Senegal With JUMP Services: The Allure Of Dakar
Despite its many natural attractions and cultural wealth, travel in West Africa receives scant attention in Australia and hardly more anywhere else other than Europe. Europeans have been visiting the beaches of Senegal for decades; few others have done the same. This is most likely a result of colonial-era separation; the French went, and still go, to former French colonies in the north and west of Africa while the British went and still go to their own former territories, the most prominent of which are located in the eastern and southern regions of the continent.
Too bad for all the non-French travellers missing out Dakar. At once glamorous and exotic, Dakar is the Rio de Janeiro of the African continent, a city perceived to be partying all the time but in reality also serving as an economic, political, and cultural centre of the country. The Senegalese are a funloving people with a wicked sense of humour, aspects which make a visit here well worth the trip.
The newly opened Museum Of Black Civilisations is the latest cultural institution to offer visitors to Dakar an interesting place to learn about various aspects of African cultures. From political influences to textile production, there is much to see here, as there is at the nearby IFAN Museum Of African Arts, also known as the Théodore Monod African Art Museum. One of the oldest museums in Africa, the many display cases at IFAN house artifacts of every sort in cavernous halls beyond the iron entrance gate and charming garden.
Several art galleries in the vicinity of the museums in central Dakar reveal an ongoing respect for art in the city The Galerie Antenna is an enormous space filled with an eclectic collection of items, all belonging to a single family. Basically, it is one giant garage sale where fine souvenir items can be found alongside museum-quality pieces. Very close to Antenna is Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, where works by some of Senegal’s leading contemporary artists are shown in temporary exhibits. Also close by is Galerie d’Arte, an exclusive gallery where art in all its forms from furniture to sculpture can be found. Further north, near the African Renaissance Monument that is one of Dakar’s top attractions, is the Australian-owned Loman Art House, where some very original art is displayed in an informal, homelike setting.
Classic on the Dakar itinerary is the aptly named Village des Arts, located in the Yoff district near the former international airport. Rather ramshackle in appearance, Village des Arts nevertheless is home to the studios of some of Senegal’s best artists, including Kébé, whose symbolic paintings are sought by collectors the world over. Not surprisingly, Dakar is home to a biennial art exhibition, cleverly named Dak’art, which showcases in even years the best of contemporary African art.
The highlight to any trip to Dakar is Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves its history on a tranquil island just 20 minutes by ferry from the hustle and bustle of Dakar. Gorée’s role in the African slave trade brings many people to the island in a quest to understand this unhappy period in human history; the island today, however, is very much a place where positive energy prevails. Just like Dakar in general. The relaxed atmosphere and historical architecture of Gorée are worlds away from the busyness of the city centre.
In a place where taxis are dubious and public transport often means standing on the bumper of a bus, the sights of Dakar are most easily seen by private car with a driver to negotiate the roads and traffic. JUMP Services, a locally owned company whose affable proprietor, Mr Astacko Seck, sees to it that the smiles of his company’s clients never falter, provides honest, reliable, professional drivers for excursions around the city, for airport transfers, and in fact for trips all over Senegal. There is much to see, and having a private car and driver pays for itself many times over in saving time and eliminating stress while enjoying one of Africa’s most exciting destinations.
To make arrangements with JUMP Services, contact Astacko by phone or WhatsApp on +221 776 344 850