Senegal is a country on Africa’s west coast with a rich French colonial heritage and many natural attractions. Dakar, the capital, features the ancient Médina district and esteemed Musée Théodore Monod, displaying African art. Dakar is also known for its nightlife, centered on native mbalax music. Saint-Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa, has an old town with colonial architecture.
Car-free Gorée Island is home to the House of Slaves museum and memorial. Lake Retba is known for its curious pink-hued water. Running down the coast to the Saloum Delta National Park biosphere reserve is the Petite Côte strip of beach resorts, and to the south, the seaside retreat of Cap Skirring. Senegal’s national parks include Niokolo-Koba, a savannah reserve sheltering hippos, elands and other wildlife, and Oiseaux du Djoudj, a wetlands sanctuary for flamingos, pelicans and migrating birds.
Senegal Top Sights
Dakar is the capital of Senegal, in West Africa. It’s an Atlantic port on the Cap-Vert peninsula. Its traditional Médina quarter is home to the Grande Mosquée, marked by a towering minaret. The Musée Théodore Monod displays cultural artifacts including clothing, drums, carvings and tools. The city’s vibrant nightlife is inspired by the local mbalax music.
Dakar’s Place de l’Indépendance is a central hub overlooked by grand colonial buildings. The Village des Arts houses artists’ workshops and a gallery. The Marché des HLM market specializes in brightly colored fabrics, and has on-site tailors. Colonial buildings and the Maison des Esclaves museum on the quiet harbor island of Île de Gorée trace the history of the African slave trade. Surfing is possible at northern beaches like Yoff, and diving around the offshore Île de Ngor island. Northeast of the city, Lake Retba (or Lac Rose) is known for its pink-tinted water.
Saly is a beach resort area in the Petite Côte region of Senegal. A former Portuguese trading post, Saly Portudal village features restaurants and bars. West along the coast, Saly Nord has a palm-lined beach, the Golf de Saly golf course and a craft market. To the east, at Saly Niakhniakhal, the seafront is lined with restaurants and villas. Deep-sea fishing boats return to shore with sailfish, marlin and tuna.
Touba is a city in central Senegal, part of Diourbel Region and Mbacké district. With a population of 529,176 in 2010, it is the second most populated Senegalese city after Dakar. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke. Next to his tomb lies a large mosque, completed in 1963.
M’bour Department is one of the 45 departments of Senegal, one of three in the Thiès Region. Its capital is M’Bour. The department has 8 urban communes; Joal-Fadiouth, Mbour, Nguékhokh, Thiadiaye, Saly Portudal, Ngaparou, Somone and Popenguine. The rural districts are: Arrondissement of Fissel: Fissel Ndiaganiao Arrondissement of Séssène: Séssène Nguéniène Arrondissement de Sindia: Sindia Malicounda Diass