Welcome to the home of ‘teranga’.
Welcome to my favourite African country.
Welcome to Sénégal!
This visual travel guide will help you plan where to sleep, eat and explore in mainland Africa’s westernmost country. Senegal’s peninsula-shaped capital, Dakar, is ranks high up on my top travel destinations on the continent.
Mirroring the unique Senegalese spirit, Dakar’s African Renaissance Monument symbolises a new era. African renewal culturally, politically and economically with revitalised pride and consciousness. At the same time, Senegal is a majority Muslim country. The religious aspect of the country is one that interests me most. With my Somali family background, there are many aspects that feel familiar. I think part of the reason why I love Senegal so much is because it makes me dream of what Somalia could look like. Still, Senegal feels strangely unique with its perfect mix of traditionally Senegalese, West African and Islamic customs and traditions.
The Route de la Corniche, the city’s oceanfront road, is more than just a street. To me, it’s the beating heart of Dakar, or perhaps better described as Dakar’s coronary artery that sustains and encapsulates the city’s unique spirit and vibrant energy. Dakar’s lifeblood. Take a stroll along the road in the late afternoon hours and you’ll see a myriad of people: a group of Nike-clad hijabi women out on a run, ripped wrestlers flexing their muscles during beachside practice and Senegalese of all ages making use of the public gym equipment.
When the Les Mamelles Lighthouse flashes every 5 seconds, ships know they have reached mainland Africa’s westernmost point. ‘Setting sail’ from downtown Dakar, it only takes a 30-minute ferry ride to escape the bustling city and to reach the calm safe haven that is Gorée Island. Do prepare. There’s a reason I call it hauntingly beautiful. Dakar’s Île de Gorée has a dark and chilling past. Nestled between scenic lanes (without cars in sight), colourful buildings and mesmerising cliff ocean views, lies the Maison des Esclaves, House of Slaves, with its symbolic “Door of No Return” as a powerful signpost and last physical connection of enslaved Africans who were forcibly taken from the continent.
When you google photos of Lake Retba - also known as Lac Rose or The Pink Lake - and see the dazzling pink colour, your fingers will be twitching to hit “book” on that Senegal flight ticket straight away.
Get inspired by this visual travel guide to plan your trip...