10 Must Visit Attractions in Senegal
Come with Taji Mag on a trip to Senegal in West Africa. It’s a new year and I know a lot of us have “travel” on our list of New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re looking at an international destination, I highly recommend checking out a trip with Black-Owned Gooney Bee Yogi Travels (MyBlackAsana.com). The owner, Ngone Mbaye, is a Senegalese, renaissance woman, certified yogi, Co-Founder & Studio Manager of Greene Moments, and artist.
Let’s get into 10 must-visit attractions in Senegal (with price points).
- Gorèe Island $ requires your passport to visit. Go early to catch the ferry. Expect to spend at least 2 hours so you’re not rushing.
- Museum of Black Civilizations $ If you love contemporary art, you must check out this museum. Located in Dakar, it has three floors of beautiful ancient and contemporary artwork.
- Lompoul Desert $$ highly suggest as an overnight trip. However, keep in mind—the French took the land and may be tearing down the resort. Outdoor shower, beautiful tent. Camel rides & sand surfing. Delicious meals included. Limited wifi/service. Approximately 4 hours from Dakar
- Baobab Tree $ Sine Saloum + Village. This Baobab tree is the largest in the world and the second oldest (after Kenya). You can hire a guide to discuss the history of the tree and take you inside. Be warned—there are bats living inside, but they pretty much just chilled while we stood around talking. You will want to wear a hat as you stand below them though. There are lots of shops right outside the tree too.
- The Bandia Wildlife Reserve $$ I was absolutely blown away by this place. Some refer to it as the “crown jewel” of Senegal. This reserve
- Village Des Arts $ This is a funky artist collective with a gallery. It is free and artists have their work for sale. You may even catch an exhibition. It is a great place to meet artists and learn about local culture. You won’t find a lot of artists who speak English here and there may not be wifi access for an online translator service, but you could easily spend a couple of hours perusing art and visiting artist studios. There is a whitewall gallery as well as a cafe.
- Terrou-Bi Resort $$$ In addition to their amazing view and airport shuttle for guests, they also have a buffet-style brunch that you can visit whether you’re a guest or not. There are great vibes and some celebrity sightings. It’s close to lots of attractions and the beach is just a few steps away.
- The Renaissance Monument $ There is a lot of controversy surrounding this monument, but it is quite a sight to see. Be warned, there are a LOT of steps to reach the top. And you’ll need to pay for parking if you want to be close. Once you get to the top there is a garden, a gorgeous view of Dakar’s skyline, and lots of places to take photos. Inside the actual monument there is an entire museum. While visiting the monument tis free, going inside the museum for the tour (and taking a very narrow elevator to the top of the monument) has a small cost.
- Cafe Lulu $$ Senegalese tea, arts & wares are just a few of the lovely things you’ll see here. Cafe Lulu is a nice stop on your way through Dakar. Their wifi is strong and there’s a great atmosphere. It is the perfect place to shop without the hassle. It tends to be a bit more expensive than the shops on the street, but it’s worth it. Lots of local artists and the food is great. Customer service was some of the best I experienced anywhere and the space was always bright and inviting. I visited three times during my trip.
- MagicLand $$ This is a great place to visit if you’re traveling with children. MagicLand includes a movie theater and it is right on the beach.
Senegal is a beautiful country.
While being a fluent Wolof or French speaker is recommended, you can still get by with the right local guide. Compared to many parts of the US, Senegal is very safe. Personally, I traveled alone at night there and didn’t speak the language. Senegal has a large Muslim population and it is common to greet someone by saying “As salaam alaikum” which is an Arabic greeting meaning “Peace be unto you.”
Your best bet is to travel to Senegal between Late November and mid-January. October to May is the dry season and June to September is the rainy season. Plus the flights around Thanksgiving are sometimes less than $1,000 if you buy your tickets well in advance. Keep in mind that you’ll need to exchange your money for CFAs and American chargers won’t work so you’ll need a universal converter–you can get a good one for about $20-25.
Have fun and tag @TajiMagazine when you visit Senegal!