Travelling in Senegal: Top 10 Sights in Dakar

Travelling in Senegal: Top 10 Sights in Dakar

Travelling in Senegal: Top 10 Sights in Dakar

It feels weird that I can’t write “backpacking in Senegal” as I’d be lying. I have never gone backpacking in Senegal, but I have been travelling there and I still was able to see the sights I wanted despite being on a lost luggage challenge and without my notorious backpacking brace of Osprey and MindShift.

Travelling in Senegal, not backpacking

Travelling in Senegal, not backpacking

I managed to do some textbook sightseeing and touristy stuff though. I based myself at N’Gor beach in Dakar at the start in Maison Abaka, loving the beach life and the fish. Then I headed downtown, based myself at the excellent Hotel Baraka. From here, I toured not only the Pink Lake, but all the key sights in the city that interested me. All this in the middle of a lunatic journey to Gambia and back where I started stroking live wild crocodiles. There was always time for a textbook top ten though…

Downtown Dakar, Senegal

Downtown Dakar, Senegal

1.Thiossane Nightclub
Thiossane is a nightclub owned by none other than Youssou N’Dour, Dakar’s most famous son and the first ever Senegalese person I had heard of in my lifetime, thanks to his duet hit single in 1994 with Neneh Cherry, 7 Seconds Away.

Thiossane Nightclub

Thiossane Nightclub without Youssou N’Dour

It was a shame then, after my night out watching bellydancing, that Thiossane Nightclub was shut on my only Saturday night in downtown Dakar. I went back in the day time, but it seemed to be closed for refurbishment. I saw the famous venue only from the outside. I liked how it was in a raw and local area. No swanky bull excrement here.

Thiossane Nightclub without Youssou N'Dour

Thiossane Nightclub without Youssou N’Dour

An advert for a Youssou N'Dour gig

An advert for a Youssou N’Dour gig

2.Atlantic Mosque (Mosque of the Divinity)
This impressive Mosque not only has a brilliant view but is a good looking building itself. It sits right on the Atlantic Ocean. I visited on a gorgeous clear day. Despite the fact that the Grand Mosque is bigger and more important to the people, the Atlantic Mosque is my personal favourite and if you only see one Mosque in Dakar, head out to this one.

The Atlantic Mosque (Mosque of the Divinity) in Dakar, Senegal

The Atlantic Mosque (Mosque of the Divinity) in Dakar, Senegal

It can be hard to get to on public transport, but my local driver was able to take me here as part of a self organised city tour.

Atlantic Mosque

Atlantic Mosque

3.Grand Mosque
In the heart of the downtown, sits the prominent Grand Mosque. I got here by flight using Turkish Airlines, from Istanbul. The Turkish and Senegalese have a good relationship, and the Turks helped fund the building of this structure.

The Grand Mosque in Dakar, Senegal

The Grand Mosque in Dakar, Senegal

It sits in a prominent courtyard and I headed there to hear the Call to Prayer.

The Grand Mosque in Dakar, Senegal

The Grand Mosque in Dakar, Senegal

4.Medina
It brought me a reminder of my time whackpacking the Middle East and Tunisia as these Medinas are basically like an old town which are mostly used as market stalls. Dakar’s is the birthplace of Youssou N’Dour and you can wind your way through it, taking in its charms. Be aware of pickpockets and scammers, as ever.

Senegalese souvenirs

Senegalese souvenirs

Medina in Dakar

Medina in Dakar

5.Independence Square
The Place de L’Independence is the Independence Square. The Governor’s Office and Chamber of Commerce sit here, but really it’s just a large rectangular park with roads on either side. Worth a quick walk around.

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square

6.Palais Presidentiel
Sadly I have no photos of the Palais Presidentiel as the guards outside monitor it very strictly and they don’t even allow photos from a distance – they’ll see you. It’s on Avenue Leopold Senghor street (and at the bottom of Boulevard de la Republique) and you can at least admire the Palace from the front of the gates next to the soldiers, who are in impeccable attire. There is a pretty garden area opposite which can be photographed.

Gardens near the Presidential Palace

Gardens near the Presidential Palace

Boulevard of the Republic which leads down to the Palace

Boulevard of the Republic which leads down to the Palace

7.Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium
For me a visit here was a highlight. Dakar’s most supported football team, ASC Jeanne D’Arc, play at the 60,000 capacity all-seater/bencher Léopold Sédar Senghor national stadium. It’s situated near Pattie D’Oie, on Route de Yoff, about 6 km north of the city centre.

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

As I also visited Gambia’s national football stadium on this trip, it means that I have now seen 100 different national football stadiums on  my journeys through 116 recognised countries.

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Senegal made the Quarter Finals in the 2002 World Cup and they had players such as El Hadji Diouf and Papa Bouba Diop.

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

Léopold Sédar Senghor National Stadium

8.Plage N’Gor
Senegal is famous for its beaches. Tourists and local go swimming, play football, go surfing and even deep sea diving in the waters by the gorgeous beaches. I spent my first two days in the country by the Plage N’Gor. It’s a beautiful tranquil beach.

Beers at Plage N'Gor

Beers at Plage N’Gor

N'Gor Beach, Dakar, Senegal

N’Gor Beach, Dakar, Senegal

9.Monument du Millenaire
This Millennium Monument is another fine structure and a sign of the future and good times here in Dakar. Again you can easily get here with a driver and just hop out take your photos and admire the views out to sea. They are meant to be building a huge monument soon, just down from this.

Monument du Millenaire

Monument du Millenaire

10.African Renaissance Monument
The most interesting thing about the African Renaissance Monument is that it was built by the North Koreans! It is one of two odd hills in Dakar, often referred to as “Dakar’s breasts”. I saw this one about 10 times while driving round the city yet not once did I feel the need to stop and dander up there, paying the price to see it for real. Still, it’s one of two breasts – a lighthouse sits atop the other one.

African Renaissance Monument

African Renaissance Monument

Here are a few videos from my time NOT backpacking in Dakar, Senegal:

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About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Africa, Dakar, MSMLostLuggage, Plage N'Gor, Senegal. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Travelling in Senegal: Top 10 Sights in Dakar

  1. Hey Jonny

    it was actually the 2002 world cup senegal made it to the quarter final

  2. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Martin, thanks for that, you are right. I just corrected it. Safe travels. Jonny

  3. Mai Nomura of Migration Expert Australia says:

    Its a nice country however it lacks a bit of inviting things to others. Goodluck to more of your travels!

  4. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Mai, thanks for the comment. It’s friendlier than you think in Senegal! Plus as of last year, Northern Irish citizens no longer need a visa so I got in for free! Safe travels. Jonny

  5. Ray says:

    Nice shot of the African Renaissance Monument! I have seen photos online of it at a much closer range, but it just shows you how impressive and massive this statute is. How much were they charging to climb to the top of it?
    Ray recently posted…Backpacking Banff – The Bow River TrailMy Profile

  6. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Ray, I don’t actually know the price as I was on a tight budget and decided against going up. We passed it a few times in the cars and taxis I got but I took that photo from the airport! Safe travels. Jonny

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