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Things to Do in Dakar

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Lake Retba (Lac Rose)
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8 Tours and Activities

A unique natural phenomenon located around 35 kilometers northeast of Dakar, Lake Retba (or Lac Rose) draws day-tripping tourists and local Dakarois to its sandy shores to marvel at the magical pink color of its water.

Separated from the Atlantic Ocean only by narrow sand dunes, the pink hue of Lake Retba is caused by the high salt content of the water, which is said to be 10 times that of most regular oceans and almost twice that of the Dead Sea. In fact, the salt content changes with the seasons and the amount of daylight, with the lake actually fluctuating from a light mauve to deep pink. This is all quite the spectacle, particularly when the light is just right, and the best time to witness the magic is when the sun is high during the dry season from November through to June.

Full-day tours to Lac Rose from Dakar are the most common way to visit, and these will usually include round-trip transportation, lunch, a boat ride on the lake, and the opportunity to check out the salt-collecting industry on its shores. You can swim in the lake, buoyed by the salt, and optional activities such as a camel ride or an ATV ride through the dunes are also available.

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IFAN African Art Museum (Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire)

One of the oldest museums in West Africa, the IFAN Museum of African Arts in Dakar was founded in 1936 as a place to preserve and promote African art — everything from ancient artifacts to works by contemporary African artists.

In addition to pieces of art, the museum displays cultural relics, like traditional weaponry, musical instruments, clothing, masks and jewelry. An exhibition space on the second floor of the museum hosts temporary exhibitions, usually highlighting modern African artists.

As the primary cultural research center for all the French West African colonies, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau, the museum houses one of the most significant collections from Francophone Africa anywhere in the world. Each year, the museum hosts the Dak’Art festival, a celebration of contemporary African art.

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