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Dakar is the capital and largest city in Senegal with about 1 million people living in the city itself and over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area. It is one of the biggest cities in West Africa and the cultural, economic and industrial heart of the country. It is located at the most western tip of the country at the Cape Verde Peninsula along the Atlantic coastline. Although Dakar itself is not without its own attraction, it mostly is a very chaotic and busy place. The hustle and bustle is one of its attractions, and just off the coast is Gorée Island where many slaves were transported to the New World.



Sights and Activities

Île de Gorée

Gorée is an island, and the smallest district, in the city of Dakar. This island has a very large fort on it that was important to trade, although not the slave trade. The island was originally settled in the 15th century because the Europeans needed a place they could defend. With the lack of a natural water source no natives lived on the island, therefore the island made a prefect place to build a fort. The island is home to the House of Slaves (Maison des esclaves), which is one of the oldest houses on the island and also a good museum that shows the horrors of the slave trade.

Dakar Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque of Dakar is one of the most important religious buildings in Dakar. Designed by French and Moroccan architects, this mosque has inspired many followers of Islam. It was originally opened in 1964 and its square minaret rises to 67 meters. Institut islamique de Dakar is located next door to the mosque and has been a major centre for Islamic research and teaching since 1974. A new library was opened in 2004.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Markets - Explore the street life of Dakar by visiting many of its wonderful and crazy markets.



Events and Festivals

Senegal Independence Day

Senegal celebrates its independence day on April 4, the day the territory first became independent from France as part of the short-lived Federation of Mali. Schools are closed for two weeks and most Senegalese spend this national holiday visiting family and friends. Drill teams and color guards from Senegal’s military and police forces march down Dakar’s streets during Senegal’s largest Independence Day parades.

Dak’Art Biennale

This colorful Dakar festival may only take place once every other May, but it is well worth the wait. The festival attracts contemporary artists from throughout Africa, who display their paintings, sculptures, and other masterpieces in galleries and venues across Senegal’s capital.

Festival International du Film de Quartier

Each December, Dakar hosts Senegal’s largest film festival, originally created in 1999 as a showcase for Media Centre of Dakar production trainees. Today, filmmakers from across Senegal can have their productions screened at restaurants, museums, and other centers of culture throughout Dakar. Many Dakar institutions mount special screens during the festival.




Dakar has a hot and humid tropical climate with temperatures well over 30 °C during the day most of the year. Night temperatures are above 20 °C but can drop below more inland, although it rarely gets colder than 15 °C. The rainy season lasts from June to October with most rain falling from mid-July to September.
Although on average the months of February to April are coolest, because of heath in the east, with winds blowing from the east, temperatures in these months can rise to over 40 °C in Dakar, but these days are rare and sometimes only last for several hours during a certain day!



Getting There

By Plane

Dakar-Yoff-Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (DKR) receives all international flights, among which those with Air Senegal International, the national airline of the country. International flights include Abidjan, Bamako, Banjul, Bissau, Casablanca, Conakry, Cotonou, Lomé, Lyon, Marseille, Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Paris and Praia in Cape Verde. About 20 other airlines have flights to and from Dakar as well, including South African Airways (Johannesburg), Brussels Airlines (Brussels), Air France to Paris and airlines like those from Kenya and Saudi Arabia. Others are mainly within the West African region.


Theoretically, a weekly train travels between the capitals Dakar and Mali. The train is supposed to leave Dakar on Saturdays around 10am, arriving in Bamako just under 48 hours later. Because of works on the railway, the train now (since 2008) leaves every 8 or 9 days and there is no fixed schedule at the moment, so ask around in Dakar when the next train is supposed to leave.





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Keep Connected


See also International Telephone Calls


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 14.68667
  • Longitude: -17.45191

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This is version 15. Last edited at 9:41 on Aug 9, 16 by Utrecht. 32 articles link to this page.

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