10 Destinations for your Senegal vacation

Senegal is located in the far west of Africa and is particularly impressive for its diverse landscape and cultural diversity. Whether it's pristine nature, gorgeous sandy beaches, or vibrant city life in the capital city of Dakar, Senegal has something to offer for everyone. With so many different landscapes, Senegal is a very exciting and diverse travel destination and it's not for nothing that Senegal is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Africa. Here are 10 highlights for your Senegal vacation:

1. Dakar

Fisherman Mosque in Dakar

Fishermen Mosque in Dakar

Dakar is the capital of Senegal. A trip to this pulsating metropolis should not be missing on any Senegal vacation. The city is located directly on the Atlantic Ocean and has many attractions to offer. A landmark of the city is the Great Fishermen's Mosque with its minaret visible from afar. Another famous monument in the city is the African Renaissance Statue, which is meant to commemorate Senegal's independence. In the capital there are numerous museums such as the Museum of African Art or the Oceanographic Museum.

2. Lake Retba

Lake Retba is a salt lake in Senegal. It is famous for its pink color caused by cyanobacteria. These excrete red iron oxide. Due to the high salt content, vacationers can swim in the lake, similar to the Dead Sea in Jordan. The lake is also used for salt production. The lake is separated from the Atlantic Ocean only by a dune and used to be the final destination of the famous Dakar Rally. On the shores of Lake Retba, which is also called Lac Rose, many cone-shaped salt mountains pile up.

3. Gorée

The island of Goree in Senegal

The island of Gorée in Senegal

Gorée is an island off the coast of Senegal, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1978. In the past, the island was used for a long time as a stopover for slave shipping. Even today, many colonial buildings bear witness to this time. A powerful fort on the island attracts numerous visitors from all over the world. The beautiful old town of the island offers a special Mediterranean flair. Cars are completely forbidden on the island, so that one can move here undisturbed freely.

4. Djoudj National Park

Birds in the Djouj nature reserve

Birds in the Djouj Nature Reserve

The Djoudj National Park is the third largest bird reserve in the world. It includes numerous watercourses, ponds, islands and even a large lake, which occupies almost a quarter of the total area of the national park. The park is only open from November to April. The best months for bird watching are January and February, when many European migratory birds are present. The national park serves them as winter quarters. In addition to migratory birds, pelicans, flamingos and cormorants can also be seen. In addition, other animals such as turtles, crocodiles and gazelles live in the park. Since 1981, Djoudji National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Joal and Fadiouth

Joal is a coastal town in the west of Senegal, located directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the old multi-storey houses, the palm groves and the oyster farms, the town exudes a very special charm. Joal is connected to the small island of Fadiouth by a wooden bridge. In the water there are numerous granaries on wooden piles. A special attraction of Fadiouth is the cemetery located on a shell mound. Numerous picturesque alleys invite to stroll on the island.

6. Niokolo-Koba National Park

Niokolo-Koba National Park

The Niokola-Koba National Park should be visited during a Senegalese vacation. It is located in the southeast of Senegal and has a vast area of more than 8.000 km². More than 300 different bird species live in the national park, which is also home to hippos, crocodiles and chimpanzees. The Niokola-Koba and Gambia rivers run through the park. Beautiful gallery forests grow along the banks of the rivers.

7. Touba

Touba is the center of the Mourides, a Senegalese religious community. The landmark of the city is a large mosque, where the founder and leader of the Mourids is buried. About 1 million pilgrims come to Touba every year for the Magal Festival.

8. Delta Du Saloum National Park

Sine and Saloum Delta

Sine and Saloum Delta

The Delta Du Saloum National Park was founded in 1976. It is very popular with tourists, especially because of its rich mangrove forests and bird diversity. The mangrove forest is one of the most important in the world.

The fauna of the national park includes birds, monkeys, dolphins, antelopes and hyenas.
The Delta Du Saloum National Park is located directly on the Atlantic coast and within the river delta of Sine and Saloum. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. Vacationers can only experience the park by taking a pirogue ride past mangrove swamps and sandbanks.

9. Saint Louis

Saint Louis is located in the northwest of Senegal directly on the river of the same name. The city is considered the cultural center of the country and is the oldest French settlement in Africa. This is the site of the popular annual jazz festival. The cityscape of Saint Louis is characterized by numerous former colonial buildings. The population lives mainly from fishing and agriculture.
The heart of Saint Louis is an island separate from the mainland, which is also fondly referred to as the “Venice of Africa”. A very popular sight is the Place de Faidherbe with the Rognard barracks. The best way to explore the city is on a leisurely carriage ride.

10. Foret de Bandia

South of the capital city of Dakar is the rather unassuming, yet very interesting Bandia Nature Reserve. The area of the reserve is about 3.500 hectares. The nature park was established in 1997 and is home to giraffes, gazelles, wild boar, buffalo and crocodiles. The Foret de Bandia aims to reintroduce native flora and fauna while also serving as a nursery. Thus, many species that are already extinct in the region should find a new home here.

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