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Dakar is the capital of Senegal and located on the tip of Western Africa. City was founded in 1857 by the French. Dakar gained importance from the completion of the railway linking it with the city of St Louis in 1885 then replacing St Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. A French commune until 1924, after which it became a dependency and in 1946 part of Senegal.
 
This is a modern town with a charming colonial center known for its handicrafts, textiles, silver-work and beaches. Senegal is a modern city of 1.5 million people. Home to beautiful contemporary buildings and some historical colonial houses. Cruise passengers will find open-air markets, terrace cafes, delicious cuisine and a great night life. Discover Dakar on foot by taking a walk along the ocean or the busy city streets. Art lovers will find plenty of galleries, artists' studios, museums, and festivals. Senegal is a shopper's paradise and exquisite crafts can be found in markets, and on the streets. This city by the beach offers all water sports as well as golf, tennis, biking, and more.

Once a French overseas territory, the friendly Dakar is a thriving seaport on Cape Verde Peninsula. A city where the skyscrapers are mixed with old colonial buildings, animated street markets, museums and art galleries.

Where do cruise ships dock?  
Cruise ships dock at Mole I Port de Dakar. The city center is less than a mile. Taxis are generally available outside the main entrance of the port. Establish the fare with the driver before departing the port and be prepared to be hassled at journeys end, over the previously agreed price, demanding more money.
 
Just a 20 minute ferry ride from the Port of Dakar is Goree Island. Once a focal point for the Atlantic slave trade and the original settlement from which Dakar developed in the middle of the last century. Stroll through the streets of Goree and experience the history of this region first hand. Buildings here are 200 years old, including the original Slave House. Visitors will enjoy the Historical Museum, which is housed in an old fort, and the Museum of Marine Life. Allow time for a stop in one of the charming cafes along the beach. Something you wont want to miss while in Goree is the former slave terminus. It was an active hub in the slave trade for 350 years, until slavery was outlawed in Senegal.

Dakar, capital of the Republic of Senegal, is a vibrant city of broad, tree-lined avenues, colorful open-air markets, inviting cafes and just a splash of French elan. Striking contemporary architecture is set off by historical colonial buildings, while a myriad of galleries, boutiques and street vendors offer everything from fine paintings, sculptures and crafts to colorful clothing and imported goods.

The markets are one thing you will want to see when in Dakar. There are many and they all have names. Some of the most popular include: the Kermel, with crafts, food, and flowers; Marche de la Gare, located at the railroad station, offering fabrics, beads, incense, and food from Mali; and the Soumbedouine, combining crafts with a fish market that opens in the evening. The largest market is the Sandaga. Here you will find plenty of fresh food, crafts, spices, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, electronics and much more. There is more to buy than one has time to buy it!
 
Tours/Excursions/Transportation:
Taxis. Cheap and safe and everywhere. Just don't mind the broken windshields. All taxi fares are negotiated beforehand and will require bargaining. If you're not from Senegal, you will probably have an outrageous price proposed, so check with locals before to get an idea of what they pay, in order to know what you will be able to get.
 

Attractions
Points of Interest and excursions that include these sights and activities
Ile de Goree
A small island which served as a depot for the West African Slave Trade. Today the island houses museums exploring slavery, and the women of Senegal.
Maison des Esclaves
The House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) is a museum and memorial to the West African Slave Trade on tiny IIe de Goree Island.

Lac Rose (Pink Lake)
Lake Retba or Lac Rose is named for its enchanting pink waters. The lake is also known for its high salt content, which, like that of the Dead Sea, allows people to float.
Grande Mosque
The Dakar Grand Mosque is one of the most prominent religious buildings in Senegal, and the home of dedicated Islamic research and teaching.
 
Deep-sea fishing:
Senegal offers some of the world's best sport fishing September through November. Blue Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, Barracuda and countless other species are found in abundance. Well-equipped Fishing Centers are located in Dakar, Saly, the Saloum Islands and the Casamance.
 
Hunting:
Pursue Africa's most exotic game, including lions, warthogs, antelopes, various small game animals and game birds on designated areas. Hunting season is from December to April.
 
Goree Island:
The really only "must see" in Dakar. A 25 min. ferry from the Dakar harbour. Approximately 10 million slaves were shipped to 'the new world' from there, most of them to Brazil, the Caribbean and some to the US. It is suggested that you hire a guide to avoid being hasseled.
 
The Slave House:

In Goree Island, an exhibition center made from a slave mansion. Offers moving displays of slave artifacts, and the old fortress looms over all, offering an idea of what it might have felt like waiting there to be shipped away.
 
Other museums on the island of Goree that are worth looking at: the African Art Museum, the Museum of the Sea, and the Musee de la Femme Henriette Bathily, or the museum of Senegalese women.
 
Nearby Places:
Gorée is known as the location of the House of Slaves (French: Maison des esclaves), built by an Afro-French Métis family about 1780–1784. The House of Slaves is one of the oldest houses on the island. It is now used as a tourist destination to show the horrors of the slave trade throughout the Atlantic world. It is rather easy to do on your own, without a ship tour--if you can get yourself over to the ferry (it's not that far from where the ship docks). You need about 3 hours--and watch the ferry times.
 
Shopping
Currency Carry cash in small denominations of the local currency (the Senegalese franc, known as the C.F.A.) and perhaps some American $1 bills. Credit cards and traveler's checks are of little use outside the hotels and are inconvenient for shopping on the street.
 
West African markets are a riot of noise, colour and haggling, from which you emerge spiritually enriched and not financially impoverished. Dakar's two finest are Marché Kermel and Marché des HLM.
 
Kermel, near the port, was originally built in the late 19th century and restored in 1997. This is where Dakarois do their food shopping. Cows are butchered in front of customers, langoustines and shrimp try to escape boxes, and fresh fruit and vegetables abound. Outside there are stalls selling an array of authentic handmade wood carvings.
 
Marché HLM, a couple of kilometres away in Grand Dakar, specialises in fabric – the more extravagantly colourful the better, in keeping with the local fashion. Fabric ranges from finest Malian waxed and beaten cloth imported from Bamako through to Mauritanian Arabic-style patterns. For a man's suit you need four-six metres, for women's dresses four metres. The best material costs up to £80 /  $124 for six metres (236 inch). It pays to search for a bargain.
 
Sandanga Market:
Sandanga lies roughly midway on Plateau center in Dakar and is the biggest of Dakar`s markets. If you are not familiar with African markets is worth a visit, but be careful with your valuables and do not be fooled to follow strangers. Sandanga is a mix of flea market and tourist market. It is fussy and chaotic and sellers are ongoing. Try to visit Sandanga early in the morning. It is less crowded at that time of day and fruits and vegetables are fresh and look attractive.
 
On the outskirts of Sandanga, on Lamine Gueye, is the fabric stores densely packed and it’s not as fussy as in the market itself. The fabric is in packs of many meters, but they are happy to divide them for you. The price is about 1000 CFA per meter, a little more if there are particular patterns or extra good quality – or if they think they can fool you because you are a foreigner!
 
Kermel Market:
Dakar has other markets that are quieter and in my opinion more exciting than Sandanga. Kermel Market is a little further south on the Plateau, near Novotel and Aveny Hassan II.
 
This is a must visit, one of the best of Dakar`s markets! In a beautiful circular building the fish traders has their place in the center. Then comes butchers in the next circle, vegetable and fruit dealers outside there together with florists. Outside the building you will find typical African souvenirs such as jewelry, masks and sculptures.
 
A walk around the market gives you a good idea of the various fish species and we discover fish types we’ve never seen before. People are nice and welcoming. The stalls outside the food market is a little fussier with many pushy sellers. We showed some interest in some sculptures, but the price that was first suggested was so high that we saw no point in starting to haggle. Later it was suggested a price to around one third of which was first mentioned, which confirmed our suspicion that bargain opportunity should be large.
 
Kermel Market was built in 1860 in Victorian style. The building burned down in 1994, but was gently restored and was completed in 1997 in all its glory.
 
Soumbedioune Village artisane:
Arts and crafts market in Dakar Medina, just south of Magic Land.
 
Special shops:
 
El-Hadji Ibra Thiam Antiquaire, 16 Rue Mohamed V.
Antique shop for masks and sculptures.
 
Arts Primitif Antiquite, Hotel Teranga, 3320 Place de l`Union
Antique shop for masks and sculptures.
 
I.F.A.N. Museum, Place Pascher
Antique shop for masks and sculptures.
 
La Calebasse, Restaurant Traditionelle Africain
Route des Mamelles
 
The restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor and everything is for sale; tables, chairs and other furnishing. On the ground floor is a shop with African masks and sculpture and the prices are not higher than at the market. The selection is huge and most goods are marked with country of origin.




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