Do you want to know the best places to visit in Senegal? In this post we will help you to know the most visited sites. In addition, we will give you some tips so that your trip goes well. You should know that from Gran Canaria island there are direct flights with the airline Binter. They also fly from other airports in Spain such as Barcelona.
Places to visit in Senegal
As you can imagine, traveling to Africa can be an adventure, but don’t worry, Senegal is very safe if you move with locals. We have been several times for work and whenever we can take the opportunity to visit the best known sites in this country. We love it. What we like most is the happiness and kindness of its residents. Here is a list of the places to visit in Senegal:
1. Natural Reserve of Bandia. One of the best places to visit in Senegal
Here you can do a safari to see closely zebras, ostriches, giraffes, antelopes, wild boars, rhinos, crocodiles, monkeys … In addition, everything in its environment and surrounded by baobabs. A wonderful experience The price of the ticket is approximately € 20 and apart you have to hire the guide and the jeep for the Safari. You can check the rates on their official website. It is very worthwhile and they will tell you all about the animals that reside in Bandia.
From Dakar to Bandia there is approximately 1 hour drive. You can negotiate the transfer rate with the driver that we detail below, your hotel or hire the transfer from Dakar here. Without a doubt, this safari is a must of the places to visit in Senegal.
2. Gorée island. Places to visit in Senegal
It is also known as the island of slaves. It can be easily reached by boat from Dakar. You should keep in mind that there will be guides who try to ask for money because you let yourself be “accompanied” by them, that it is dangerous to go alone, etc. The island is quite touristy and safe to explore on foot by yourself, do not trust them. Here you can buy some souvenirs or art, appreciate the local life and visit the House of Slaves. For hundreds of years it was the epicenter of the Atlantic from which visitors were supplied with slaves. If you prefer, for more comfort you can book your trip to Gorea from Dakar with a guide here.
The island is so beautiful!
3. Pink lake Rosa and end of the Dakar Rally.
The Pink Lake or Lac Rose is characteristic for its high salt concentration, 10 times higher than that of the sea. Thanks to this and the microalgae that live there, when giving sunlight it sometimes looks pink (not always). Apparently it is possible to bathe, but be very careful with the eyes and mouth, we do not recommend soaking the head for the amount of salt. If you dare with the bath, you will see that given the salt concentration you will float perfectly. There is a restaurant on the same pink lake on a wooden platform. It is highly recommended (sorry, I don’t remember the name). You can get here the excursion to the Pink Lake from Dakar, which includes 4×4 in the area where the old Paris-Dakar Rally passed. There is also transfer from Saly.
4. Popenguine beach and a meal with sea view
Within an hour’s drive of Dakar we have Popenguine Beach. It is a beautiful virgin beach where you can take a walk and enjoy a pleasant meal overlooking the sea. On the beach you will see how Senegalese are obsessed with sports and do not stop running, playing football, jumping, etc. Especially men! We recommend a walk along this beach and a meal overlooking the sea at the site shown below. It’s called L’echo cotier and they have international and local dishes.
5. Lunch in Lagon 1 and swim in the beach
If you do not know where to eat in Dakar, next to the sea is the restaurant Lagon 1. It is suspended in a kind of walkway, so the views of the bay are spectacular. Here you can try the local food and beer, the Gazelle. They also have international dishes such as pasta, salads, etc. We DO NOT recommend ordering salad throughout the country, nor fruit washed with water from here, nor ice. I made the mistake of ordering salad and spent the whole night in the bathroom 🙁 and the rest of the guests well … As you can see below, just below there is a beautiful beach.
6. Shopping in Dakar and tourist visit around the city
The driver you hire can take you through the streets of Dakar for a ride. You can even ask him to take you to a tailor to order your own African designs. A unique experience. The prices and results are very good. However, you have to go from the first days to buy the fabrics, choose designs and take measures so that in at least 2-3 days they can finish it and even do a test. When buying fabrics you also have to bargain, although they are quite cheap. At the same time, if you are going to make several designs, also haggle to the tailor. Do not pay more than you would pay for a garment in Europe, basically.
7. Baobab adventure, places to visit in Senegal
A few kilometers from Bandia is the adventure park between Baobabs of Senegal, is the Accro Baobab. We did not get to try it because it was very hot and it is outdoors, but we did go there to see it and we know it is a tourist attraction in the area. You dare?
8. Saly and Mbur
Just under an hour and a half drive from Dakar we have the tourist area of Saly and the port of Mbur. A long beach full of resorts, restaurants and leisure. On the other hand, a few minutes by car you have the port of M’bour, which is where Senegalese fishermen come and go with their traditional boats. As we have been told, it is a bit dirty and smells a lot like fish, but a 100% local experience. Below we show you a photo of the typical Senegalese boat in Popenguine, since we have not gone to Mbour. One thing that unfortunately you should get used to is to see the sea and the streets full of garbage.
The currency of Senegal is the Senegalese franc. French or Wolof is spoken here. Most of the Senegalese are Muslims, but not very strict. That is, they drink alcohol in bars and restaurants. At the same time, women are not covered up like in other African countries. However, most practice Ramadan. The currency they use is the CFA franc and we recommend you bring cash exchanged or take at the ATM there, since in many places you cannot pay by card. Therefore, do not forget your free Revolut card that allows you to pay abroad and withdraw money from ATMs outside Spain without commission.
On the other hand, the country itself is developing and growing very fast. They do not stop opening hotels, congress palaces and improving roads. Still you will continue to find a lot of poverty in the street, dirt, burning trash, abandoned animals, etc. But at the same time you will realize that they are very happy with what they have and they will always show you a smile.
Places to visit in Senegal and how to get around
To get around Senegal it is better to go with a local, we do not recommend renting a car, since taxi transfers are quite cheap (you MUST bargain). If you still dare to go on your own, you can compare the rates below.
We will leave you the WhatsApp of the company with which we move there. It is Senegal Tours. They can pick you up at Dakar airport and also take you on an excursion. Also, in your hotel you can ask about the rates of the taxi prices and compare with those of Senegal Tours. Senegal Tours’s phone number is: +221338325667. You can send them a WhatsApp, they speak English or send an email to email@example.com. Always try to make clear the hours and sites / destinations and the rates so that it is in writing and you can meditate if you hire it. Just in case, don’t pay anything in advance.
Hotels in Senegal
Whenever we have gone to Senegal we have stayed in the capital, Dakar and made a daily excursion to each of the sites. The furthest is Lake Rosa, which is 1 hour and a half away by car. The hotel where we have stayed in Dakar is the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar Sea Plaza. It is quite expensive, but you ensure a quiet stay. That is, with a good breakfast, rooms, cleaning and service. In addition, in the access to the hotel there is control of metals and weapons as in the airports.
To travel to Senegal you have to get vaccinated from yellow fever and malaria. Be careful with the fruit and vegetables you eat. It is VERY recommended that you carry a small kit with paracetamol, fortasec, primperan and oral serum. So if you get bad you can cut it and, at the same time, hydrate with oral serum.
Travel insurance and security in Senegal
As we mentioned at the beginning, Senegal is a safe country. That is, there are usually no murders, robberies, etc. However, you are a tourist and they are going to try to take advantage of you. That is, they will ask you for money on the street. Above all they will want to guide you in English, etc. but in general you can trust the locals. We recommend that everything you buy should be bargained and if you can be accompanied by the driver to advise you, that would be better. In the end it is a mostly Muslim country and they preserve the bargaining traditions.
Likewise, we recommend that you take out travel insurance with medical coverage abroad if you do not already have it. With IATI you have a 5% discount for being our reader in all your policies, take a look below at the prices depending on the number of days and policy. The discount will be applied automatically.Iati seguros
And this is all we can tell you about Senegal at the moment, we hope we have helped you. We have contacts and friends in the country, if you have any questions that are not raised here, contact us and we will try to help you. Did you like this post? Leave us here a comment!
We are Ruth & Jorge, Gran Canarians with a travelling soul. Experts in tourism and digital marketing. We share the most authentic side of Gran Canaria (where we live) and… our adventures around the world!