPING AT SEA PLAZA
Of course, this list cannot miss any shopping opportunities. I think Sea Plaza is a nice place to
quietly walk around and shop. Not only that, Sea Plaza offers so many different things to do. For
example, you can go to the cinema next to it, there is a bowling alley that sometimes organizes
parties. You can get some nice ice cream at Xocco and there’s a lot more. There are a lot of
restaurants where you can have a meeting, or get some work done. I really love to stroll through
the mall, go to the supermarket, check out some clothes at Mango or Jennyfer’s, some shoes at
Aldo etc. By the way, Sea Plaza also offers a lot of activities for children.