5 Extraordinary Day Trip Destinations From Dakar

While Dakar is a vibrant and bustling city full of culture, history, and excitement, sometimes it’s nice to escape the city and explore the beautiful countryside of Senegal. Fortunately, there are many amazing day trip destinations from Dakar that offer incredible experiences and breathtaking sights. From pink lakes and stunning beaches to historic islands and desert dunes, here are 5 extraordinary day trip destinations from Dakar that are sure to take your breath away.

You can also read our article The Ultimate Senegal Trip: How Many Days To See It All

1. Goree Island

day trip destinations for dakar

I definitely advise taking a ferry to Goree Island if you’re in Dakar and seeking for a distinct and entertaining day excursion. After a brief ride, you’ll be whisked away to a different era and location. It is simple to understand why Goree Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island has a long and complicated past that includes its role as a significant slave trading hub.

While you explore the island’s museums and historical sites, you can discover more about this terrible chapter in Senegal’s history. One of the most serious and moving sights is the House of Slaves, which has been transformed into a museum and monument for the numerous Africans who were taken as slaves from this same island and sent to the Americas.

Yet Goree Island is more than just a site with interesting history. It’s also a lovely, tranquil getaway. There are fascinating lanes to explore as well as quaint colonial-style structures lining the island’s winding pathways. You may escape the heat by unwinding on one of the island’s lovely beaches or taking in the breathtaking sea views.

How Far Is Goree Island From Dakar?

Goree Island is located in Senegal and is just off the coast of the country’s capital city, Dakar. Specifically, Goree Island is located about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the mainland of Dakar, and it can be reached by a short ferry ride from Dakar’s port. The ferry ride takes approximately 20 minutes, making Goree Island a popular day trip destination for visitors to Dakar.

Budget For Day Trip To Goree Island

For mid-range travelers, a day trip to Goree Island it´s about 30 USD. A relatively affordable excursion. But let´s break down costs. The cost of a round-trip ferry ride from Dakar to Goree Island is approximately $9 USD per person, and the ferry departs from the port of Dakar several times a day.

Visitors can explore a number of historical sites and museums on the island, including the House of Slaves, a museum dedicated to the victims of the slave trade. The normal entrance price for these locations is between 2,000 and 5,000 CFA francs ($4 to $9 USD) per person. 

Additional expenses to consider include meals and souvenirs. There are many restaurants and cafes on the island that offer a range of cuisine at varying price points, from traditional Senegalese dishes to international cuisine. For those looking for a budget-friendly option, street vendors sell snacks and beverages at affordable prices. Souvenirs can also be purchased from vendors throughout the island, with prices varying depending on the item and bargaining skills.

goree island

Best Restaurant On Goree Island

The best restaurant on Goree Island is definitely Chez Tonton Depuis 1949, which is known for its delicious seafood and stunning views of the ocean. Prices at Chez Loutcha are mid-range, with main dishes ranging from 8,000-15,000 CFA francs (around $15-28 USD).

The grilled fish and seafood platters at Chez Loutcha are highly recommended since they come with a selection of fresh seafood, including fish, shrimp, and lobster.

Read 10 Hidden Beach Paradises in Senegal You Need to Visit

Best Hotel On Goree Island

Consider staying on the island overnight to fully immerse yourself in its history and culture. If you want to stay at least one night on the island, staying at the Hotel Madamel is the best option.

The island’s geographic center is home to this stunning hotel, which offers comfortable, tastefully equipped rooms at an affordable rate. The accommodations are wonderful since they are decorated in the typical Senegalese manner, with vibrant colors and local artwork adorning the walls.

Expert Tip

Be mindful of the risk of high heat and humidity on the island while making travel plans, particularly in the summer. On your list of appropriate clothing to carry, put hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and light, breathable clothing.

COOL FACT: Today, Goree Island is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of the African diaspora, attracting visitors from around the world who come to learn about its complex history and cultural significance.

2. Pink Lake

pink lake in senegal

Senegalese tourists frequently take day trips to Pink Lake, sometimes called Lake Retba. The lake is conveniently located near Dakar, the nation’s capital, and offers travelers a one-of-a-kind and stunning natural attraction to explore.

One of the most popular things to do while spending the day at Pink Lake is a boat excursion. Joining one of these tours allows visitors to explore the lake’s gorgeous pink waves and take in the breathtaking scenery. Many local companies offer guided tours that take you around the lake while educating you on its geology, history, and distinguishing characteristics.

Swimmng is another enjoyable activity to take part in while visiting Pink Lake for the day. The lake is safe for people to swim in despite having too much salt for most fish to live. Swimmers may freely float on the water’s surface due to the water’s incredible buoyancy caused by the high salt content. Because the salt can be fairly drying on the skin, make sure to clean off after your swim.

How Far Is Pink Lake From Dakar?

Pink Lake, also known as Lac Rose, is located in Senegal, not far from the country’s capital city of Dakar. Specifically, Pink Lake is located about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Dakar.

The drive from Dakar to Pink Lake takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic conditions. Additionally, there are various tours and excursions available that offer transportation to and from Pink Lake as well as a guided experience of the lake and surrounding areas.

Budget For Day Trip To Pink Lake

One of the biggest costs for your day trip to Pink Lake will definitely be the cost of transportation. Budget between 20,000 and 30,000 CFA francs (between $35 and $50 USD) for a round-trip taxi from Dakar. Public transportation and shared minibuses are cheaper ($3.50 to $5.00 USD) but could take longer and be less pleasant options.

There are several activities one can do while visiting Pink Lake for the day. The cost of a boat excursion, which is a popular alternative, is from 5,000 to 10,000 CFA francs (about $9 to $18 USD) per person. However, you can rent flotation equipment for a little bit extra if all you want to do is swim in the lake.

pink lake in senegal

Best Restaurant On Pink Lake

Around Pink Lake, there are a number of eateries that provide both domestic and foreign cuisine. It’s challenging to pick just one “best” restaurant, though, as this can rely on personal preference and taste.

Le Calao, a famous eatery with a lovely lake view next to Pink Lake, serves a range of seafood dishes. Le Poulet d’Or is another choice; it specializes on grilled chicken and serves a variety of regional and international cuisines.

Best Hotel On Pink Lake

The most popular option is the Hotel Cabane du Pecheur, which offers spacious rooms with private balconies overlooking the lake, as well as a swimming pool and a restaurant serving local and international dishes.

Another option is the Hotel du Lac Rose, which features elegant bungalows, a restaurant with lake views, and a spa offering massages and other treatments.

Expert Tip

Take precautions against the scorching sun and high lake salinity. Due to an abundance of salt-loving microorganisms, Lake Retba is well renowned for its gorgeous pink waters. This implies that the lake has a high concentration of salt, which might be bad for the skin and eyes.

The lake’s pink hue is not continuous and might change depending on the time of year. The lake’s high salt content reacts with sunlight to generate a vivid pink tint, which is most noticeable during the dry season, which lasts from November to June. The lake’s water level rises and the salt content is diluted during the rainy season, which lasts from July to October, causing the pink tint to deteriorate.

3. Bandia Reserve

bandia reserve

Traveling to Bandia Reserve on a day trip from Dakar is an incredible experience that any nature lover would not want to miss. The Bandia Reserve is located approximately 65 km from Dakar, and it is a protected wildlife reserve covering an area of over 3,500 hectares. The reserve is home to a diverse array of animals, including giraffes, zebras, buffalos, antelopes, monkeys, and various bird species.

The safari tour, which gives you the chance to get up up and personal with giraffes, is one of the highlights of this day trip. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to observe these magnificent animals as they glide through the savannah. Also possible are sightings of zebras, buffalo, and, if you’re lucky, a lion or two, grazing in their natural habitats.

How Far Is Bandia Reserve From Dakar?

Popular wildlife preserve Bandia Reserve is situated in Senegal, 65 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Dakar, the country’s capital. Depending on traffic, it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to get from Dakar to the reserve, which is close to the town of Saly.

Budget For Day Trip To Bandia Reserve

A day trip to the Bandia Reserve from Dakar can be done on a budget. The estimated cost for a round-trip shared taxi is 10,000 CFA francs (approximately $18 USD) per person, while the entrance fee to the reserve is 15,000 CFA francs (approximately $27 USD) per adult.

Then, we have other costs like the guided safari tour, including transportation within the reserve, which is approximately 30,000 CFA francs (approximately $54 USD) for a group of up to six people. Lunch at the reserve’s restaurant will cost between 5,000-10,000 CFA francs (approximately $9-$18 USD) per person, depending on your choice of meal and drinks.

The cost of souvenirs will vary depending on what you choose to buy. Overall, the estimated cost of a day trip to the Bandia Reserve from Dakar for one person would be around $70-$100 USD.

bandia reserve

Best Restaurant On Bandia Reserve

There is a restaurant on the Bandia Reserve’s grounds that serves a variety of local and international cuisine. Fish that is freshly caught in the adjacent Sine Saloum Delta and served grilled or fried is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

The dining establishment is situated in a stunning area with a view of the savannah in the reserve and a watering well where animals frequently gather to drink. Depending on the cuisine and beverages you choose, a supper typically costs between 5,000 and 10,000 CFA francs (between $9 and $18) per person.

Best Hotel On Bandia Reserve

The Lodge du Delta is among the top lodging options on the Bandia Reserve. It is well recognized for its stunning location. In addition to being surrounded by mangroves and wildlife, the hotel is located on the Saloum River’s banks.

Standard rooms cost between 90,000 and 130,000 CFA francs (about $165 and 235 USD) per night, while suites and luxurious accommodations can go for as much as 200,000 CFA francs (around $365 USD) every night. This is in case you want to stay on the reserve.

Expert Tip

To increase your chances of spotting the wildlife, visit early in the morning. The reserve might become crowded later in the day because the animals are usually more active during the cooler parts of the day.

COOL FACT: The Derby eland, a distinctive and endangered species of antelope, can be found there. The largest antelope species in the world, the Derby eland is distinguished by its black colour and unusual spiral-shaped horns. Due to conservation initiatives like those at Bandia Reserve, the population of the animal, which was formerly thought to be endangered due to overhunting and habitat destruction, has since stabilized.

4. Saly Beach

saly beach

Saly Beach is a fantastic substitute for a relaxed day trip from Dakar. a popular vacation spot with sandy beaches and warm water. It’s great that it’s so near to the capital city. South of Dakar, by about 80 miles. If you want culture, you can also visit M’bour, a small village well renowned for its thriving market and ancient fishing boats.

Budget For Day Trip To Saly Beach

A day trip to Saly Beach from Dakar can be done on a budget, with costs varying depending on the mode of transportation and activities you choose. Taking a shared taxi or public bus is the most cost-effective option, with round-trip costs ranging from 4,000-6,000 CFA francs per person.

Private car or hired driver options can cost around 25,000-30,000 CFA francs for the day. Food and drink expenses can be kept reasonable by choosing from one of the many beachfront restaurants or cafes, with meals costing approximately 5,000-15,000 CFA francs per person.

Activities such as jet skiing or parasailing can be added to your budget, costing around 15,000-30,000 CFA francs per person. Overall, a day trip to Saly Beach can be done on a budget, with estimated costs ranging from 30,000-70,000 CFA francs (approximately $55-$130 USD) per person depending on your choices.

Best Restaurant On Saly Beach

Seafood enthusiasts must go to the restaurant L’Echo Cotier, which is just on Saly Beach. This restaurant is ideal for a special occasion or a romantic evening because of its breathtaking ocean views and mouthwatering seafood delicacies. Expect to pay between 10,000–20,000 CFA francs (roughly $18–$36 USD) per person for a meal, while costs can vary based on the menu items chosen.

saly beach

Best Hotel On Saly Beach

One of the top hotels in Senegal, the Lamantin Beach Hotel is a great choice if you want to splash out on luxury while visiting Saly Beach. A night at the Lamantin Beach Hotel can cost between 100,000 and 200,000 CFA francs (about $180 and $360 USD) depending on the time of year and the type of room selected.

How Far Is Saly Beach From Dakar?

Senegal’s Saly Beach is situated 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Dakar, the nation’s capital. Depending on traffic, it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to go from Dakar to the beach.

If you travel by public transport, you need to be aware of prices. On average, the cost of a one-way trip on a public bus or a shared taxi is approximately 2,000-3,000 CFA francs (approximately $3.5-$5.5 USD) per person.

Expert Tip

While Saly Beach is generally considered safe, like any tourist destination, it can attract pickpockets and other petty criminals. Be sure to keep your valuables secured and avoid displaying large amounts of cash. Additionally, be cautious when accepting offers for tours or transportation from strangers, and only use licensed and reputable companies.

DID YOU KNOW? Wealthy Europeans, including well-known authors and artists like Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, used to flock to Saly Beach.

5. Joal-Fadiouth


A visit to Joal-Fadiouth for the day is a special and unforgettable adventure. The colorful culture and stunning natural beauty of this quaint fishing community on Senegal’s Petite Côte are well-known. The artificial island of Fadiouth, which is fully constructed on a base of oyster shells, is one of Joal-most Fadiouth’s notable features. In order to explore the island’s winding lanes and ancient homes, visitors can take a boat excursion there.

How Far Is Joal-Fadiouth From Dakar?

About 115 kilometers (71 miles) southeast of Dakar, the nation’s capital, is the small Senegalese village of Joal-Fadiouth. Depending on traffic, the trip from Dakar to Joal-Fadiouth takes between 2 and 2.5 hours. The hamlet is situated along a section of coastline called the Petite Cote, which is well-known for its picturesque beaches and fishing communities.

Budget For Day Trip To Joal-Fadiouth

You can go to Joal-Fadiouth by yourself using a bus or a shared taxi as your mode of public transportation. A bus ticket from Dakar to Joal can cost as little as 2,000 CFA francs (about $3.5 USD) per person, while a shared taxi can cost as little as 3,000 CFA francs per person (approximately $5 USD). You may get around Joal by walking or by renting a bike or a scooter. Moreover, lunch may cost anywhere from $5 to $15 USD.


Best Restaurant On Joal-Fatiouth

One aspect of Joel Fatiouh that I especially appreciate is the abundance of neighborhood restaurants and street food stands where you can sample regional specialties like thieboudienne (fish and rice) and yassa poulet (chicken in onion sauce).

Best Hotel On Joal-Fatiouth

Hotel Le Calao is a popular choice for travelers visiting Joal-Fadiouth. Located near the beach, this hotel offers comfortable rooms starting from around $30 per night, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving both local and international cuisine.

Expert Tip

Have comfortable shoes if you’re considering a day trip to Joal-Fadiouth because there will be a lot of walking, especially when you explore the confined lanes and streets of Fadiouth Island.

Joal-Fadiouth is home to one of the largest collections of seashells in the world. The village of Fadiouth is built on an island made entirely of seashells that have been accumulated over the centuries by the local fishermen. This unique island is accessible by a wooden footbridge and is a popular attraction for visitors who come to see the colorful shells and learn about the traditional fishing practices of the local community.

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