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The pink lake in Senegal is one of the most famous locations. (color of photo was enhanced greatly).

15 Awesome Things to Do in Senegal

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Senegal is the wildest country we've ever been to. From the chaotic city of Dakar, to small towns in the middle of nowhere, every minute here took us by surprise. There are so many fun things to do in Senegal, and we're excited to share them.

Swim in a pink lake, roam some sand dunes, or visit an island of sea shells. Senegal has truly unique experiences to offer those that are willing to stray off the beaten path. 

So let's jump right in, and explore all that this small Western African country has to offer! Here are 15 awesome things to do in Senegal.

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Things to Do in Senegal #1: Climb to the Top of Western Africa's Biggest Monument

The African Renaissance has to be one of the most breathtaking monuments that we have ever seen. The enormous sculpture depicts a man and woman holding up their baby in the air. The monument is significant to the entire continent of Africa, because it portrays the triumph of African liberation from racism, ignorance, and hate.

The bronze piece reaches 49 meters high, and is located on the top of one of the twin hills "Collines des Mamelles" in the capital of Dakar. Not only can you admire this beauty from the outside, but you can climb all the way up to the top inside. You'll see the most spectacular views of Dakar, making it one of the most epic things to do in Senegal.

African Renaissance Monument, Best things to do in Senegal

The African Renaissance Monument is one of the most powerful monuments in the world.

Want to get a tour around Dakar while you're at it? Here are a few different ones to choose from:

Things to Do in Senegal #2: Swim in a Pink Lake

Did you know that there are several lakes with pink waters around the world? One of them you can access just outside of  the capital in Senegal.

Lake Retba is found just off the Atlantic coast, about 30 minutes from Dakar. The lake is huge, and there are several different ways to enjoy it. The lake includes hotels, restaurants, and a few water activities. In addition, there are ATV rentals offered to explore the area.

pink lake in Senegal

The pink lake in Senegal is one of the most famous locations. (color of photo was enhanced greatly).

Note: The water is not always very pink. To find it at its most vibrant hue, you must go midday, when the sun is hitting from directly above.

Want to see another impressive pink lake? We also found one located in Torrevieja, Spain, and the water is even pinker!

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Want to book a tour to Lake Retba? Here are a few that you can choose from:

Things to Do in Senegal #3: Explore an Island from the African Slave Trade

Goree Island is one of the most historically significant places in Senegal, and is located just outside of Dakar. Being just a short ferry ride away from the capital, it is super easy to visit for a few hours, or a full day trip.

The Island of Goree has a sad history, as it is home to the famous "house of slaves". What was once a main hub for the Atlantic Slave trade, is now a museum to learn about the history of the island.

market on Goree Island
art on Goree island
Museum of SLaves, Goree Island

The Island of Goree has a sad history, but vibrant culture.

But Goree Island isn't just about slavery. It is also now home to colorful houses, talented artists, and local craft markets. It's a popular day trip from Dakar, where you can find families swimming in the turquoise waters, and having a relaxing day.

Want to know more about the Island of Goree? We have a full travel guide to share with you.

Visiting the Island of Goree is one of the best things to do in Dakar, Senegal. Just a ferry ride away from the capital, this island is the perfect spot for a day trip, or even a weekend getaway. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Goree Island.*Please

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Don't want to go on your own? No worries! Here are some tours that you can book to experience the island.

Spend a night at Goree Island:

Things to Do in Senegal #4: Learn to Surf at Ngor Island

Ngor Island is another great spot that you can easily take a day trip to from Dakar. Escape the chaos of the capital and take a short boat ride to this island paradise.

Ngor is the perfect place to learn how to surf, and has surf camps set up to enjoy the great waves of the island. A plus? You can also relax on the other side of the island where the water is calm, and is a type of natural pool.

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If you'd like to have your excursion set up ahead of time, here are a couple that we've found:

Things to Do in Senegal #5: Roam the Sand Dunes

Now let's escape the city and check out some of the other spots further from the capital. 

Just a couple of hours north of Dakar you can find a small desert called Lompoul. This is a cool change of scenery from the nearby beaches, and can be reached by tour or renting a car. Walk along the sand dunes and feel the soft sand, or go and enjoy a magical sunset.

Lompoul Desert in Senegal

These sand dunes are located in the desert of Lompoul, in the north of Senegal.

If you plan on driving make sure you have a 4x4! In order to reach here you will need to drive 20-30 minutes through a poorly marked sandy trail.

Don't have a car or 4x4 and want to experience this beautiful place? Here are a few of the different tours that you can choose from:

Things to Do in Senegal #6: Experience the Chaos of St. Louis

Head all the way to the north west corner of the country, and you'll find the vibrant and chaotic city of St. Louis. We don't mean city chaos, but the raw beauty of the wildness that is Senegal.

In St. Louis you'll find two small villages connected by a bridge, with the river on one side, and the Atlantic on the other. You'll see an array of brightly painted boats, hundreds of wild goats, and colorful buildings.

Children in Senegal
streets of St. Louis Senegal

St. Louis, Senegal is full of colorful buildings and friendly locals.

The small city of St. Louis isn't about site seeing, but just immersing yourself in the Senegalese lifestyle. Meet the local fisherman, inspire the young children, or just sit on the beach where the peace separates from the vibrant vibes inside town.

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If you don't want to rent a car, or want to simply visit St. Louis with a local, here are a few different options for organized tours:

Want to stay a night in St. Louis? Take a look at the map for the different accommodation options.

Things to Do in Senegal #7: Visit a Sacred City

This was one of the most memorable and magical experiences that we had in Senegal.

Touba is a city that is East of Dakar, and South of St. Louis. It is a land that is privately controlled by a religious leader, and home to the most impressive mosque in the country. It is truly breathtaking, and definitely one of the most special things to do in Senegal.

Touba Senegal

Touba is a sacred city in Senegal, with the most impressive mosque.

It is important to note that this is not a big tourist destination, and is purely a sacred city. You must be covered from head to toe to enter the mosque, and take off your shoes at the gate outside. There are no hotels in Touba, and there isn't anywhere that accepts credit card.

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Touba can be difficult to visit on your own, so we definitely suggest a tour for this one! Here are some of them that include Touba in the itinerary:

Things to Do in Senegal #8: Discover a Land of Salt Pools

Want to see one of the most spectacular sites in all of Senegal? Located in the tiny town of Palmarin near Fatick there are hundreds of colorful pools. These are naturally formed, and their bright hues come from the many minerals in the soil.

Note: The pools are only visible in the dry season. We went during the rainy season (summer) and all of the pools were overflowed and unable to be seen.

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Things to Do in Senegal #9: Walk Along an Island of Shells

Head to the small coastal town fo Fadiouth, and there is a tiny island connected. This protected area is home to a couple of mosques, a cemetery, and a beach full of shells.

Seashell beach in Senegal

In Fadiouth, there is a small island covered in seashells.

Want to check out this spot but aren't doing a road trip? Here are a few different tours that will bring you here:

Things to Do in Senegal #10: Take a Trip to Gambia

Did you know that there is actually a small country inside of Senegal? The tiny sausage shaped country can be visited on a day trip with a tour, or on your own by renting a car. If you want to go straight to Banjul you can take the ferry (and the car too).

Gambia is home to a lot of jungle, and an island full of chimpanzees. In order to visit you'll need to reserve with the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in advance, or take a boat tour from the town of Jakaba.

crocodile sanctuary in Gambia

in Banjul, Gambia you can get up close and personal with crocodiles.

Gambia has a few beaches, craft markets, a crocodile sanctuary, and some pretty fun nightlife in its capital. We suggest going and spending a day or two in Banjul, unless you have an organized visit to see the chimpanzees.

Most countries need a visa for Gambia, which can be paid in cash upon arrival, and is about $60 USD.

Want to know more about Gambia? We have a full article for everything to expect that you can check out below!

Have you ever thought to visit The Gambia? We know what you're thinking- why is it called The Gambia, and not just Gambia? Well we were thinking the exact same. The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, and is located completely inside the country of Senegal. When another small

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Visiting Gambia from Senegal can be kind of a hassle. That's why we chose a few different excursions over there to make it easier for you.

Things to Do in Senegal #11: Sail Around the Mangroves

Here's another great place to really enjoy the peacefulness of nature and greenery that Senegal has to offer. Delta du Saloum is a large nature reserve stretching across an area of 190,000 acres.

The national park is an island, and home to some fabulous plants, wildlife, and Baobab trees. You can also hire a boat to take you on a tour and sail around admiring the mangroves.

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Things to Do in Senegal #12: Chase Waterfalls

Want to experience a some jungle vibes? Well, head to Kedougo for a place you can really connect with nature. The whole region has great places to explore Senegal's best greenery. There are a few villages worth stopping by, particularly Dindefelo for its set of waterfalls.

Things to Do in Senegal #13: Sail to Casamance

This region of Senegal is known for its pristine beaches, deep forests, and chains of mangroves. Located all the way in the south of the country, you can fly here, or take an overnight ferry from Dakar to Ziguinchor.

Want to add Casamance to your list but aren't renting a car? Here is one tour that you could look into:

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Things to Do in Senegal #14: Have a Luxury Stay on a Coconut Grove

Want a little bit of luxury in your life? Well, head all the way to the south west of Senegal where all of the Europeans flock to.

Cap-Skirring is in the very bottom corner of the country, and is home to an airport, golf course, and large coconut grove. The area has beautiful beaches, a surf club, restaurants, and some fancier resorts. They even have a Club Med!

Take a look at the resorts in Cap Skirring:
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Senegal is a fascinating country, with tons of unique experiences awaiting. While many great things to do are located in the capital, there is a wide array of beautiful landscapes around for those that like to explore hidden gems, and lesser known places across the globe.

This country has a lot of beauty, but there is also a lot to know before visiting for the first time! Make sure to check out our full guide for visiting Senegal so that you are fully prepared for the wildness that is this Western African country.

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