A highly diverse city, Dakar reveals a mix of African, European and Middle Eastern influences that are perhaps most apparent in the cuisine and nightlife. You’ll find restaurants serving local seafood cooked French-style, exquisite street food in unexpected places and locals sipping Moroccan mint tea in cafes. In short, there is something for every palate.
The architecture also varies widely, from stately cathedrals to majestic mosques, with plenty of colonial buildings converted into museums, hotels and restaurants.
In essence, Dakar is a cultural melting pot. There’s the Villages des Arts, which focuses on showcasing the work of local artists; as well as the markets of Medina, a neighbourhood that also boasts the impressive Grande Mosquée de Dakar. In the evenings, immerse yourself in Dakar’s vibrant nightlife scene, a mix of cool, low-key lounges and famous venues. Thoissane, for example, owned by musician and singer Youssou N’Dour, is known throughout the country as the best place to experience Senegalese music.
Don’t book a flight to Dakar without visiting the coast. As you’d expect from a city on a peninsula, there are wonderful bays and beaches to choose from. If you want to experience true seclusion, go island hopping. Ngor Island, just off the coast of Dakar, is a tiny stretch of land that’s ideal for getting away from it all. Check into a surf lodge and spend your days catching waves, and your evenings tucking into some tasty fish fresh off the boat.