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As the capital of Senegal, Dakar is one of West Africa's most popular tourist locations and an excellent cruise destination. Positioned on the Cap-Vert peninsular, looking out across the Atlantic Ocean, Dakar is a beautiful city and with a vibrant culture. The people of Dakar are especially friendly and welcoming to visitors, so you can expect to be treated well when you arrive in the city. The Senegalese people are particularly proud of their reputation for hospitality (or ‘teranga' as it is locally known) and this local philosophy makes Dakar a great place for visitors to stay and enjoy the city's unique neighbourly character.
The city of Dakar has a variety of possible excursions to take part in and wonderful sights to see. The city is famous for its lively music scene, with many musicians performing in the streets for the entertainment of passing people. Dakar's beautiful natural surroundings are also worth observing. Bird watching is very popular along the coast of the city, as Les Almadies is a great area to spot a variety of seabirds and Iles de la Madeleine is the only nesting place in Africa for the stunning red-billed tropicbird. Another site of natural beauty in the area is Lake Retba, otherwise known as the ‘Pink Lake'. The Pink Lake has earned its nickname due to the high levels of cyanobacteria that gives the water its pink colour. Other worthwhile sight-seeing opportunities include:
African Renaissance Monument
Unveiled in 2010, the African Renaissance Monument is an enormous statue celebrating Africa's emergence from the oppressive regimes of the past. The idea of the monument was to display African pride but it has since been identified as controversial because of its foreign manufacture. The monument is truly a colossus and stands taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Consider taking the ferry across to Goree Island for a fun-filled day trip. The island boasts lots of excellent colonial architecture and the interesting ‘House of Slaves' museum. Goree also has of a range of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy with very friendly and inviting atmospheres. The island is a great place to spend the day for people looking to get away from the mainland.
Hann Park and Zoo
Dakar's Hann Park and Zoo is a great place to spend the day as a couple or with the family. The park and gardens have been around for over 100 years and display a variety of Senegalese plant life. The zoo was added more recently and houses over 130 animals.
Several superb markets can be found around the city of Dakar. Marche Sandaga is situated within a three levelled concrete structure and sells everything from meat and vegetables to electronics and football shirts. Marche HLM is a slightly smaller marketplace and mostly sells a range of fabrics and clothing. Marche Kermel is another mid-sized market selling a range of different items including textiles, seafood, vegetables and flowers. Casino supermarket can be found across the street from Marche Kermel and is great for general purchases.
Quality, affordable food can be found all over Dakar. The national dishes of Senegal are ‘thieboudiene' and ‘chicken yassa', so be sure to try them during your stay. The trendy La Fourchette restaurant, situated in Marche Kermel, serves great food at incredibly low prices. Alternatively, a more extravagant dining experience can be found in the fashionable Ngor district at Le Patio restaurant.
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