TRAVEL

With a brand new in­ter­na­tional air­port it’s even eas­ier to spend a week­end in the de facto chill cap­i­tal of West Africa

The Africa Report - - CONTENTS -

Dakar, the de facto chill cap­i­tal of West Africa

fri­day 9:00 AM

Start the day with break­fast at Layu Café (2), one-half of a bo­hemian cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories store. Or, for a fuller, more af­ford­able op­tion, step out into the streets. In true fran­co­phone fash­ion ev­ery­thing comes with bread: grab a baguette with fries and yassa (thick stewed onion sauce).

1:00 PM

Sene­gal is home to the world-fa­mous thiebou­di­enne, a dish that reap­pears all along the West African coast as jollof rice. The Pres­tige Miam Miam in Ouakam serves it as a great lunch op­tion with grilled or pan-fried fish that will set your palate alight.

3:00 PM

Tra­di­tional folk wrestling is so beloved of the Sene­galese that heavy­weights of the sport are na­tional celebri­ties, whose fame of­tens ex­tends to neigh­bour­ing Gam­bia. You can catch a tour­na­ment at the 60,000-ca­pac­ity Léopold Sé­dar Senghor Sta­dium and watch con­tes­tants drive the crowd wild, with marathon bouts of drum­ming and rit­u­als by marabouts part of the show. Grab some street food at the en­trance, where ven­dors sell dibi – skew­ered lamb roasted on open fires.

12:00 AM

The main par­ties hap­pen at the beaches, which sur­round Dakar on three sides. Noflaye beach in the N’gor area is the place to go. There are pas­sion­ate DJS, happy feet, cheap cock­tails and par­ties right next to the water that go on all night.

satur­day 4:00 PM

Buy a ticket for 500 CFA francs to ex­plore the Ile de Gorée (1); the re­turn jour­ney is free – just don’t miss the last boat back at 6pm. Be sure to visit the House of Slaves Mu­seum – a UN­ESCO World Her­itage Site – and linger at the Door of No Re­turn, a memo­rial to the mil­lions shipped off to slav­ery in the Amer­i­cas and Europe. Use the rest of the af­ter­noon to wan­der around the is­land’s en­chant­ing and nos­tal­gic spa­ces, where no cars dis­turb the calm of the cen­turiesold build­ings. If you do de­cide to stay for the night, dine at Chez Thio 1974 and raise a glass to the gen­tle sound of lap­ping waves.

sun­day 12:00 PM

Back in Dakar, on the city out­skirts is Collines des Mamelles, home to the African Re­nais­sance Mon­u­ment, a 49m-tall bronze statue com­mis­sioned by for­mer pres­i­dent Ab­doulaye Wade to mark the half-cen­tury of Sene­gal’s in­de­pen­dence in 2010. The lift to the view­ing plat­form costs 2,700 CFA francs, but the ex­pe­ri­ence at the top is glo­ri­ous.

4:00 PM

Time for an early sun­downer at La Mer à Ta­ble (3), for the best of Cape Verdean cock­tails. It’s a de­cent sea­side bar with a DJ dish­ing out Por­tuguese pop along­side rid­dims from Ja­maica, Latin Amer­i­can reg­gae­ton and Nige­rian Afrobeats.

7:00 PM

Last chance to try an­other of Dakar’s mouth­wa­ter­ing restau­rants. Praïnha Crêperie Grill in Al­madies has de­light­ful grilled fish fit for roy­als. Eromo Eg­be­jule in Dakar

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