For many visitors, Senegal is all about the beach. And with good reason; wide, white strands of sand are commonplace. However, the country has a wide variety of sights and sounds to further entice the casual visitor, making it the hip destination in West Africa. And there's wildlife, too. Not least in the country's jungled south, a region home to a significant population of chimpanzees. If you want to see these creatures first hand, however, you're better off heading to Rwanda or Uganda.
The capital Dakar is the country in miniature and represents Africa at its best. Nothing encapsulates Senegal's energy better than the thronging markets of Kermel and Sandaga, where shoppers and traders haggle over clothing, fruit and fabrics. The excellent Ifan Museum is home to a range of masks, statues, musical instruments and other regional artefacts.
St Louis, the former capital, is a vibrant city and a good place to experience mbalakh, the local modern music style. It also hosts a renowned annual jazz festival.
The Petite Côte stretches for around 150km and is amongst the best stretches of beach in the country. Around the deltas of the Casamance and Saloum Rivers, mangrove swamps, lagoons and creeks break up the beaches and are best explored on a pirogue.
In the south, Parc National de Niokolo-Koba is the place to head in search of hippos, baboons and buffalo as well as more than 300 species of bird. The Parc National des Oiseeaux de Djoudj though is the best bet for bird watchers and an important wetland sanctuary.
Escape to the tranquil Île de Gorée to escape Senegal's sensory overload; formerly a slaving station, this tiny island without roads or cars is a World heritage-listed island full of colonial buildings that have been converted into museums and sites of interest.
At a glance
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