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Dakar is situated on the Cape Verde Peninsula. It is the capital city of Senegal and is also Senegal’s largest city. The population of the actual city exceeds one million, with over two million people in the Dakar metropolitan area. Dakar is a major regional port as a result of its European and Trans-Atlantic trade, and has many notable attractions and places to explore. Dakar was originally the capital of French West Africa before Senegal became independent, so the city still has a lot of French influence.  

The weather is generally good in Dakar. The city is humid, especially during its rainy period in July and August. January and February are windy months which fills the air with sand, so between October and December may be the best time to visit, as temperatures are between 24°C and 31°C.  

There are many beautiful West African beaches located near the city. Some of Dakar’s beaches offer activities such as snorkelling and other water sports, which you may wish to try during your visit. You can also explore the area further by taking a cliff top walk.

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Why visit Dakar ?

Dakar location iamge - CruiseDirection

Senegal’s largest city

Dakar was originally the capital of French West Africa before Senegal became independent

Places that you should definitely pay a visit to include Gorée Island, an attraction that will particularly capture the attention of those interested in the Atlantic slave trade. The island also offers a variety of attractions, including museums, a beach and Gorée Castle.  

For a bit of culture, it may be worth stopping by the IFAN Museum of African Arts, one of the oldest museums in West Africa. There is also La Maison des Esclaves, an old house that was used as a procession centre for African slaves.  

Hann Park is a popular attraction located northeast of downtown Dakar. The park’s selection of interesting birds makes it an ideal spot for birdwatchers, so be sure to bring along a camera if you decide to visit this beautiful spot. Hann Park is also the location of the Senegal Zoo.  

There are plenty of places to eat in Dakar. For some authentic Senegalese cuisine, you may wish to visit Chez Ndeye, an inexpensive restaurant. La Fourchette is another reasonably priced restaurant that offers a variety of international cuisine. There is also Café de Rome, which serves French cuisine and is ideal for those who enjoy the French history of the city. Dakar also has a selection of food stalls on the streets where you can buy fruit and other snacks.  

Shopping in Dakar will prove to be an interesting experience. There is the Marche Sandaga, a popular market that has three levels for you to explore. There’s a selection of meat and fish, vegetables, and food stalls on the roof. Market stalls are set around the building and offer a variety of products, though some products, such as CDs, may not be genuine. For those who are looking for a relaxing shopping experience, the market stalls may not be ideal, as the sellers can be very persuasive and sometimes even aggressive. The Marche Sandaga is also known for its pickpockets, so you will want to be especially alert or avoid the area completely! For a less hectic shopping experience, try the Marche Kermel or the Marche HML, which is a smaller market that offers a variety of fabrics.  

There are a few hotels that offer accommodation at reasonable prices, such as the Hotel Oceanic. For those who are looking for something that offers higher quality rooms, the Al Afifa Hotel may be a good choice.  

Unfortunately, Dakar has a very high crime rate, including many pickpockets. Many of the sellers on the market stalls will also attempt to get more money out of tourists. If you are careful with your belongings and do not mind the crowds of the markets, then Dakar and its attractions will make your holiday an enjoyable experience.

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