Sometimes dusty and often hot, the beauty of Dakar lies in its colorful markets, traditions, its Medina and the constant hum of traffic and Senegalese pop which throbs through the city. If you're looking for magnificent views, look no further than Les Mamelles where you can see the Cap-Vert Peninsula from above the only two hills in the area. From this vantage point, you can see the Atlantic, cityscape and the African Renaissance Monument (Monument de le Renaissance Africaine) which is bigger than the Statue of Liberty. Local and international music is very much a part of the local culture in the city and for the best in live local artists, a visit to Just 4 U, is a great choice.
The Medina is a series of streets laid out in grids. These narrow walkways offer a busy area where you can see the Grand Mosque and plenty of local color in the form of horse-drawn carts, stoves, open air food stalls and ones selling rugs, art and crafts and techno gadgets. For art and culture, head to the Institut Français to enjoy coffee in the gardens, film shows and exhibitions all year round. Good food is plentiful in Dakar from al fresco fare on Avenue Pompidou, where you can find fish, mutton skewers and rice at very low prices, to La Fourchette, where you can enjoy international cuisine.
Best Time to Fly to Dakar
The weather is generally warm all year round. The city has a hot, semi-arid climate which means the dry season is much longer than the rainy season. Rain falls from July to October and the rest of the year is dry. Between December and May the weather is warm but not hot with temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However from May to November the weather becomes hot with temperatures reaching 87 degrees. Sea breezes keep the city cooler than much of Africa, all year round. A variety of festivals occur throughout the year, so you might want to plan your vacation to take advantage of the International Arts Festival or traditional dance festival.
Some tourists avoid the area when it is very hot and others during the rainy season so it is possible to get good deals at this time of the year, but not guaranteed. Festival times will see higher accommodations and flight prices as will school vacation periods, the festive season, Islamic holidays and New Year. The rainy season still offers good weather but the rain may deter travelers and taking advantage of deals during this time is prudent.
Getting around Dakar
Taxis are an inexpensive and safe mode of transport and are available in all parts of the city. The bus system is another good way to get around but if you want to explore Dakar at your own speed, car rental is the best solution.