Today, Senegalese people all over the world will celebrate senegal independence day, to mark the historic day in 1960 that the nation became independent from France after three centuries under colonial rule.
Senegal may be one of West Africa’s most popular destinations, best known for its musical culture, food and magnificent beaches, but there’s much more to this vibrant country than meets the eye. To join in celebration here are seven surprising places to visit in Senegal.
1. Lake Reba – Rufisque, Senegal
Also known as “Lac Rose,” this unique lake lies just north of the Cap Vert Peninsula of Senegal, northeast of Dakar. The princess pink waters of Lake Retba are deceptively inviting with their constant change of hues, with the most stunning pink shade appearing during the dry season. White beaches and sandy dunes call to tourists, film crews, and even play host to the finish line of the Dakar Rally – you want to catch the glorious sight.
2. The Great Green Wall of Africa – Dakar Senegal
Aptly named, Africa’s Green Wall is a manmade forest of drought-resistant trees stretching across the entire continent, acting as a living defence system erected to protect farmlands in Senegal. Nine miles wide and 4,750 miles long, the vision for the project is ambitious.
3. Fadiouth Shell Island – Mbour, Senegal
An island made out of shells looks as fantastical as it sounds, with each step you take accompanied by a muted crunching of hundreds of clam shells. Streets are covered in layer after layer, and the entire island is built on these millions of shells accumulated over the years.
The shells are incorporated seamlessly into everything in the town including the architecture. The second shell island connected to Fadiouth via a stilted wooden bridge, is the true gem of the area.
4. Langue de Barbarie – Ndieulé Mbam, Senegal
Just above the waters off Africa’s western coast, a tree seems to grow from the ocean floor on this strange strip of sand slowly being overtaken by the sea. Stretching south from Saint-Louis, the Langue de Barbarie National Park is a narrow peninsula of sand that has historically been the nesting ground for sea turtles and many species of migrating birds.
5. Joal-Fadiouth Fishing Port – Joal Fadiout, Senegal
Locals and tourists alike jockey for their share of the fresh catch at what is one of the most important fishing ports of Senegal, and the largest artisanal fishing port in West Africa. Like clockwork, the Joal-Fadiouth covered fish market is overwhelmingly crowded at five o’clock in the evening, when the fishermen get back from their pirogue adventures.
6. IFAN Museum of African Arts – Dakar, Senegal
One of the oldest and most prominent institutions dedicated to West African art and artefacts, l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire’s (IFAN Museum of African Arts) noteworthy collection presents an important glimpse into West African history and the visual cultures that comprise this region.
Ritual masks, instruments, clothing, weapons and other artworks and artefacts from Mali, the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, and beyond inhabit the this museum in the Senegalese capital.
7. Mosque of the Divinity – Dakar Senegal
Known as the Mosque of the Divinity (Mosquée de la Divinity), designed by the Architect Cheikh Ngom, this architectural gem and religious structure is a treat for curious travellers. It is characterized by two towering minarets offering unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. The sacred site was indeed built on a beach in the ancient fishing village of Ouakam outside Dakar, completed in 1997.
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