Depart the U.S. for Dakar, Senegal (adjust for change in time zones)
Arrive at Dakar international airport. Meet and greet with your tour guide and transfer to the hotel in Dakar. The Novotel Dakar hotel is located in the town centre, facing the Atlantic Ocean and opposite Gorée Island. It is just a 5 minute walk from Place de l'Indépendance and 9.3 miles (15 km) from Léopold Sédar Senghor international airport. The hotel has 106 air-conditioned rooms, a bar serving snacks 24 hours and a swimming pool. WIFI and private car park are available free of charge. After some much needed rest, we will meet with our local Senegalese tour guide for orientation and a welcome dinner at a live music restaurant.
The entire day is dedicated to Dak‘Art Biennale programming, exhibitions, events, meetings, etc. A full itinerary of the daily event calendar will be provided two weeks prior to arrival. Meet at 7pm for a group dinner.
Full day of Dak’Art programming.
Start at 9am for a 25min ferry ride for a Goree Island excursion, aka The House of Slaves and “The Door of no Return.” A UNESCO world heritage site, Goree Island is deeply rooted in the history of the TransAtlantic slave trade as the transshipment point of millions of African slaves who were captured and shipped into bondage to the Americas over a three hundred year period. From the beginning of the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, men, women, and children were gathered on this small piece of land and locked up in cells before being shipped away to the New World, West Indies, and South America. The island was seized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the British all of whom participated in the trade. Forts and cannons attest of the island's violent past. Most of the buildings were used as warehouses or slaves' houses, and today many have been turned into museums. Go back to a moment in a dark time in history and visit the slave cells and the apartment of the slave dealers upstairs. From the "Door of no Return" countless Africans caught a last glimpse of their homeland before boarding the slave ships. Visit the infamous museum “La Maison des Esclaves,” or The House of Slaves with a curated lecture on three to four centuries of Black slave trade as it happened in West Africa. The House of Slaves held up to 200 slaves captives. After prayers and libation to the memories of our ancestors who perished during the passage, we tour the island with stops to Musee de la Femme (The Women's Museum). Visit the Memorial of Goree for an opportunity to meet the populations of Goree for a cultural exchange to interact and socialize with them. After your moving and informative tour, we conclude with lunch at the famous restaurant of Goree “Le Chevalier de Boufflers,” or similar and return to Dakar at 4:30pm with the ferry boat. The remainder of the day can be spent visiting Dak‘Art activities. Meet at 7:30pm for dinner.
Enjoy a full day tour of Metropolitan Dakar discovering the major highlights of this bustling African city and the African architectural style. From visits to historical landmarks and major cultural institutions to a local experience shopping at Dakar’s most popular markets and dining on Senegalese food, prepare for the most authentic experience. - Art & Culture Tour: Following breakfast, we start off with a visit to the National Art Gallery, home to both local and international contemporary visual art. We than walk through Independence Square, Dakar’s central square and commercial corridor commemorating Senegal’s independence from France, and then to Kermel market, which is famous not only for its large variety of food and souvenirs but also known as a splendid piece of art with its Victorian style open air shelter. Buy artisanal goods and African masks, watch a basket be woven, a glass tile be painted, and a wood statue be polished. We make a quick stop at the Presidential Palace, one of the country’s architectural icons. - Downtown Walking Tour: Head over nearby for a downtown walking tour of Soweto Square, a national mall filled with sculptures denoting national unity, Senegalese culture, and the triumphant liberation from French colonization in 1960. The most famous sculpture in this plaza is of an African man and woman holding hands in the middle of the square. Walk across the street to IFAN Museum of African Arts, one of the oldest art museums in West Africa, and housing a great collection of Western African arts, masks, sculptures and jewelry. We head over to the Catholic Cathedral of the African Memory, a landmark and the largest religious space in Dakar built on the site of an ancient cemetery. The markets are where you'll find nothing but pure energy. Stroll through the colorful market of Sandaga, Dakar’s largest outdoor market chock-full of Senegalese street foods. - Lunch is in a bustling part of town for authentic Senegalese food. - Head over to the Grande Mosquee de Dakar and Islamic Institute of Dakar and a visit to the Sand-Painting galleries. - Partake in the local culture and experience the picturesque Medina district, Dakar's oldest part of town and cultural center of the city with an open air street art exhibition and housing some of the most prominent landmarks. Visit the colorful markets and the handicraft village of Soumbedioune for a taste of Dakar’s friendly bargain system and the Tilen Market, famous for a variety of medicinal herbs and traditional healers. - Optional stop at Marche HLM, fabric market with on-site tailors to create customized Senegalese outfits. - Last stop on the tour is the Monument of African Renaissance, the largest and tallest statue in Africa is dedicated to Africa’s plight out of European oppression and a symbol of pride. The total height of the monument is taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty. The remainder of the day can be spent visiting Dak‘Art activities. Meet at 7:30pm for dinner.
Located about 150 miles north of Dakar, Saint-Louis was Senegal’s original capital city from 1872 to 1957 and was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. Named after French King Louis XIV in the 1700s, Saint-Louis is the oldest city to be created by Europeans on the western coast of Africa. The city is known for its French colonial influence and its old town charm. - Early morning road trip to Saint Louis for a 4 hour ride. - Visit the Pink Lake on the way to St. Louis with a four wheel drive tour on the sand dunes surrounding the lake and discover the long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Let the breech of such blue fill your spirits. Stop to meet hundreds of men and women mining the salt from the rose colored body of water. Pink Lake is a rare natural phenomena which is the result of a high salinity rate and the presence of microorganisms which gives the lake its pink color. Meet the salt harvesters. - Visit a Fulani Nomadic village located along the shores of Pink Lake and get a royal welcome by the village kin for a first hand experience of the African lifestyle. Then make your way to St. Louis, check into the hotel and have lunch at a local restaurant. - Once in St. Louis take a horse drawn carriage tour to discover the 250 year old Afrique Occidentale Française of St Louis, the former French Colonial Capital city of Senegal. Along the way we’ll visit various interesting sites and also the picturesque fishermen quarters Guet Ndar. - Farewell dinner and spend the rest of the evening at the official opening of the Saint-Louis Jazz Festival, the most internationally renowned annual jazz festival in West Africa featuring various international musicians and attracting thousands of jazz aficionados from all over. Overnight at (3 stars) hotel For those not heading to St Louis, spend the day at leisure on your own or at Dak’Art activities.
On the way from Saint Louis back to Dakar, head to the Bandia Game Reserve for an early morning safari experience. Take a four wheel drive vehicle and discover in a very close distance wildlife such as giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, warthogs, monkeys, buffalos, hyenas, various colorful birds , all living in perfect harmony in these tropical environment. After lunch, we head to Dakar airport. Bon voyage back to the U.S.