Dakar © Jeff Attaway
Situated on the tip of the Cap Vert Peninsula in
western Africa, Dakar teems with life and boasts luxurious hotels,
a wide range of restaurants, beaches and water sports, a casino,
and an active nightlife scene. This modern capital is also one of
the busiest ports for cruise ships in Africa.
After three centuries of French colonial rule,
Senegal became independent in 1960. Before independence the city of
Dakar was the capital of French West Africa, it has been the
capital of the independent Republic since then. The country has
retained strong ties with France and the French influence remains
in the architecture of the city, where well preserved colonial
buildings, the monumental government house and café terraces
stand testimony to its history.
For lovers of history, Gorée Island, a UNESCO
Historical Monument, is a must-see. Here the painful history of
Senegal's slave trade comes alive in 'La Maison des Enclaves' with
its cells, shackles, and the slave dealer's apartments, as well as
the many museums housed in former slave houses, and the forts built
to protect the lucrative business.
The architecture in central Dakar is an attraction in
and of itself; there are some beautiful buildings in and around the
city, including the city's cathedral and grand mosque. However, the
most famous site in Dakar is the controversial African Renaissance
Monument, a massive sculpture representing Africa's emergence from
slavery and colonialism.
Another great way to enjoy an afternoon in Dakar is
by browsing the busy markets or having a picnic in one of the
beautiful parks. Hann Park and Zoo is a great place to take kids
and Lake Retba is also an interesting sight for visitors of all
ages, where tourists can watch the traditional salt harvesters at
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