6 Must-try experiences in wild Senegal

Posted on 27 October 2023 By Tsoku Maela

Senegal proved to be one of the most untamed African countries. Whether it was the bustling city of Dakar or its remote villages, Senegal offers a plethora of exhilarating activities.

Take a dip in a mesmerizing pink lake, wander through picturesque sand dunes, or pay a visit to an island adorned with countless sea shells. Senegal boasts truly exceptional experiences for those adventurous souls who are willing to veer off the conventional path.

Here are 6 must-try experiences in Senegal.

Conquer the summit of Western Africa’s grandest monument

The African Renaissance monument stands as an awe-inspiring sight that has left many speechless. This colossal sculpture captures the image of a man, woman, and child held high in the air. Significantly, this monument symbolizes the triumph of Africa’s liberation from racism, ignorance, and hatred, resonating with the entire continent.

African Renaissance Monument, a 49-meter tall bronze statue of a man, woman and child, in Dakar, Senegal

This towering bronze statue soars to an impressive height of 49 meters and graces the pinnacle of one of the twin hills known as “Collines des Mamelles” in the capital city of Dakar. Not only can you marvel at it from the outside, but you can also embark on an exhilarating climb to the summit. Ascending to the top rewards you with unparalleled panoramic views of Dakar.

Plunge into the enchantment of a Pink Lake

Have you ever heard about the mesmerizing phenomenon of pink lakes? Surprisingly, Senegal is home to one of these unique natural wonders located in close proximity to the capital.

Lake Retba or Lac Rose, north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, northeast of Dakar

Lake Retba, situated a mere 30-minute drive from Dakar along the Atlantic coast, beckons with its ethereal beauty. This expansive lake offers a variety of ways to revel in its splendour.

Take on a journey to an island steeped in the legacy of the African slave trade

Goree Island, just beyond Dakar, stands as a place of immense historical significance in Senegal. With a short ferry ride separating it from the capital, it offers an easily accessible destination for a few hours or even a full-day excursion.

Ile de Goree Island, one of the earliest European settlements in Western Africa, Dakar, Senegal

Goree Island carries a sombre past, notably hosting the infamous “house of slaves.” Once a pivotal hub of the Atlantic Slave Trade, it now stands as a museum, preserving the island’s historical narrative for generations to come.

However, Goree Island is more than just a testament to slavery. It pulsates with vibrant culture, showcasing a kaleidoscope of colourful houses, talented artisans, and bustling local craft markets. As a popular day trip from Dakar, it attracts visitors seeking moments of tranquillity, with families leisurely swimming in the turquoise water and enjoying a laid-back retreat.

Go on a pilgrimage to a sacred city

Situated east of Dakar and south of St. Louis, Touba stands as a city steeped in spirituality, privately governed by a revered religious leader. It is home to the country’s most awe-inspiring mosque, radiating a sense of magnificence that is truly unparalleled. Without a doubt, exploring Touba is an extraordinary and soul-stirring highlight of any trip to Senegal.

The Great Mosque of Touba in Senegal

It is important to recognize that Touba is not a typical tourist destination; it is exclusively revered as a sacred city. To enter the mosque, visitors must adhere to strict dress code requirements, covering themselves from head to toe, and leaving their shoes at the gate outside. Keep in mind that Touba lacks hotels and credit cards are not accepted in the area. Nonetheless, the spiritual journey and the extraordinary atmosphere make Touba a profoundly unique and cherished experience for those seeking a deeper connection with Senegal’s religious heritage.

Serene journey through the Mangroves

Discover yet another magnificent location in Senegal where you can immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature and revel in its lush greenery. Delta du Saloum, an expansive nature reserve spanning over 190 000 acres, awaits your arrival.

Sail in the mangrove of Senegal – Sinesaloum

This national park, resembling an island, boasts a remarkable array of flora, fauna, and majestic Baobab trees. To fully appreciate its beauty, consider hiring a boat and embarking on a captivating tour that takes you sailing through the enchanting mangroves. Let the gentle breeze guide you as you admire the captivating scenery and immerse yourself in the serenity of this breathtaking natural wonder.

Seafaring voyage to Casamance

Aerial view of the road bridge over Casamance river in Ziguinchor, Senegal, Africa during a sunset. Drone picture looking towards the city above the driving platform.

Casamance, renowned for its unspoiled beaches, dense forests, and meandering mangrove networks, beckons travellers seeking natural beauty and serenity. Situated in the southernmost region of Senegal, reaching this idyllic destination can be accomplished by air travel or through an overnight ferry journey from Dakar to Ziguinchor.

Pictures: Getty Images

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