Dakar, Senegal cruises

From vibrant street markets and colourful streets to peaceful golden beaches, the Senegalese capital of Dakar makes for a captivating stop on any Cunard cruise to Africa.

Dakar port guide

Situated on the west coast of Africa, Senegal’s capital Dakar is a vibrant cosmopolitan treasure. Days here can be spent exploring to your heart’s content, whether you wander the hundreds of open-air markets and stalls that dot this uniquely welcoming metropolis, or take a short ferry-ride across the bay to explore the historically significant UNESCO-listed island of Gorée.

However you wish to experience the lively atmosphere and local cuisine of this glittering jewel on the edge of Africa, Cunard can take you there. Lose yourself in the rhythms of one of the continent's most exciting and dynamic cities.

Top landmarks and sights in Dakar

Whether you explore by foot, taxi, or local bus, Dakar has ample wonders for you to discover. Streets filled with art and music. Distinctive architecture, from grand mosques to colonial buildings, that reveals layers of the past. Nearby islands like Gorée that provide a window into the region's complex history. In this West African gem, there’s no shortage of delights to discover.

Gorée Island

If you wish to immerse yourself in history on your port call in Dakar, then a day trip to Gorée Island is a must. This small island is located just a short ferry ride away from the city centre, making it an easy spot to explore.

Gorée Island’s origins as a trading post date back to the 15th century, and it became a centre of the Atlantic slave trade. Today, its well-preserved colonial architecture and sites like the House of Slaves memorial museum offer profound insights into this painful history. Strolling the island's quiet streets paints a vivid picture of the blend of African, European, and Creole cultures that shaped Gorée.

While here you can take in panoramic views of Dakar across the water from seaside fortifications built centuries ago. Wander through the island's historic centre, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop for a fresh seafood lunch at an open-air restaurant on the beach. With its complicated history, a trip to Gorée provides the perfect complement to the energy of mainland Dakar.

The Mosque of Divinity

The striking architectural style and stunning seaside location of this mosque make it one of Dakar’s most iconic houses of worship. Constructed in 1997, it makes an elegant contrast to Dakar’s colonial heritage. The interior decor is particularly ornate, with chandeliers, calligraphy, and intricate geometric patterns giving you a taste of classic Islamic art and architecture. The mosque's minaret provides stunning views over Dakar and acts as an iconic landmark on the city's skyline.

Things to do in Dakar

If you’d rather not shoulder your way through busy markets in search of local bargains, then a visit to the IFAN Museum of African Arts shouldn’t be missed. This museum showcases a diverse collection of traditional and contemporary African art, including sculptures, textiles, and musical instruments, making it the perfect place to learn about Africa’s culture and artistic heritage.

IFAN Museum of African Arts

The IFAN Museum of African Arts houses one of the largest collections of African art in the world, with over 9,000 artifacts from across the continent. Here you can wander through galleries displaying wooden statues and masks from Nigeria and Cameroon that depict ancestors, royals, and deities. Marvel at the intricate textiles and vibrant beadwork of groups like the Tuareg and Maasai. Study tools, jewellery, ceramics and more to gain insight into daily and ceremonial life across Africa. With this vast collection of artifacts from dozens of cultures, the IFAN museum is the perfect place to go to deepen your understanding of this fascinating continent.

Eating and drinking in Dakar

Given its location on the shores of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, it’s perhaps no surprise that Dakar is an excellent destination for fresh seafood. Giant prawns, oysters, butter-drenched fish, and traditional ceebu jen (fish with rice and vegetables) are just a few of the native delicacies you can try in Dakar, much of it caught from the local waters.

If you’re not a seafood-lover then instead, make sure you sample a fataya during your port call in Dakar. These delicious triangle-shaped pastries stuffed with meat or vegetables can be found being freshly made and sold all over the city. For the true local experience, grab a fataya from a street vendor and enjoy it as you explore the city before washing it down with a cold glass of bissap. Made from hibiscus leaves, this red juice is wonderfully refreshing and found everywhere from street stalls to high-end restaurants. Whether you sip it while relaxing on the beach or as you wander through lively markets, there's nothing more Senegalese than sampling this iconic beverage, often called the "national drink of Senegal".

Shopping in Dakar

Dakar offers a wide variety of shopping options if you’re looking to find the perfect souvenir or bring something special home for your loved ones. Visit the bustling Kermel Market to peruse stalls filled with vibrant local produce, handcrafted masks and carvings, fragrant spices, and more. For yet more local bargains, head for Marché Sandaga, Dakar's oldest bazaar, overflowing with textiles, jewellery, and crafts.  Haggling is expected here, so bring your bargaining skills and get ready to hunt for unique treasures.

Getting around: Dakar transportation

The Dakar Dem Dikk bus network offers local bus routes for transportation within the city. Single fares on the Dakar Dem Dikk bus network cost XOF150 (which at current exchange rates is around 20p). Alternatively, you can hire "car rapides" (minibuses) for around XOF150 per journey, or flag down a conventional taxi. Fares for these should be negotiated before traveling and usually come to around XOF1,500 per mile.

Dakar port facilities

Your Cunard Queen will dock at the main cruise port, which is around a mile away from the city centre. From the terminal, local transportation options such as buses or taxis to explore the vibrant city of Dakar. Be aware that the local taxi drivers will often try to haggle when you’ve reached your destination, even though the fare is established up front.

Top tips for Dakar



Dakar, as the capital of Senegal, utilizes the West African CFA franc (XOF) as its currency. While major credit and debit cards may be accepted in larger establishments, it's recommended to have some cash on hand for transactions in smaller shops or local markets. ATMs are available in the city, but even those that accept non-Senegalese cards have been known run out of cash, and withdrawal limits can be low. For your security and convenience, we recommend you purchase currency on board your Cunard Queen before disembarking.


While tipping is not obligatory in Dakar, showing appreciation for good service by rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip is generally welcomed.


Dakar experiences a tropical savanna climate with a long dry season from November to May and a shorter rainy season from June to October. The months of January and February are typically the coolest, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 25°C, while the hottest months are March and April, with temperatures reaching up to 30°C. Rainfall is minimal from November to May, with June to October being the wettest months.