Dakar Layover Tips For Flight Attendants | WOC
- Dakar is a city of extremes, where horse-cart drivers chug over swish highways and gleaming SUVs squeeze through tiny sand roads; where elegant ladies dig skinny heels into dusty walkways and suit-clad businessmen kneel down for prayer in the middle of the street. For the traveller, there’s much to discover, from peaceful islands just off-shore to vertiginous nightlife dancing to mbalax beats. You can spend your days browsing frenetic markets and taking in the sights of bustling downtown, followed by sunset drinks overlooking the crashing waves. At once both intimidating and deeply alluring, Dakar is a fascinating introduction to Senegal.
What to do in Dakar for 24h to 48h?
Places of Interest
Île de N’Gor
For a quick escape from the frenetic streets of Dakar, head to peaceful Île de N’Gor, a tiny island just off Dakar’s north shore. It has a few calm beaches on the bay side, and some legendary surf on the northern coastline.
Musée Théodore Monod
The is one of Senegal’s best museums. Exhibitions delve into African art and culture with over 9000 objects on display. Lively displays of masks and traditional dress from across the region (including Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Benin and Nigeria) give an excellent overview of styles without bombarding you with more than you can take in.
African Renaissance Monument
Allegedly Africa’s highest statue, the African Renaissance Monument was unveiled in 2010 to commemorate Senegal’s 50 years of independence from France. At 49m in height, it is taller than New York City’s Statue of Liberty and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.
A photogenic 1864 lighthouse graces the top of one of Dakar’s few hills. It’s worth making leisurely 20-minute walk, with sweeping views across the city and the water waiting at the top.
Plage de N’Gor
Plage de N’gor is a small beach popular with families and football-playing youths, and there are a few snack spots with tables on the sands. It’s not a bad beach, but there better options on Île de N’gor, which you can reach by pirogue (CFA500, 10 minutes) from here.
Plage de Yoff
of Dakar’s beaches, Yoff’s stretch of sand isn’t very clean. That doesn’t stop beach-goers and surfers who come for the consistent waves. Aside from a few beach shacks selling food and drink, there’s also a surf camp here.
Surrounded by sumptuous gardens and guards in colonial-style uniforms, the presidential palace was originally built for the colonial governors but now serves as the residence of the current sitting president. You can’t go inside but it’s a popular spot to take photos of the stately 1907 structure and its regal guards.
Where to Eat?
Le Lagon I
Perched on stilts over the bay, Le Lagon is one of Dakar’s top seafood spots, with a spread of culinary treasures – oysters, sea urchins, chargrilled fish, pastas with mixed seafood. You can dine outside on the breezy waterside deck, or in the classy dining room, amid hanging swordfish, brass sailing instruments and a vintage diving suit.
A block west of Pl de l’Indépendance, this inviting, colourful eatery is the whispered insider-tip for anyone in search of a filling platter of thiéboudienne (rice baked in a thick sauce of fish and vegetables). There’s also poulet yassa (grilled chicken in onion and lemon sauce), bissap juice (a purple drink made from water and hibiscus leaves), lively music and a good mix of locals and expats.
Estendera Vivier Beach
A charming little eatery with tables overlooking the crashing waves, Estendera has a small, well-executed menu of seafood, grilled meats and Italian plates. Start off with barracuda carpaccio, then move on to seafood tagliatelle, chicken with porcini mushrooms or oven-baked lasagne.
Where to Shop?
The covered Marché Kermel, behind Ave Sarraut and within walking distance of Marché Sandaga, sells a mixture of foodstuffs and souvenirs. It’s mainly worth visiting for the beautiful building that shelters its busy stalls.
Marché des HLM
The fabulous Marché des HLM is the best place to buy African fabrics. Hundreds of rolls of wax-dyed bazin cloth, vibrant prints, embroidered cloth, lace and silk lend colour to the ramshackle stalls and dusty streets of this popular quartier. You can get matching shoes, bags and jewellery at the same place, and even have your new ensemble sewn here.
In the endless sprawl of street stalls here you can buy just about anything (as long as no one steals your purse): you’ll find tapestries, wood carvings, wildly patterned clothing, beaded jewellery and original paintings, among many other things.
Night Life in Dakar!
Phare des Mamelles
On the hilltop in front of Dakar’s iconic lighthouse, this open-air bar draws a dance-loving crowd on Friday nights, when it hosts live music jams. On Saturday nights DJs rule the roost (the cover for either night is CFA5000). At the moment, the Phare is one of the best places to be on a weekend night.
Head upstairs to this stylish, open-sided drinking den near the beach for well-made cocktails, delicious sharing plates (including a tangy red tuna ceviche) and breezy views over the shore. There’s also a blackboard menu of well-executed dishes like grilled octopus. It draws a mostly expat crowd. Occasional nights of DJs and live jazz.
A great option in the Plateau, Calypso has a little of everything – sports matches on the big screen, billiards tables, happy-hour specials, Belgian beers and dance parties (from 10pm onwards). Generally draws a fun crowd.
Flight Attendants discounts in Senegal?
World Of Crew gets you a few awesome deals only for cabin crews in Senegal. Have a look into these and let us know if you manage to visit them during your layover!
Any Cool Experience to share in Dakar
How was your layover in Dakar? Did you discover any new places? If so, please do share these useful tips with your fellow cabin crew, by commenting below!
Have a great layover !
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