In northern Senegal, the enigmatic capital of Saint-Louis, a Unesco World Heritage Site, tempts with colonial architecture and proximity to scenic national parks. Along the Petite Cote and Cap Skirring, wide strips of beaches beckon and the wide deltas of the Casamance invite mesmerizing boat journeys amid astounding biodiversity, including hundreds of bird species.
Whether you want to mingle with the trendsetters of urban Africa or be alone with your thoughts and the sounds of nature, you’ll find your place in Senegal.
The island is reached via the 500m long Pont Faidherbe, a feat of 19th-century engineering.
Petite Côte & Siné-Saloum Delta
For the traveller, there’s much to discover, from peaceful islands just off-shore to vertiginous nightlife dancing to mbalax beats. You can spend your days browsing frenetic markets and taking in the sights of bustling downtown, followed by sunset drinks overlooking the crashing waves. At once both intimidating and deeply alluring, Dakar is a fascinating introduction to Senegal.
Île de Gorée
But Goree’s calm is not so much romantic as meditative, as the ancient, elegant buildings bear witness to the island’s role in the Atlantic slave trade. The island is also home to an active artist community with small studios sprinkled around the island.
Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj
The park is best explored by pirogue. Boats trips can be arranged at the park entrance or at the hotels.
But even if nature refuses to put on her show, a day out here is still enjoyable. You can swim in the lake, buoyed by the salt, or check out the small-scale salt-collecting industry on its shores. And up until the demise of the Dakar Rally, Lac Rose is where the Sahara drivers would arrive and celebrate their victories (or drown their woes).