Senegal Travel Guide
Dakar, the capital, has an attractive cosmopolitan mix and lively buzz to it whereas the rest of the country possesses a more tranquil ambience with fascinating culture and history. The heart and soul of Dakar is in and around Place de l’Independence where all the best shops, restaurants, bars and clubs can be found. At the tail end of it, the largest, most colourful and bustling market in Africa known as Marche Sandaga, a must see for any market moll. However, perhaps Dakar is best known for its outstanding live music scene. Senegalese music has grown in popularity in recent years and has busted out of the boundaries of western Africa. Within city limits music is varied and passionate. Step into any number of live music venues and listen to some of the best musicians around, whether it be jazz, steel bands or traditional African pop – Dakar has something for even the most discriminating ear. The one downside to Dakar is the hustlers and hasslers that are usually out in full force, if you can handle them – you will fall in love with the city.
If Dakar leaves you beckoning for more city excitement make your way to northern Senegal to the charming city of St. Louis. With its strong French influence, outstanding music scene and fascinating colonial architecture, St.Louis often appears on the Sengalese itinerary, especially if you’re a jazz fan. Every year in May St.Louis celebrates its love of the musical form that has been alive and well in the city since the 1940’s at the St. Louis International Jazz Festival. Like most of West Africa, Senegal is a product of French colonization and it is probably most evident in St. Louis, Africa’s first French settlement. The city will leave you with memories of one of the most culturally unique cities in Africa.
Of course there is a lot more to Senegal than its cities. With six national parks, coastal lagoons, woodlands, mangroves, a lush inland delta and notable bird sanctuaries, Senegal is a nature lovers haven. Niokol-Koba, Senegal’s largest park, is the most admired among visitors with the largest range of animals and birds. Other popular parks include Basse Casamance, the biosphere reserve Samba Dia and Djoudj, known for its spectacular birdlife. However, that is barely skimming the surface. Senegal is blessed with some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Western Africa including many secluded beaches to get away from it all.
From elaborate mosques to traditional architecture, bustling markets to serene beaches, lively cities to quiet villages - whichever way you look at it, Senegal delivers!
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