M’Bour is possibly the most important tourism destination in Senegal. About 80km south of Dakar, the port city lies on the Petite Côte of the Atlantic Ocean and is a part of the Thies Region. Fishing, peanut processing and tourism are the main industries in the city.
M’Bour is also a major transportation point. At the M’Bour bus station, there are buses, sept-places and private cars to different parts of the country.
M’Bour comprises of M’Bour town, Saly and La Somone. Saly which is about the most famous is a popular beach resort and a major tourist hub. There are several hotels and places to stay offering varying services from cheap to boutique and luxury. Night life in M’Bour is vibrant and it starts pretty late from about 23:30hrs. There are bars, lounges, discotheques and nightclubs around Bougainvillea area in Saly. Taxis are available 24hrs to take you back and forth from there.
La Somone is a smaller beach resort about 2km from Saly. It offers a hosts of activities on the Lagune Somone and the beach. There is also a cultural village on the other side of the lagoon while there are several birdlife species.
M’Bour, made up of M’Bour, Saly and Somone has its own unique set of attractions. There are really no outlandish buildings or historical landmarks. However, Hotel de Cocobay de Saly is a lovely beach resort with an exquisite restaurant on the sea. Apart from the beautiful beaches, la Reserve de la Somone is on Lagune Somone, a serene body of water with a couple of islets, and it is a ‘Must See.’
At the other bank of the lagoon is a cultural village, introduced to you from afar by the sound of Djembe drums. Down in M’Bour town, you can see the Complexe Frigorifique de M’Bour where fish is iced, M’Bour being a major fishing port. The mosque can be seen along the main road, while the M’Bour cathedral is not far from the market. Further away on the outskirts is La Reserve de Bandia which is definite ‘Must See.’
It is not unusual to see bread or croissant, or both as part of a menu. This is due to the French influence in the country. With an extensive stretch of the Atlantic Coast, fish and other seafood play major parts in the cuisine. Chicken, beef, lamb, egg and peanuts are also important component of a good meal, often combined with rice, sweet potato, or lentils. Thiéboudienne or ceebu jen is the national dish and it is basically stuffed fish with herbs, served on a bed of rice and vegetable. The name is Wolof and it means literally, rice of fish. The meat variant is known as ceebu yap, which ranks second in terms of preference. There is also ceebu guinaar, a chicken variant and ceebu guerté based on peanuts. Other popular dishes include yassa, maafe, and baasi-salté among others. Whether in Saly, Somone, or M’Bour you can get a good meal at several classy restaurants, hotels, beachfront stalls, and other eating outlets according to your taste and budget. However, you will not find pork or bacon except at the intercontinental outlets, due to the country’s dominant Muslim population.
For drinks, there are a couple of local delights like bissap made from hibiscus plant. Ginger beer and a juice made from the fruit of the baobab tree, which the locals refer to as monkey breadfruit is also a favorite; while other fruit juices like orange, mango, etc. are common. Consumption of alcohol is not encouraged among the Muslim population, but good wine and spirits are available at the bars, hotels, nightclubs and restaurants.