Come live the high life among the trendsetters south of the Sahara, where the fashionistas flock to Senegalese ‘Paris of the South’. Forget the azure seas and strips of gorgeous white beaches that surround the sunny Cape Vert Peninsula; Dakar is a feverish melting pot of exquisite colours and crafts, where Senegalese tribes jam with an international fraternity to create a sweet urban rhythm that simply leaves you breathless.
The Muslim influence is unmistakeable – from the daily calls to prayer to a widespread shunning of alcohol – but religion is secondary to tribal loyalties and there is a great deal of cultural tolerance. As such, there are also numerous different lifestyles and conflicting outlooks; the diversity of the people is one of the city’s main attractions. There’s plenty to keep the visitor entertained, from Senegalese drumming lessons to historical tours exploring the history of the slave trade, and you’ll rarely have a dull day.
Where to stay
Choice of hotels in Dakar is limited; the Terrou-Bi is probably the most modern, combining fresh décor and ambience with a range of facilities including free wifi. The Savana Jardin is a bit more dated but still serves as a stylish and peaceful haven from the chaos of the city outside.
Where to eat
La Fourchette is one of the most stylish restaurants but can be a little out of the way; Le Ngor has a great location on the beach; Restaurant Farid has a superb Lebanese menu.
What to see
Peaceful Goree Island, a well-preserved colonial haven that was once a centre of the slave trade, is a World Heritage Site; inside, the Maison des Esclaves (Slave House) Museum is fascinating. The African Arts Museum is also well worth a visit and there are plenty of beaches where you can unwind.