10 things to see absolutely in Dakar Senegal

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Dakar is the capital of Senegal, a city where tourism, economy, politics, art, markets and poverty are concentrated. Visiting Dakar can be considered an adventure precisely because of its being a mixed environment to be discovered. Read below what the 10 things to see absolutely in Dakar!


  1. Independence Square
  2. Great Mosque of Dakar
  3. Monument to the African Renaissance
  4. Institut Français du Sénégal
  5. Marché Kermel
  6. IFAN Museum
  7. Leopold Sedar Senghor Museum
  8. Gorée Island
  9. House of the Slaves
  10. Lake Retba
  11. Plan your trip: interactive map + info on flights, hotels and tours
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Independence Square

Independence Square is considered the most important square in Dakar, an excellent starting point for visiting the city. It is located on the edge of the historic center, close to everything, and has the appearance of a small garden. From here all buses pass to move you to the main neighboring areas.

  • it is located in the east of the center of Dakar, easily reachable on foot or by taxi from anywhere in the city. - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

2 - Grand Mosque of Dakar

The Grand Mosque of Dakar is a must-see site for anyone visiting this chaotic city. It is known to be one of the largest mosques in the Muslim world, but besides the size, its colors and perfection will amaze you.

  • it is located a bit far from the historic center, but can be reached in a few minutes by opting for a taxi. - Get directions
  • 8 pm (CET)
  • free

3 - Monument to the African Renaissance

A mighty, huge and astonishing 49-meter bronze statue, wanted by President Abdoulaye Wade as a symbol of the rebirth of Africans. This statue in fact represents a family that rises and is reborn, looking towards the Atlantic Ocean as a sign of a new life.

  • it is a bit out of the way to be reached on foot, but you can get there in a few minutes by opting for a taxi. - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

4 - Institut Français du Sénégal

The French Institute can be considered as an island of peace in the midst of the chaos of the city. It is an artistic and cultural center where artists of all kinds go to seek inspiration and give vent to their imagination. Upon entering this institute you will breathe a harmonious air and your eyes will seeworks of art of all kinds and levels!

  • it is located in the historic center of Dakar so it can be easily reached on foot. - Get directions
  • 8 pm (CET)
  • free

5 - Marché Kermel

A typical African market, colorful and noisy, it is a must if you have chosen to visit Senegal! In Dakar, Kermel is one of the main markets in the entire city where you will find everything, food, spices, clothes, souvenirs and trinkets of all kinds, sometimes at a good price, others at a tourist price, but the important thing is to know how to bargain!

  • it is not far from the historic center, precisely it is located in the east of the city and can be reached on foot or by taxi. - Get directions
  • 8 pm (CET)
  • free

6 - IFAN Museum

It is an art museum in which various are enclosed and exhibited works that represent the culture of the different Senegalese ethnic groups. A path full of weapons, jewels, amulets, musical instruments, statuettes, masks and everything that best describes African art!

  • it is located in the Dakar Plateau, not far from the historic center, reachable on foot or by taxi. - Get directions
  • 9 pm (CET)
  • free

7 - Leopold Sedar Senghor Museum

It is a museum created in the home of the Senegalese president Leopold Sedar Senghor, to host the Mondial des Arts Nègres Festival, which also contains some works by important artists such as Picasso and Da Vinci. Currently the museum it is also the seat of the Senegalese Artists' Salon and hosts the Dakar Biennial.

  • it's in the north-west of the city, so it's best to take a taxi to get there. - Get directions
  • Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 - 12:00 / 15:00 - 17:00
  • 1000 CFA (€ 1,50)

8 - Gorée Island

It is an island located about 3 km away from the coast of Dakar which owes its fame to an unpleasant story. It was in fact used to let African slaves pass through before being brought to America, was subsequently declared a World Heritage Site and today it lives purely on tourism. The island of Gorée is therefore a tourist tour to discover the history of thousands of Africans, but do not miss a stop on its small and pleasant beach.

  • from the port of Dakar several ferries depart every day, reaching the island in about 20 minutes. - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

9 - House of the Slaves

The House of Slaves is a museum on the island of Gorée set up in the original building where the sale took place, as the owner of the house was involved in the negotiations. Inside you will find photos, illustrations and objects which will automatically lead you to reflect, certainly an unpleasant visit but which at the same time can be very informative.

  • it can be reached in 2 minutes on foot once you arrive at the port of the island. - Get directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 - 12:00 / 15:00 - 18:00
  • 2000 CFA (€ 3,00)

10 - Lake Retba

Last, but not least, Lake Retba, northeast of Dakar. The lake is also known as Pink Lake and has become famous for the pink / reddish color of its waters. This phenomenon is due to the presence of the Dunaliella Salina algae, which also gives the lake its other characteristic, namely its high salinity. Thanks to these two peculiarities, over the years the lake has become a very touristic place and a great salt resource for the country. Once you get there you will have no problem finding proposals for boat or quad tours to visit it at its best!

  • it is an hour from Dakar but there are no public transport that cover that route, at most you can take a bus from Dakar to Malika and then continue by taxi. A valid alternative is to find a taxi driver willing to take you there, wait for you and bring you back, bargaining for an honest price. - Get directions
  • always open
  • free

Plan your trip: interactive map + info on flights, hotels and tours

Getting to Dakar from the airport is not difficult thanks to the numerous buses that connect the two points. Reaching it from neighboring countries is already more challenging, as you have to rely on common minibuses that do not follow a timetable, but depart once full. Moving around can also be difficult due to the scarcity of city buses that should follow timetables and stops but which in reality is not the case. The only more reliable way is by taxi, which you will have no problem finding because they are the ones who stop to propose themselves. Regarding the stay in Dakar, the prices of restaurants and accommodation facilities are very low and also can be considered a fairly safe city. The only negative note that could make you doubt security is the amount of people who will stop you on the street to sell you anything or simply to ask you for money, to which it is often not enough to say no because they can be very insistent. The advice is to walk fast and decisively so as to avoid being stopped!

  • starting from € 297,95 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 34,11 per room -

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