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Dakar
Ville de Dakar
Skyline of Central Dakar

Coat of arms
City of Dakar, divided into 19 communes d'arrondissement
Dakar is located in Senegal
Dakar
Location within Senegal
Coordinates: 14°41′34″N 17°26′48″W / 14.69278°N 17.44667°W / 14.69278; -17.44667Coordinates: 14°41′34″N 17°26′48″W / 14.69278°N 17.44667°W / 14.69278; -17.44667
Country  Senegal
Région Dakar
Département Dakar
Settled 15th century
Communes d'arrondissement
Government
 - Mayor Khalifa Sall (2009)[1] (BSS/PS)
 - Regional president Abdoulaye Wade (since 2002)
Area [2]
 - City 82.38 km2 (31.8 sq mi)
 - Metro 547 km2 (211.2 sq mi)
Population (December 31, 2005 estimate)[3]
 - City 1,030,594
 Density 12,510/km2 (32,400.8/sq mi)
 Metro 2,452,656
 - Metro Density 4,484/km2 (11,613.5/sq mi)
  Data here are for the administrative Dakar région, which matches almost exactly the limits of the metropolitan area
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
Website http://www.dakarville.sn
For the Dakar Rally, see Dakar Rally. For the Israeli submarine, see INS Dakar. For the capital of Bangladesh, see Dhaka.

Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula, on the country's Atlantic coast. It is Senegal's largest city. Its position, on the western edge of Africa (it is the westernmost city on the African mainland), is an advantageous departure point for trans-Atlantic and European trade; this fact aided its growth into a major regional port.

According to December 31, 2005 official estimates, the city of Dakar proper has a population of 1,030,594, whereas the population of the Dakar metropolitan area is estimated at 2.45 million people.[3]

Dakar is a major administrative centre, home to the National Assembly of Senegal and Senegal Presidential Palace.

Contents

History

Dakar in 1850.
Dakar in 1888.

The Cape Verde Peninsula was settled, no later than the 15th century, by the Lebou, an ethnic group related to the neighboring Wolof and Sereer. The original villages: Ouakam, Ngor, Yoff and Hann, still constitute distinctively Lebou neighborhoods of the city today. Meanwhile, in 1444, the Portuguese arrived on the island of Gorée and founded a settlement there. By 1536, they had begun using it as a base for the export of slaves. The mainland of Cap-Vert, however, was under control of the Jolof Empire, as part of the western province of Cayor which seceded from Jolof in its own right in 1549. A new Lebou village, called Ndakarou, was established directly across from Gorée in the 17th century to service the European trading factory with food and drinking water. Gorée was captured by the United Netherlands in 1588, which gave it its present name (spelled Goeree, after Goeree-Overflakkee in Holland). The island was to switch hands between the Portuguese and Dutch several more times before falling to the English under Admiral Robert Holmes on January 23, 1664, and finally to the French in 1677. Though under continuous French administration since, Métis families, descendant from Dutch and French traders and African wives, dominated the slave trade. The infamous "House of Slaves" was built here in 1776.

In 1795 the Lebou of Cape Verde revolted against Cayor rule. A new theocratic state, subsequently called the "Lebou Republic" by the French, was established under the leadership of the Diop, a Muslim clerical family originally from Koki in Cayor. The capital of the republic was established at Ndakarou. In 1857 the French established a military post at Ndakarou (which they called "Dakar") and annexed the Lebou Republic, though its institutions continued to function nominally. The Serigne (also spelled Sëriñ, "Lord") of Ndakarou is still recognized as the traditional political authority of the Lebou by the Senegalese State today.

The slave trade was abolished by France in February 1794. However, Napoleon reinstated it in May 1802, then finally abolished it permanently in March 1815. Despite Napoleon's abolition, a clandestine slave trade continued at Gorée until 1848, when it was abolished throughout all French territories. To replace trade in slaves, the French promoted peanut cultivation on the mainland. As the peanut trade boomed, tiny Gorée Island, whose population had grown to 6,000 residents, proved ineffectual as a port. Traders from Gorée decided to move to the continent and a "factory" with warehouses was established in Rufisque in 1840.

Large public expenditure for infrastructure was allocated by the colonial authorities to Dakar's development. The port facilities were improved with jetties, a telegraph line was established along the coast to Saint-Louis and the Dakar-Saint-Louis railway was completed in 1885, at which point the city became an important base for the conquest of the western Sudan.

Gorée, including Dakar, was recognised as a French commune in 1872. Dakar itself was split off from Gorée as a separate commune in 1887. The citizens of the city elected their own mayor and municipal council and helped send an elected representative to the National Assembly in Paris. Dakar replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. A second major railroad, the Dakar-Niger built from 1906–1923, linked Dakar to Bamako and consolidated the city's position at the head of France's West African empire. In 1929, the commune of Gorée Island, now with only a few hundred inhabitants, was merged into Dakar.

Urbanization during the colonial period was marked by forms of racial and social segregation—often expressed in terms of health and hygiene—which continue to structure the city today. Following a plague epidemic in 1914, the authorities forced most of the African population out of old neighborhoods, or "Plateau", and into a new quarter, called Médina, separated from it by a "sanitary cordon". As first occupants of the land, the Lebou inhabitants of the city successfully resisted this expropriation. They were supported by Blaise Diagne, the first African to be elected Deputy to the National Assembly. Nonetheless, the Plateau thereafter became an administrative, commercial, and residential district increasingly reserved for Europeans and served as model for similar exclusionary administrative enclaves in French Africa's other colonial capitals (Bamako, Conakry, Abidjan, Brazzaville). Meanwhile, the Layene Sufi order, established by Seydina Mouhammadou Limamou Laye, was thriving among the Lebou in Yoff and in a new village called Cambérène. Since independence, urbanization has sprawled eastward past Pikine, a commuter suburb whose population (2001 est. 1,200,000) is greater than that of Dakar proper, to Rufisque, creating a conurbation of almost 3 million (over a quarter of the national population).

In its colonial heyday Dakar was one of the major cities of the French Empire, comparable to Hanoi or Beirut. French trading firms established branch offices there and industrial investments (mills, breweries, refineries, canneries) were attracted by its port and rail facilities. It was also strategically important to France, which maintained an important naval base and coaling station in its harbor and which integrated it into its earliest air force and airmail circuits, most notably with the legendary Mermoz airfield (no longer extant).

During the Battle of Dakar, which took place off the coast of Dakar on September 23, 1940 – September 25, 1940, the British navy attempted to rally the colonial administration in Dakar to the Allied cause and detach it from Vichy. In November 1944 West African conscripts of the French army mutinied against poor conditions at the Thiaroye camp, on the outskirts of the city. The mutiny was seen as an indictment of the colonial system and constituted a watershed for the nationalist movement.

Dakar was the capital of the short-lived Mali Federation from 1959 to 1960, after which it became the capital of Senegal.

Dakar is a major financial center, home to a dozen national and regional banks (including the BCEAO which manages the unified West African CFA currency), and to numerous international organizations, NGOs and international research centers. Dakar has a large Lebanese community (concentrated in the import-export sector) that dates to the 1920s, a community of Moroccan business people, as well as Mauritanian, Cape Verdean, and Guinean communities. The city is home to as many as 20,000 French expatriates. France still maintains an air force base at Yoff and the French fleet is serviced in Dakar's port.

Beginning 1978, Dakar has frequently been the ending point of the Dakar Rally. The rally has brought worldwide attention to the poverty of Senegal and Dakar.[citation needed]

Geography and climate

Dakar has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh), with a short rainy season and a lengthy dry season. Dakar's rainy season lasts from July to October while the dry season covers the remaining eight months. The city sees approximately 540 mm of precipitation per year.

Dakar between December and April is usually pleasantly warm. Nights during this time of the year are comfortable. Between May and November, the city becomes decidedly warmer. However, it's not quite as hot in Dakar as it is in African cities located further inland such as Niamey and N'Djamena.

Climate data for Dakar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39
(102)
38
(100)
43
(109)
38
(100)
38
(100)
38
(100)
37
(99)
37
(99)
38
(100)
38
(100)
37
(99)
35
(95)
43
(109)
Average high °C (°F) 26
(79)
27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
29
(84)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
30
(86)
27
(81)
29
(84)
Average low °C (°F) 18
(64)
17
(63)
18
(64)
18
(64)
20
(68)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
19
(66)
21
(70)
Record low °C (°F) 13
(55)
14
(57)
15
(59)
16
(61)
16
(61)
18
(64)
21
(70)
21
(70)
21
(70)
21
(70)
18
(64)
12
(54)
12
(54)
Precipitation mm (inches) 0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
18
(0.71)
89
(3.5)
254
(10)
132
(5.2)
38
(1.5)
3
(0.12)
8
(0.31)
542
(21.34)
Source: BBC Weather [4] 2009-08-23

Administration

Market street in the working class Gueule Tapée quarter

The city of Dakar is a commune, (also sometimes known as commune de ville), one of the 67 communes of Senegal. The commune of Dakar was created by the French colonial administration on June 17, 1887 by detaching it from the commune of Gorée. The commune of Gorée, created in 1872, was itself one of the oldest Western-style municipalities in Africa (along with the municipalities of Algeria and South Africa).

The commune of Dakar has been in continuous existence since 1887, being preserved by the new state of Senegal after independence in 1960, although its limits have varied considerably over time. The limits of the commune of Dakar have been unchanged since 1983. The commune of Dakar is ruled by a democratically elected municipal council (conseil municipal) serving five years, and a mayor elected by the municipal council. There have been 20 mayors in Dakar since 1887. The first black mayor was Blaise Diagne, mayor of Dakar from 1924 to 1934. The longest serving mayor was Mamadou Diop, mayor for 18 years between 1984 and 2002.

The commune of Dakar is also a département, one of the 34 départements of Senegal. This situation is quite similar to Paris, which is both a commune and a département. However, contrary to French départements, départements in Senegal have no political power (no departmental assembly), and are merely local administrative structures of the central state, in charge of carrying out some administrative services as well as controlling the activities of the communes within the département.

The département of Dakar is divided into four arrondissements: Almadies, Grand Dakar, Parcelles Assainies (which literally means "drained lots"; this is the most populous arrondissement of Dakar), and Plateau/Gorée (downtown Dakar). These arrondissements are quite different from the arrondissements of Paris, being merely local administrative structures of the central state, like the Senegalese départements, and are thus more comparable to French departmental arrondissements.

Residential street in the upscale Mermoz quarter
The Assemblée nationale on the Plateau, the heart of old Dakar

In 1996 a massive reform of the administrative and political divisions of Senegal was voted by the Parliament of Senegal. The commune of Dakar, whose population approached 1 million inhabitants, was deemed too large and too populated to be properly managed by a central municipality, and thus on August 30, 1996 Dakar was divided into 19 communes d'arrondissement. These communes d'arrondissement were given extensive powers, and are very much like regular communes. They have more powers than the arrondissements of Paris, and are more akin to the London boroughs. The commune of Dakar was maintained above these 19 communes d'arrondissement, and it coordinates the activities of the communes d'arrondissement, much as Greater London coordinates the activities of the London boroughs. The 19 communes d'arrondissement belong to either of the four arrondissements of Dakar, and the sous-préfet of each arrondissement is in charge of controlling the activities of the communes d'arrondissement in his arrondissement.

The commune d'arrondissement of Dakar-Plateau (34,626 inhabitants), in the arrondissement of Plateau/Gorée, is the historical heart of the city, and most ministries and public administrations are located there. The densest and most populous commune d'arrondissement is Médina (136,697 inhabitants), in the arrondissement of Plateau/Gorée. The commune d'arrondissement of Yoff (55,995 inhabitants), in the arrondissement of Almadies, is the largest one, while the smallest one is the commune d'arrondissement of Île de Gorée (1,034 inhabitants), in the arrondissement of Plateau/Gorée.

The département of Dakar is one of the four départements of the Dakar région, which is one of the 11 régions of Senegal. The Dakar région encompasses the city of Dakar and all its suburbs along the Cape Verde Peninsula. Its territory is thus roughly the same as the territory of the metropolitan area of Dakar. Since the administrative reforms of 1996, the régions of Senegal, which until then were merely local administrative structures of the central state, have been turned into full-fledged political units, with democratically elected regional councils, and regional presidents. They were given extensive powers, and manage economic development, transportation, or environmental protection issues at the regional level, thus coordinating the actions of the communes below them.

Following the political transition of 2000 when Abdoulaye Wade, leader of the opposition (Senegalese Democratic Party, or PDS), defeated President Abdou Diouf (Socialist Party of Senegal), local elections were held in 2002. Two leaders of the PDS, Pape Diop and Abdoulaye Wade, ambitioned to become mayor of Dakar. Eventually, a compromise was found: Pape Diop would run for the municipal election of Dakar, while Abdoulaye Wade would run for the regional election of Dakar. The local elections of Senegal were held on May 12, 2002, and saw the PDS largely defeating the Socialists. Pape Diop was elected mayor of Dakar, defeating the long time Socialist mayor Mamadou Diop, while Abdoulaye Wade was elected president of the regional council of the Dakar région, defeating the Socialists who hitherto controlled the région.

Notable places

The Dakar Railway Station
The Dakar Cathedral

Attractions in Dakar include major markets, Dakar Grand Mosque (built in 1964), Dakar Cathedral, Gorée Island, the IFAN Museum of West African culture, clifftop walks and beaches, and Hann Park, home to Senegal Zoo.

The town serves as a port and is home to the Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport. It is also the terminus of the Dakar-Niger railroad line.

Dakar used to be the finishing point of the Dakar Rally and is a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Cheikh Anta Diop University, also known as the University of Dakar, was established in 1957.

Notable natives and residents

International relations

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Twin towns — Sister cities

Dakar is twinned with:

See also

Notes

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Sunset over Dakar from Hotel de l'Independance
Sunset over Dakar from Hotel de l'Independance

Dakar is the capital of Senegal.

Understand

The Senegalese are very proud of their reputation for "teranga" -- hospitality. Locals are extremely friendly and helpful, but as anywhere else, watch out for scams.

Get in

Dakar is a major West African hub, so there are lots of flights coming from and going to Europe, North America and other African cities. Be prepared to arrive and leave at anytime of the night or day - many flights come in at around 2 and leave at around 4 AM.

By plane

From South Africa: SAA (Johannesburg), Delta (Johannesburg), Delta (Cape Town begins June 3, 2008 pending government approval)

From Europe: Air France (Paris-CDG), TAP Air Portugal (Lisbon), Air Sénégal (Paris Orly, Marseille, Milan), Alitalia (Milan), Iberia (Madrid, Las Palmas), SN Brussels (Brussels)

From Africa: TACV Cabo Verde (Praia and Bissau), Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), Air Ivoire (Abidjan), Ethiopian (Addis Ababa via Lome and Abidjan or via Ndjamena), Kenya Airways (Nairobi via Bamako), Virgin Nigeria (Lagos), SN Brussels (Banjul), Delta (Nairobi begins on June 3, 2008), Air Sénégal (Abidjan, Accra, Bamako, Banjul, Bissau, Cap Skirring, Casablanca, Conakry, Cotonou, Gran Canaria, Lomé, Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Praia, Saint-Louis, Tambacouanda, Zigunchor), Tunisair (Tunis), Air Algérie (Algiers), Air Mali International (Bamako), Air Mauritanie (Nouakchott), Bellview Airlines (Lagos)

From North America: SAA (Washington-Dulles and New York-JFK), Delta (Atlanta), Delta (New York-JFK begins June 3, 2008 pending government approval)

By rail

A railway connects Dakar and Koulikoro in Mali. It stops at many cities in Senegal, including Thiès. Stops in Mali include Kayes and Bamako. More information on ausenegal [1].

By road

The main method of travel around the country is by sept places (from French, "seven seats," literally questionable station wagons in which they will pack seven people so that you are basically sitting on the next person's lap throughout the journey). You can also come with a group and rent out an entire sept place, but this will be expensive. If you are obviously a tourist, they WILL try to rip you off, so make sure to set a price before you agree to a driver. There are set prices to often-travelled locations. The main sept place station in Dakar is Gare Routieres de Pompiers. Watch out for pickpockets!

Place de l'Independance
Place de l'Independance
  • Taxis. Cheap and safe and everywhere. Just don't mind the broken windshields. All taxi fares are negotiated beforehand and will require bargaining. If you're not from Senegal, you will probably have an outrageous price proposed, so check with locals before to get an idea of what they pay, in order to know what you will be able to get.
  • Buses. The Dakar bus system, known as Dakar Demm Dikk (Dakar coming and going), is fairly dependable. Fares are 150 CFA, and there are no transfer. Unfortunately, for newcomers, there's not much in the way of a map of the bus system, so you'll have to figure it out on your own. The number 10 bus runs along the Corniche de l'Ouest and turns into the suburbs at Rue Aime Cesaire.
  • Cars Rapides. These are the usually blue and yellow mini-buses that careen through Dakar and some of Senegal's other cities. There are somewhat fixed rates for certain distances, but you need to check with a Senegalese beforehand. To find out where one is going, flag it down and shout out your destination at the apprenti, the boy in charge of collecting fares who hangs out the back. If she shouts back at you the destination you want, signal it to stop and hop aboard. To stop, bang loudly on the side of the bus or signal to the apprenti you want off. Apprenti's don't always speak French, so be prepared to communicate otherwise if you do not speak Wolof.
Goree Island
Goree Island
  • IFAN Museum of African Arts (Musée Théodore Monod dArt Africain).  edit
  • Ile de Goree. Goree Island in English, it was the location where slaves were transferred to slave ships headed to the Americas. The island has interesting colonial architecture including the landmark "House of Slaves" museum.  edit
  • Check out the incredibly rich musical scene.
  • Lake Retba (Lac Rose). Also called the "Pink Lake", the high concentration of cyanobacteria indeed gives the lake a pink tone. During the dry season the color is said to be especially vivid. The lake has a high concentration of salt, so while you admire the beauty of the lake, you can also observe the salt harvesters.  edit
  • Islam Couture/ Embroidery Dakar has some amazing (and amazingly expensive) stores specialised in haute-couture, embroidered traditional west African Muslim clothes.
  • Marche Sandaga Madness. A decrepit concrete structure that has - despite appearance - three levels of activity: meat and vegetable stalls on the main floor, fish in the basement dungeon and - surprise - restaurant stalls on the roof. You will need to brave the crumpled stairs and step around guys cleaning dead chicken to make it up. Around the market building a sprawling network of stalls offer everything from copied music CDs, Manchester United shirts, electronic gadgets and islamic books - but be aware the hawkers can be very aggressive. The place is also famous for pickpockets, so take only the amount of money you need and keep it in a safe place.
  • Marche HLM A smaller market geared primarily towards fabric vendors, Marche HLM is slightly less crazy than Sandaga. Hundreds of options for fabric that you can buy and then get tailored into perfectly fitting traditional Senegalese wear (if you will be in Dakar for awhile, ask a Senegalese person who his or her tailor is, and go there. A little less convenient for travellers who will only be staying a week). Most vendors won't sell less than 3 to 6 meters of fabric. A reasonable price is 1000CFA/meter.
  • Marche Kermel, near the city centre.
  • Soumbedioune, a popular evening fish market
  • La Fourchette Stylish place serving international cuisine (Mexican, Japanese, Moroccan, etc.) at moderate prices. Next to Marche Kermel.
  • Glacier/ Nice Cream: City centre: Over 30 flavours of the best ice cream you will ever eat.
  • Hotel de l'Indépendance Eat here for the magnificent views from the restaurant on 16th floor.
  • Chez Ndeye / Ker Ndeye (On a street parallel to Ponty) Inexpensive. Authentic Senegalese food. Besides the lovely Thiebou Dien, the place features home-made Tamarind juice. Try to catch the excellent Kora player.
  • Café de Rome (City center) Welcome to Cafe du Rome, authentic French food (as a matter of fact, you ARE in France), from oysters to steak tartar, and the famous Sole Meuniere that doesn't disappoint. It is pricey by Dakar standards, but the food is great.
  • Patisserie Laetitia Walking along the street of Cafe du Rome towards La Corniche (the sea) - away from the center - two blocks up on your right hand side, you find the ultimate place for breakfast in Dakar. No, they don't serve eggs, bacon or sausage, but fresh, slightly warm croissants, pain au chocolat, and (my personal favourite) pain au raisins. The coffee is good and the juices freshly squeezed. Sit in the little room to the right of the counter, it features the most amazing orange and yellow lamps and little triangular tables with stools to sit on. You will be surrounded by locals in beautiful Muslim outfits, reading the paper and discussing the latest news. What a great place. In fact, a reason to move to Dakar.
  • Hotel Farid/ Lebanese Restaurant Drink a gigantic Arrak (made from anis) as an aperitif and then order the 20 Mezze.
  • Le Jardin Thailandais Huge menu of delicious Thai food, great atmosphere. A little pricey, but worth it. Across the street from UCAD (Universite Cheikh Anta Diop) off of Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop/Rue de Ouakam. After eating, check out the jazz club across the street!
  • Lalibela Little Ethiopian restaurant with a fantastic rooftop dining area. The ambiance alone would be worth coming here, but luckily the food is great too. A little difficult to find -- between the VDN and Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop at the intersection with the Mobil-On-The-Run and la Poste Fann.
  • Centre Culturel Francais [2] Ask for the local food they serve for lunch (not on the menu) during the week. On weekends you must ask nicely to convince them to let you try what they prepare for the staff.
  • Peanuts: The roasted peanuts you can buy on the street or get with your order of beer in any bar are delicious. These nuts are not greasy at all and have just the right amount of salt - and sometimes they are still slightly warm from being roasted.
  • Other Street Food: You can find all sorts of street food practically anywhere in Dakar. Apart from peanuts, there are other nuts, lots of fruit, and other special Senegalese treats and snacks. There are also a ton of sandwich shops and little bread stands, where you can get egg sandwiches or quick and cheap food.
  • Ali Baba: Greasy Spoon where you can get cheap Lebanese food. Good falafel sandwiches with french fries and lots of tahina sauce, shwarma, kebab and all sorts of other delicious (also western) snacks. Find it halfway up Ave. Pompidou.

Drink

Gazelle is the local favourite beer - it comes in serious bottles, or Flag, which is stronger and more expensive.

  • Le Hanoi You can't go wrong with a bar that has palm trees painted on one wall, a French military guy (opinions differ if he was secret service or just a regular drunk) behind the bar who insists the black waitress is his "little sister".
  • Hotel de l'Independance Take the elevator to the 16th floor of the hotel on Place de l'Independance, order your drink at the bar, and walk up to the rooftop 17th open air deck and enjoy beautiful 360 degree views of Dakar. You can also dine in the restaurant on the 16th floor, with the same views.
  • Le Viking On the Ponty, in the midst of Sandaga madness, Le Viking is a popular spot for expats and tourists. Pricey drinks, but great atmosphere. Live music on weekend nights!
  • Oun Deux Tua, 1425 Par do Me (Go right Go Left Go right and you're there), 647-581-902. Very good restaurant. Bravo with the food. We want YOU to go to Oun Deux Tua.  edit
  • Hôtel du Phare Les Mamelles -36 cité Magistrats Les Mamelles -Ouakam- Dakar +221 33 860 30 00

email info@lesmamelles.com web [3] -booking online - Airport transfers - 24-hr security and sheck-in – Free wi-fi Internet 24-hr check in check out 1PM price from €30. Dakar, the bustling capital of Senegal famous for its historic sites and vibrant mix of African, Arabic and European cultures. The Phare hotel, named after the landmark Lighthouse is ideally located in "Les Mamelles", a quiet residential beach district, just 15 minutes from the city, 10 minutes from Leopold Sedar Senghor airport and close to "Les Almadies", "Ouakam", "N'Gor". The Phare Hotel has 10 Rooms surrounding an open air Flower Patio. The Rooms vary from Single to Quadruple each with ceiling fan and/or air conditioner. Hotel Phare is also close to Public transportation, Commercial banks, Restaurants, Bars and Night Clubs.

  • Auberge Poulagou - Yoff Tonghor Plage. +221 8202347 [4]

Le Poulagou is a nice small hotel, 2 kilomters from the airport. Ideal for the first days in Senegal and to escape the madness of Dakar. Free Internet access. Poulagou is advised by most of the tourist guides. Good report quality/price

  • Hotel Oceanic - 9, rue de Thann. +221 822-2044 (fax +221 821.5228)[5] - Océanic is a budget option for around €30 (roomrate). Centrally located. Rooms and beds are (a bit) run down but the bathroom is OK. Good breakfast at neighbouring self-service restaurant. See videoclip on internet.
  • Hotel Farid - 51, rue Vincens. +221 33 823 6123, email:hotelfarid@orange.sn.

Central location. Rooms with AC,Tv,Minibar,Locker safe and Free Internet Access. Good quality/price.

  • Al Afifa Hotel (City Center) Clean air-conditioned rooms at reasonable prices. Not budget though!
  • Sofitel Teranga - Between Independent Square and the Atlantic Ocean (City center). Very good setting. It is a good (although not cheap!) starter for medium budget travellers to acclimate in Senegal. Comfortable rooms, cosy atmosphere. Roomrate round €100. Breakfast is €15 and splendid!
  • Seneganne €65 (Les Alamdies area next to the airport). A comfortable guesthouse run by an enthusiastic Belgian lady. Wifi internet access, swimming pool and, important in Dakar, a backup generator. Very clean and very well kept. Comes highly recommended on several traveller websites. [6] mail : seneganne@orange.sn, Tel : + 221 33 820 12 33

Stay safe

Crime in Dakar is relatively high; crime against tourists is common, even around Place de l'Independance. Use common sense: women should not walk around alone after dark. Watch your pockets in crowded places, such as Sandaga, and keep a close eye on your belongings. There are many different scams to get money from tourists, so be wary. Avoid the beaches at night. Try not to wear any outwardly expensive items of clothing or jewelry. Overall, though, the Senegalese are an incredibly friendly and hospitable people and you will meet many people who are genuinely interested in talking to you.

The Senegalese people are in no way violent. The main crime that they suffer from is due to their lack of mental health. Some people turn to stealing so that they can drink alcoholic beverages and eat. Senegal is one of the most governmentally stable countries on the continent of Africa. They have a good police force, many of whom speak French.

Cope

In Dakar, you will find many beggars, usually handicapped people or young children (called "talibes"). There are 300,000 talibes in Dakar, and so this can be an uncomfortable situation. One way to handle it is with a simple, polite "ba BEN-een yohn" ("next time" in Wolof). They may be persistent, but be firm without being rude. Another option is to give the talibes food. Also, keep in mind the Islamic tradition of giving daily - after you've given once, you can say, "sah-RAHK-sah AH-gah-nah," which means "charity has already been done."

Get out

Travelling outside of Dakar can be manic and harrowing, but is definitely worth it.

  • Saint-Louis — The old French capital of Senegal, St. Louis is on the northern border, near Mauritania, and has fantastic colonial architecture and nightlife. Popular destination for travellers. Near many bird parks.
  • Sine Saloum Delta — Just north of the border with the Gambia, the Delta has amazing mangrove forests that you can tour by pirogue (essentially a motored canoe). Negotiate a fair price with a guide, and remember that once you get into the Delta, it's difficult and expensive to get around any way besides by pirogue.
  • Casamance — The southernmost region of Senegal, the Casamance boasts some of the most spectacular beaches and friendliest people in the country. The capital is Ziguinchor -- nice to visit but not much to do. Cap Skirring is the main tourist destination, and there are many hostels as well as a Club Med ("Club Merde" as the locals call it). The Casamance has been involved in a secessionist conflict for years; though the warring factions do not purposely attack tourists, there have been tourist deaths. The overnight ferry from Dakar to Ziguinchor is affordable and comfortable.
    • Details on the ferry: The boat leaves from Dakar on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8PM and from Zig on Thursdays and Sundays at 3PM, arriving 15-17 hours later. Office hours in Dakar are M-Friday, business hours with a break for lunch. To purchase tickets, you must go to either the port in Dakar or the one in Zig. You cannot buy tickets online, or over the phone. Bring your passport to purchase. Advance purchase is advised, if possible, but not always necessary. Price for a couchette in a two person room is 30,500 and for a four person room is 28,500. Both include private bath and breakfast. Phone # for the Dakar ticket office is +221 33 821 29 00. They will be able to give you information on availability, prices, and office hours.
  • Touba — Senegal's religious center, Touba makes a great day trip. Unfortunately, non-Muslims are no longer allowed inside the actual mosque, which is enormous. Women will be asked to wear long skirts and cover their heads to tour the grounds.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DAKAR, a seaport of Senegal, and capital of French West Africa, in 14° 40' N., 17° 24' W. The town, which is strongly fortified, holds a commanding strategic position on the route between western Europe and Brazil and South Africa, being situated in the Gulf of Goree on the eastern side of the peninsula of Cape Verde, the most westerly point of Africa. It is the only port of Senegal affording safe anchorage for the largest ships. Pop. (1904), within the municipal limits, 18,447; including suburbs, 23,452.

The town consists for the most part of broad and regular streets and possesses several fine public buildings, notably the palace of the governor-general. It is plentifully supplied with good water and is fairly healthy. It is the starting point of the railway to St Louis, and is within five days steam of Lisbon. The harbour, built in 9 04-1908, is formed by two jetties, one of 6840 ft., the other of 1968 ft., the entrance being 720 ft. wide. There are three commercial docks, with over 7000 ft. of quayage, ships drawing 26 ft. being able to moor alongside. Cargo is transferred directly to the railway trucks. There is also a naval dock and arsenal with a torpedo-boat basin 755 ft. by 410 ft. and a dry dock 656 ft. long and 92 ft. broad. The Messageries Maritimes Company use the port as a coaling station and provisioning depot for their South American trade. Dakar is a regular port of call for other French lines and for the Elder Dempster boats sailing between Liverpool and the West Coast of Africa. It shares with Rufisque and St Louis the external trade of Senegal and the adjacent regions. For trade statistics see Senegal.

Dakar was originally a dependency of Goree and was founded in 1862, a year after the declaration of a French protectorate over the mainland. The port was opened for commerce in 1867, and in 1885 its importance was greatly increased by the completion of the railway (163 m. long) to St Louis. Dakar thus came into direct communication with the countries of Upper Senegal and the middle Niger. In 1887 the town was made a commune on the French model, all citizens irrespective of colour being granted the franchise. In 1903 the offices of the governor-general and of the court of appeal of French West Africa were transferred from St Louis to Dakar, which is also the seat of a bishop. In February 1905 a submarine cable was laid between Brest and Dakar, affording direct telegraphic communication between France and her West African colonies by an all French route.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Proper noun

Dakar

  1. The capital city of Senegal

Translations


Simple English

Dakar
File:Dakar CoA.gif
Flag
Location of Dakar in Senegal
Government
 - Mayor Pape Diop
Population (Dec 2005)
 - Total 1,030,594
  [1]

Dakar is the capital city of Senegal. It is located on the country's Atlantic coast on the western edge of Africa. The city is a trade seaport for items leaving Africa. Dakar has a population of 1,030,594 people. The metropolitan area has about 2.45 million people living in it.[1]

The National Assembly of Senegal and Senegal Presidential Palace are located in Dakar.

History

The area that is now Dakar was first settled around the 15th century. In 1444, Portuguese created a colony there. By 1536, the colony was being used to as part of the slave trade. Between 1588 and 1677, the area was fought over by many countries. During this time it was under the control of the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and finally the French.

In 1857, the French built a military base here. This base was called Dakar. It was made the capital of French West Africa in 1902. Dakar was one of the major cities of the French Empire during this time. It was very important in terms of trade, military, and communications to the empire until World War II.

The city was the capital of the Mali Federation from 1959 to 1960. It then became the capital of Senegal.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie, Government of Senegal. ""Situation économique et sociale du Sénégal", édition 2005, page 163" (PDF). http://www.ansd.org/SES2005.pdf. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 

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