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Senegal's must-see attractions

First and foremost, Senegal is a warm country that offers a joyful and relaxed glimpse of Africa - especially in terms of schedules! And of course, it is dazzling in its cultural and natural diversity: in one trip, you will have the impression of living 100 of them. National parks, mangroves, ornithological reserves, beaches and seaside resorts with clear waters, pink lake, lush savannah, long almost deserted area, small traditional villages, holy city... Senegal is a unique destination where "teranga", hospitality, is omnipresent.

Dakar

Dakar, a crossroads between Africa and the West, is a dynamic and cosmopolitan capital that lives to the rhythm of an astonishing cultural mix. Constantly in turmoil, it has managed to preserve a touch of authenticity in the historic district of the Plateau and the popular districts of Medina, Yoff or Patte d'Oie. We will not miss to visit the great mosque, the cathedral of Dakar, the port, the Independence Square, the presidential palace and its many traditional markets. A short distance away is the famous Soumbédioune craft market, the imposing monument of the African Renaissance and the tip of the Almadies, three sites of great interest.

Saint-Louis

On the borders of the ocean, the desert and the Sahel, Saint-Louis was founded in the 17th century by sailors from Dieppe in honour of the King of France, Saint-Louis. Its inscription in UNESCO testifies to the richness of the historical heritage of the most beautiful city in Senegal. Horse-drawn carriage tours reveal its districts - most of which date back to colonial times - and continue to the famous monuments such as the Faidherbe Bridge, the Governor's Palace, the Cathedral and many mosques. We will also greet the beach of Hydrobase, a historic place where the fabulous transatlantic epics of Jean Mermoz's Aéropostale departed.

Casamance

Casamance is certainly one of the most beautiful regions in West Africa, between Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Its name is also that of the river that crosses it over 300 km, forming many bolongs: these small islands crossed by thousands of birds. In the heart of the land, the vegetation is lush, gratified by an exceptional flora: baobabs, cheesemakers, palm trees, eucalyptus, mango trees, papaya trees, mangroves... Forests, rice fields, mangroves, beaches and orchards: the varied landscapes shelter small traditional villages where the Diola ethnic group lives mainly.

Touba

Touba comes from the Arabic "tûbâ" which means "bliss, happiness", which means the sacred imprint that surrounds the city, the seat of the Muslim brotherhood of the Mourides. The Great Mosque of Touba is the building most visited by the faithful and tourists as well as the library that houses the writings of the city's founding father. Every year, the Grand Magal of Touba takes place, a huge pilgrimage that stands out from the rest for its joyful and festive character: it commemorates the departure in exile of the founder of the brotherhood, Sheikh Amadou Bamba, arrested because of his religious beliefs.

The pink lake

About forty kilometres from Dakar, the pink lake is a huge lagoon whose shades vary from pink to mauve depending on the sun's reflections. These variations are due to a high concentration of minerals and its high salt content allows you to float effortlessly in it like in the Dead Sea! There is no shortage of activities on the site: canoe rides, buggy, quad, dromedary, horseback riding, 4X4, visits to Fulani villages... But the most impressive is the spectacle of the scrapers who extract the famous pink salt.

Djoudj National Park

Djoudj Park is the third largest ornithological park in the world; 3 million birds pass through it every year, including 400 different species. Including part of the river and wooded savannah areas, the park covers 16,000 ha: a real paradise for pelicans, flamingos, purple herons, egrets, cormorants and other marabouts. The migration spectacle takes place between November and May, when birds become the roommates of jackals, hyenas, monkeys and gazelles.

Mbour

In the west of the country, MBour is the second largest port in Senegal, attracting big game fishing enthusiasts as its waters are full of swordfish, barracudas and blue marlin. Moreover, one of MBour's most beautiful shows is to attend the return of the fishermen around 5pm: hundreds of colourful canoes flock and unload in an incessant hubbub. Among other attractions, don't miss the fish market on the beach and a visit to the experimental ecological reserve of M'bour, a protected site since 1987.

Niokolo Koba Park

Covering an area of more than 900,000 hectares, Niokolo-Koba Park offers a rich and varied landscape where the most typical plant and animal species of the West African savannahs are concentrated. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and an international biosphere reserve, it is home to 350 bird species and 80 mammal species, including emblematic lions, leopards, elephants, antelopes, hippos and crocodiles. Many safaris are organized, especially between March and May, when the animals are the least shy.

Siné Saloum

An ornithological paradise, the Sine-Saloum delta surprises by the beauty of its languid landscapes along a gigantic mangrove swamp, at the confluence of the Siné and Saloum rivers. Classified as a World Biosphere Reserve, its Curriculum Vitae is impressive: 9 classified forests, 2 marine protected areas, 2 community nature reserves and 1 natural park. This magnificent region is home to exceptional flora and fauna that can be discovered in a local canoe. It is also an opportunity to greet the inhabitants of the region, including the Serer and Mandingo ethnic groups, who live to the rhythms of ancestral traditions.

The beaches

With its 700 km of coastline, Senegal has many beaches, some of which are prepared as coveted seaside resorts. The largest is the famous Saly-Portudal which has long beaches lulled by the Atlantic Ocean and animated by many water sports. The beaches of Gorée and Les Almadies are the most family-friendly, because their bays and dikes protect them from the waves; the beach of Ngor-Village is the most lively, because it is very popular with young people in summer! The Lebou village of Ouakam offers you two natural bays on the cliffside that benefit from magnificent scenery... Make your choice!

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