Dakar Is Urban Vibrancy

Publish Time:2017-11-14 16:22:36Source:World Tourism Cities

【Introduction】:Dakar is a city of extremes, where horse-cart drivers chug over swish highways and gleaming SUVs squeeze through tiny sand roads; where elegant ladies dig skinny heels into dusty walkways and suit-clad businessmen kneel down for prayer in the middle of the street.

Dakar is a city of extremes, where horse-cart drivers chug over swish highways and gleaming SUVs squeeze through tiny sand roads; where elegant ladies dig skinny heels into dusty walkways and suit-clad businessmen kneel down for prayer in the middle of the street. Once a tiny settlement in the south of the Cap Vert peninsula, Dakar now spreads almost across its entire triangle, and keeps growing.

For the traveler, there's much to discover, from peaceful islands just off-shore to vertiginous nightlife dancing to mbalax beats. You can spend your days browsing frenetic markets and taking in the sights of bustling downtown, followed by sunset drinks overlooking the crashing waves. At once both intimidating and deeply alluring, Dakar is a fascinating introduction to Senegal.

At the westernmost point of the African continent, Dakar stands as a multicultural, diverse city full of vibrant arts and traditions. Residents from various ethnic groups present assorted crafts, foods, jewelry, fabrics and wood and metal goods at bustling markets such as Marche Sandaga or Marche HLM. The city is home to museums and mosques, cliff walks and beaches, and makes a convenient jumping point for excursions to any of Senegal's national parks and nature reserves.

The Senegalese are very proud of their reputation for "teranga" — hospitality. Locals are extremely friendly and helpful; but as anywhere else, watch out for scams and pickpockets. Petty crime here is relatively high, be cautious. While some locals are friendly, be careful, because local shop owners are very persistent.


African Renaissance Monument.

Opening its doors in December 2010, this colossal monument is dedicated to Africa's emergence from the oppressive European regimes that once ruled the continent and the end of slavery. It is also meant as a display of African pride to shirk foreign perceptions of Africans as lesser people. The monument is rather controversial, with some Africans feeling the sense of pride it is meant to envoke while others criticizing it as a foreign (it was made by North Korea), completely un-African Stalinist statue. From base to the top, it reaches taller than the Statue of Liberty.

IFAN Museum of African Arts (Musée Théodore Monod d’Art Africain).

Ile de Goree. Goree Island in English, it was named by the Dutch after taking over the island from the Portuguese in the late 1600s.

Goree was a minor location used for the transport of slaves headed to the Americas, though its prominence is often overplayed. The island has interesting colonial architecture, mostly in ruins, including the landmark "House of Slaves" museum. Ferries can be taken from the terminal north of Place de l'Independance and cost 5000 CFA. The trip takes 10-20 minutes.

There are many small restaurants and a handful of places offering lodging. This is a place with a great atmosphere, because it gives you kind of an pirate-island (with friendly folks all-over kind of feeling). Just walk around and explore. It's a small island, so you can easily stroll around it in an hour. You can buy cheap beer and lounge on the beach when you're done, or stroll some more and buy artwork from the locals.

Les Almadies (Les pointes des Almadies). The Western tip of the African continent where plenty of seafood restaurants are located.

Dakar Grand Mosque. Built in 1964.

Dakar Cathedral.

Hann Park and Zoo, The public gardens were built in 1903 and thee arboretum was built in 1947. The gardens feature a wide variety of Senegalese plant life and the zoo contains over 130 animals.

Dining in Dakar

With their generous servings of fresh grilled fish with Creole sauce, or sophisticated French or Lebanese-influenced dishes, Dakar’s restaurants will definitely tickle your taste buds. The dishes are often a feast for the eyes, as are the views offered of the Atlantic Ocean and its sweeping, surf-pounded coastline. Here are ten of the best spots in the city to dine in scenic surroundings.

Rooftop views at La Madeleine

Those in the know head to the Clinique de la Madeleine for more than medical appointments, they do so to enjoy the sun on its seventh floor rooftop café set.

It’s one of the few, if not the only place to take in both views of the ocean and the old town’s colonial buildings from high above. Try a mixed salad with ingredients of your choice, or the daily lunch special, which varies from rich lasagna to Senegalese dishes such as yassa poulet (marinated and grilled chicken with an onion sauce, served with rice).

Beach life at Le Relais Sportif

On the Cornishe West beachfront − where people run or do calisthenics in the sand, in what is a daily display of Senegal’s sports loving craze − lies one of Dakar’s great eateries. Popular with the Dakarois, Le Relais Sportif (au-senegal.com) is one of the few non-hotel restaurants in the area. With tables looking over the ocean it’s the perfect spot for a succulent monkfish skewer with a Gazelle (Senegalese beer), and for taking in the bustling beach life unfolding in front of you.

Boat dining at Le Lagon I

Built on stilts and reminiscent of a luxury boat, Le Lagon I (lelagondakar.com) offers stunning views of Gorée Island and the ocean. There is a wide choice of seafood, from king prawns to langoustines, and a large cocktail menu including some delicious non-alcoholic options. Chose an outdoor table if you'd like to dine to the soothing sounds of crashing waves beneath your feet and to enjoy a refreshing breeze even on the hottest days. In the evening, Le Lagon I and its surroundings boast a spectacle of lights.

Garden Oasis at Le Bideew

Le Bideew is a vibrant oasis and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the old town’s crowded, dusty streets. Nestled in the garden of the Institut Français Léopold Sédar Senghor, with views of a big canopy tree in which colorful lizards are always busily doing push-ups, the restaurant offers both Senegalese and French-influenced food. The menu ranges from grilled fish to chicken burgers, or tempura veggies with guacamole. Come after enjoying a movie in the center’s cinema or on a Friday or Saturday evening, when there is often a concert.

Art meets food at La Calebasse

La Calebasse (facebook.com/Restaurant-LaCalebasse) is an art gallery-cum-restaurant in Mamelles. Wander past collections of West African paintings, masks and life-size metal statues, and around a sweeping chandelier made out of countless calabashes (a gourd-like fruit) as you walk up the staircase to this top floor restaurant. Sit on the roofed terrace to sample some local dishes such as Senegal’s national favorite, the thieboudienne (seasoned fish served with rice in a tomato-based sauce, mixed with carrots, cabbage and eggplant).

Island vibe at Noflaye Beach

Not far from Le Ngor, Noflaye Beach restaurant (facebook.com/Noflaye-Beach) is an unpretentious place with an island vibe about it – think upgraded surfers’ shack set right on the beach.

Here, a leisurely weekend lunch can easily stretch into late afternoon as you move from your table to the chaises lounges on the restaurant’s little private beach. Take a dip, bask in the sun with a good book, and continue to indulge in some fresh seafood, savory galletes or light crepes, all with your feet still in the sand.

Ocean views and cocktails at Sokhamon Hotel

Walk a few minutes towards the waterfront from the IFAN Museum of African Arts and you’ll find Hotel Sokhamon (hotelsokhamon. com), a bright building in Gaudí-esque style, with a Moroccan-meets-Mediterranean infused decor.

On its terrace, lean back on the chunky but comfortable leather armchairs to enjoy a cocktail, nems (spring rolls) and fish skewers. Come in the evening to take in splendid views of the sun gliding into the glistening waters of the Atlantic behind the Îles des Madeleines.

A taste of the Caribbean and salsa

Set in the outer suburb of Sacre Coeur, New Africa restaurant (facebook.com/newafricarestaurant) is not the easiest place to find, but it’s well worth the effort. The cuisine is a mix of Caribbean, French and Moroccan influences.

The decor includes a white piano, African drums and an intimate garden patio, which gets lively on Friday evenings with a salsa loving crowd. To avoid getting lost, instruct the taxi driver to head towards the nearby ‘Boulangerie Jaune’.

Sea-inspired wonderland at Le Ngor

Set on a beach road in Dakar’s expat haven of Almadies, where new bars and restaurants mushroom at a dizzying speed, Le Ngor is an old-time favorite. Here quirky, animal-shaped metal sculptures, shell adorned pillars, and blue and green walls offer a cozy backdrop. When you manage to take your eyes off the ocean stretching out in front of you and are ready to order, you’re met with a wide range of dishes, from seafood and big mixed salads topped with chicken skewers to fresh mango milkshakes and ice cream.

Poolside wine at Radisson Blue

Part of the Radisson Blue Hotel (radissonblu.com), this poolside restaurant and bar offers views of the ocean, live music at night and a decent choice of international food: pizzas, salads, hamburgers, as well as a variety of seafood dishes and an extensive list of wines. The cozy sofas on the edge of the pool are great for a pre- or post-meal glass of wine. In the evening, marvel at the bluest shades of the pool stretched out above the ocean, amidst a dance of lights.

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