Looking for reasons to visit Dakar this summer or sometime in the future.When you hear the word ‘Dakar’, what comes to mind, beach? art? music? food?… Look no further. Yes, these and lots more are the astonishing idiosyncrasies of this stunning West African city. Did you also know that Dakar is also an energetic and fast-paced city with incredible people, beautiful coastlines, great music and sumptuous cuisines? Indeed, a visit to Dakar is an experience of a lifetime; so if you are thinking of your next vacation spot this summer, Dakar is the way to go. Still not convinced? Here are my 6 reasons to visit Dakar and why it should skyrocket to the top of your traveling list this summer.
1. The Goree Island Experience
A visit to Goree island is a journey back in time as tourists are treated to a colourful but painful memory of the slave trade era. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the expansive Goree island presents an array of monuments such as House of Slaves, La Maison des Esclaves, historic forts, colonial buildings and museums. It’s a great site for photo ops as well as to appreciate Africa’s amazing journey from slave trade to civilization.
2. Check out Africa’s Tallest Monument
Standing at a gigantic height of 160 feet in Dakar is the African Renaissance Monument. Bigger and taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty, this is one huge monument whose presence looms large over its host city. The statue was unveiled in 2010 to mark Senegal’s 50 years of independence. The 17million-pound worth bronze statue is perched atop a hill overlooking the ocean and can be accessed via a row of steps built from the base of the hill to the top.
3. Unbelievable Sight of Animals on the Streets
Despite been a metropolitan city, Dakar’s streets play hosts to a weird combination of animals and machines. For instance, visitors to the city will be thrilled to see both a horse-drawn cart and a luxury car grinding to a halt and standing side by side at a red traffic light. Don’t be surprised to see a shepherd and his herd of cattle or goats crossing the road as you drive along. It’s a common but eerie sight in Dakar.
4. A Night at Soumbedioune
Soumbedioune is a daily make-shift fish market which comes alive as the dusk sets on Dakar’s coastlines. As many as twenty fish vendors are always on standby every other night to sell their wood-fired grills at incredibly low prices to their fish-loving patrons. A visit to this place is a must for every Dakar tourist; the experience is one that will linger on your taste buds for a very long time. Range of delicacies to enjoy includes mullet, grouper, hogfish, lobsters, sea urchins, shrimps, porgy, sailfish, seabream, red snapper and crabs.
5. Enjoy the Best of Music, Dance and Booze
If you don’t drink, ignore the last part of the header; all three are not mutually exclusive. To say Dakar is West Africa’s entertainment capital is simply stating the obvious. Each night comes alive with electrifying performances from outstanding local and international artistes such as Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal and Didier Awadi, among others. For a city that thrives on entertainment, there’s no better place to spend summer. Tourists should however take note that most shows begin well after midnight, so a short nap before heading out will come in handy. Most shows drag on into the wee hours of the morning.
6. The Sokhamon Experience
Still not convinced about Dakar? Not to worry, the Sokhamon experience should do the magic. Now close your eyes. Imagine yourself on a soft-cushioned rocking bamboo chair, holding a glass of wine and listening to soft music as you gaze into the gentle waves of the sea. Yes, there you go! That is simply a snapshot of what awaits you at Hotel Sokhamon, a magnificent summer getaway, a hidden oasis, perched by the edge of the sea. Get ready to be overwhelmed with unbeatable comfort, serenity and ambience in this Dakar summer paradise. By the time you’re done, leaving will surely be an uphill task. You’ve got our word on this. Enjoy!
Sam Adeleke is a Writer and Graphic Designer. He has a passion for creating value by telling stories through the written and spoken word as well as still and motion pictures.