Of the most famous West African artists, the majority come from Senegal - a visit will serve as a wonderful introduction to a very special region and its musical traditions. The St Louis International Jazz Festival in May is the place to hear the professionals of Senegal music.
Ra, Original Traveller
West Africa is a part of the world we are passionate about, so it's with frustration and sadness that we see a few countries in a region so full of culture, heritage and wonderful people deemed unsafe to visit for now. However, Senegal represents a beacon of hope and as such we urge the more adventurous and curious among our clients to consider what is a hugely memorable and interesting holiday destination.
Why we think you’ll love it
- The National Parks either side of the city of Saint Louis are where migratory birds find their first fresh water after crossing the Sahara, so are a must for twitchers
- Stay at Les Paletuviers, a charming beachside lodge in the UNESCO world heritage region of Sine Saloum, a mangrove-delta region scattered with islands, rivers and salt water creaks leading to the Atlantic. Several times a week, when night falls, locals come over to dance and sing traditional West African songs around the campfire to the beat of a tam tam
From the gallery
More on Holidays in Senegal...
So what to expect on a Senegal holiday? Well, mayhem in Dakar, slave houses of Goree, millions of pelicans at Djoudj National Park, wonderful intriguing people, desert, delta, forests and the immensely powerful Atlantic coastline.
Throw in the Saint Louis Jazz Festival and there's enough here to span a trip of a month or more.
Most travellers don't have that long, obviously, so we recommend the following highlights: Goree Isand (a UNESCO Heritage Site) is a half hour ferry ride from Dakar and holds much of the Slave Trade history of West Africa.
Meanwhile the delta waters of the Sine Saloum Delta south of the capital Dakar are wild, tranquil and have abundant bird life. There are eco lodges and even remote islands with basic facilities where the more adventurous may stay.
Finally, Saint Louis is another UNESCO Heritage Site and sits on an island and spit at the mouth of the Senegal River. The colourful crumbling buildings and streets, reminiscent of a decaying France, have hardly been developed since colonial times. The sand spit holds a huge fishing industry with wonderful arc shaped boats lining the shore and hundreds of people busying themselves with their catches.
One final thought: Senegal is a truly exciting holiday destination, but probably best for the well-travelled as the ability to negotiate and communicate are essential tools in order to travel around this bustling country. The main roads are in reasonable condition, and, depending on where you go, accommodation can be both charming and also very basic. Like other parts of West Africa, a flexible attitude regarding your itinerary is required in this country where plans may change but we think this is all a part of the experience!
Did you know
- Wrestling is the traditional and national sport of Senegal
- More than 10 main ethnic groups live in Senegal
- The peanut is the most important local crop in Senegal