Senegal is one of the countries that are visa free to Nigerian travellers, however for those who haven’t been, the perception of the country as a tourist destination might be a bit prejudiced. So let’s help put things in perspective for you. Here’s Alexander Zander’s experience while in Dakar, Senegal for the first time.
I would have to say Dakar, Senegal was my most inspiring / surprisingly interesting trip. I went for an agricultural conference earlier this year (2016). Being a Christian and with the climate of the world and the current Islamophobia trend, I was a bit apprehensive about going and was advised not to go altogether by family. Luckily I did not adhere to any advice and decided to go. Being Nigerian we often have an air of arrogance about us that our country is better than any other in Africa so when I arrived in Senegal I definitely was not expecting much as far as development, organization etc. To my surprise the country is absolutely beautiful, orderly and the temperament of the people was extremely calm and polite.
I stayed for a total of 6 days, half of which was spent at the King Fahd Palace Hotel mainly because that was where the conference was being held, and the second half of the trip was spent at their Radisson Blu. I went out 2 of the first 3 nights to check out the night life and it was quite lively and the people were quite welcoming. Being a French speaking nation and I know absolutely nothing outside of English this was a pleasant surprise as I have always found the French to be a tad rude at least that has been my personal experience on the few times I’ve visited France. You should definitely check out Little Budha, Bara Mundu and le Patio if you visit Dakar.
On the last night of the conference, I briefly spoke to one of the ladies at the front desk that checked me in when I arrived and inquired about finding a driver for the remainder of my trip. She took it upon herself to call a family friend that turned out to be an amazing driver and negotiated a very decent rate for me. The guy was on call 24 hours at my leisure until I left all for about $80 a day. He took me on guided tours and even around to non-tourist local areas that someone not from the country wouldn’t normally get to see. I visited the Ile de Gorée which is home to the famous house of slaves and 'Door of No Return', and the African Renaissance Monument was also quite a vision and wasn’t far from the Radisson.
The tourism sector in Dakar is like no other African nation I have been to, and you feel extremely secure and safe no matter where you are and the officers are there to protect and serve you. I can honestly go on and on about how great of an experience traveling to Senegal was and have absolutely nothing bad to say about the people. Their Radisson Blu is one of if not the nicest Radisson's I have been to in the world period and I have been in the States, Europe and Africa. Their club scene is quite lively and the people are very receptive.
Booking my trip was pretty easy and I always do it myself. Anytime I travel I check for best fares between an app called Skyscanner and a website called Kayak (usually Skyscanner always ends up being cheaper). If the business class flights seem outrageous, I book economy or premium economy and then usually inquire about upgrade 2-3 days before take-off time and often times end up getting lucky. For the booking of hotels I also use Skyscanner to search for rates along with Tripadvisor.
Having dual citizenship really does help with the visa hassle but seeing as Senegal is visa free to Nigerians, visa was not an issue and I would highly recommend a trip to Dakar it to any traveller.
You've heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Dakar is awesome and should be on your travel list. In case you were wondering where to visit next, it'll definitely be worth your trip, it's just 5hrs away andwith all the forein exchange craziness it's one of the more affordable destinations (check out Arik flight fares). We hear Dakar is also a great destination for art lovers. And did we mention it’s visa free? Well then, need we say more?
Follow @zbleuprint on Instagram for more of Alexander’s journeys. If you've been to Dakar or some other parts of Senegal, please leave a comment and share your travel tips.