Is it too late to say Happy New Year?
I know what you are going to say, I know.
<b>Reason(s) for not blogging and being inconsistent.</b>
<h1>Refer to point 1</h1>
*Tucks in my nerdy self*
Do you guys realize that when people say West Africa, countries like Nigeria, Ghana comes to mind. Due to their rich culture, population, music, jollof rice etc. Countries like Senegal are equally thriving as well and they get a lot visitors. Even the history of Jollof Rice starts from Senegal and The Gambia (who knew that?).
Last year, I was in Senegal for work and I was able to go round the city for about 12 hours before I finally left for home. First thing I noticed on arriving Dakar at 1am was that, it was HOT. Like 35 ℃/40 ℃ hot. Even at midnight, it was HOT (ahan). I have stayed in Abuja for over 20yrs and I know its usually hot during the day but it gets cooler at night.
Prior to now, Senegal wasn’t really on my to-go list and all but when work decided to take me there. I was happy *really happy* I got to visit it.
Places to visit in Senegal
The island of Gorée lies off the coast of Senegal, opposite Dakar. From the 15th to the 19th century, it was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast. Ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, its architecture is characterized by the contrast between the grim slave-quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders. Today it continues to serve as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.
The painful memories of the Atlantic slave trade are crystallized in this small island of 28 hectares lying 3.5 km off the coast from Dakar. Gorée owes its singular destiny to the extreme centrality of its geographical position between the North and the South, and to its excellent strategic position offering a safe haven for anchoring ships, hence the name “Good Rade”. Estimates by Patrick Manning are that about 12 million slaves entered the Atlantic trade between the 16th and 19th century, but about 1.5 million died on board ship. About 10.5 million slaves arrived in the Americas.
Many of colonial buildings require repairs and renovation. However rules guiding structural integrity of heritage sites by UNESCO prohibits work from being done. Except in rare cases such as the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda, which were destroyed by fire in 2010, UNESCO gave provisional approval for reconstruction, on condition that the new structure was based on sound documentation, traditional forms and techniques and continuing use.
The streets of Goree Island are adorned with beautiful flowers and colorful structures. This raises the question “Why is Badagry underdeveloped today?”. Badagry is another important slave route like Elimina Castle in Ghana. You hardly hear of Badagry and pictures of the place shows degradation. Have we forgotten our history? Are we afraid of telling our stories? I haven’t visited Badagry before and I hope to visit it someday.
La Maison des Esclaves
It contains the famous Door of No Return, and provides a moving idea of the terrible conditions and situation facing slaves waiting to be shipped to the new world. It’s a place of so much history and it shows the horrors of the slave trade throughout the Atlantic world. If you are interested in the history of slaves between Europe and Africa, then this place is a must see.
Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine
It is the tallest statue in Africa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is a 49 meter tall bronze statue located on top of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles, outside of Dakar, Senegal.
Fun Fact: It is taller than the 151-foot Statue of Liberty in New York.
Imagine climbing 150+ steps under 40 ℃ weather. Luckily, if you want to get to the top of the monument there is an elevator which takes you to the top and the view would be AMAZING!!! There is also a mini museum/exhibition at the base of the monument which showcases how the monument was built, the different ethnic groups of Senegal. There are also statues showcasing the past and present way of life in Senegal.
Mosque of the Divinity
The Mosque of the Divine was built by Mohamed Gorgui Seyni Guèye (1926–2007), a holy man who claimed to see the mosque in a dream. He followed the dream to the beach on June 28, 1973, where he received an order from the Lord to build it. The Divinity Mosque over looks the Atlantic Ocean.
A bit about Senegal
The capital city, Dakar, is home to many different ethnicities, cultural centers, art galleries, museums, and other traditional and cultural institutions. The largest group of people in Dakar is the Wolof. They make up about 35 percent of the population. Almost three quarters of the population of Senegal speaks Wolof language.
If you are interested in cooking your food or renting your apartment, you can rent apartments for $40 per night and above. Hotels are a bit on expensive here in Dakar. I stayed at Yaas Hotel, a budget hotel (not worth the price to be honest). My room was hot at night and it didn’t come with a fridge.
Senegalese cuisine stands out for its distinct cultural influences—most notably from various ethnic groups (especially the dominant, native Wolof), Europe (particularly France; this was a French colony until 1960), and North Africa—and its mastery of local ingredients, seafood, millet, and groundnuts (peanuts) chief among them. I tried the Wolof Rice and I didn’t particularly enjoy it tbh.
P.S. Jumia Food works here and they deliver late at night too.
The following airlines flies to Dakar:
- Arik Airlines – Be prepared for the strange flying times.
- Asky Airlines – More like a molue (layover in various countries)
Entry is free for ECOWAS States such as Nigeria, Ghana etc.
Have you visited Senegal before? How was your experience? Do you intend visiting Senegal someday? My next post would be on exploring the city of Nairobi…