Senegal is the western-most nation in Africa, stretching out into the Atlantic and bordered by Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Curiously, the tiny nation of Gambia lies entirely within Senegal's borders. As with most of Africa, Senegal was touched by the slave trade; traces of this sad history remain just offshore, on Gorée Island.
Dakar, capital of the Republic of Senegal, is a historic collection of 19 communes with a population of just over 1 million in the central area. Although seemingly trapped in an apparent economic struggle for its life, the city is a mix of striking contemporary architecture set off by historical colonial buildings. It reveals to you a vibrant city full of galleries, boutiques and street vendors offering everything from paintings, sculptures and crafts to colourful clothing and imported goods.
The ship is scheduled to dock at Mole I Port de Dakar. The city centre is less than a mile (.62 km). Taxis are generally available outside the main entrance of the port. We recommend establishing the fare with the driver before departing the port.
The Kermel, Sandaga and Soumbedioune Markets are located in the city centre. Leather articles, wood carvings, gold and silver jewellery, batiks and fabrics may be of interest. In some stores, low-key bargaining may get you a better price on big-ticket items. Store hours are generally from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The local currency is the CFA francs, but US dollars are generally accepted.
Try some of the "Tieboudiene" a typical Senegalese meal made of tomatoes, rice, fried fish and vegetables. You may also try the Poulet Yassa (chicken with rice) smothered with a sauce of onions and peanut oil. Local drinks are Bissap and Ginger.
The attractions of Dakar are covered on the organised excursions. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board.