Holiday on an Island: Goree – Senegal

Are you still deciding where to go on a vacation or do you fancy just daydreaming about a nice holiday? So am I (in both cases). In this series I’ll share 3 different island holiday experiences with you.

Islands fascinate me because they bring about a feeling of remoteness and adventure in a way that a pure city trip can’t. Let’s start daydreaming with the first island in the series…

  1. The Island of Goree in Senegal (West-Africa)

Goree is located about 3,5 km off the coast of Senegal’s capital city Dakar.
This island is an ideal setting if you’re fond of short and calm walks that allow you to admire majestic baobabs (native trees), bask in the sunshine and visit historical buildings. Don’t forget to bring your bikini or swim shorts to cool off on the coastline.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a curious person, while being there you might notice that there’s more to Goree than mere beauty and rustic architecture. The presence of huge canons near some of the cliffs and the existence of la maison des esclaves (house of the slaves) are testimonies of the island’s tumultuous past. Goree played a pivotal role in the trade of African slaves between the 15th and 19th century.
This island is on the UNESCO’s list of world heritage.

Goree does attract its fair share of tourists, however a local guide can show you both the most known highlights and the calmer parts of the island. A local guide can make your trip unforgettable by providing historical info, anecdotes and stories with wow-effect.

Visiting Goree is ideal for a daytrip. How did I find out about this destination? Other than this island being quite known it was my Senegalese uncle Modou who convinced my dad, brother and self to visit this island. We stayed in Dakar for a few weeks, which is a good base from which to make several daytrips to such as e.g. le lac rose (the pink lake) or the beach of soumbédioune with its numerous artfully painted fishing boats.

How to reach Goree from Dakar: take the ferry at the Port de Dakar, near the Avenue de la Libération. The Senegalese refer to this ferry as Chaloupe

Travel time to Dakar by plane (based on the shortest travel time given by a plane ticket price comparison site)

Brussels National (BRU) > Dakar: +- 6 hrs (you can get a direct flight between these cities, I’ve travelled to Senegal with Brussels Airlines twice so far and am very pleased with their service and punctuality)

London > Dakar: between 8 and 10 hrs (including 1 transfer in either Morocco, Spain or Portugal)

JFK > Dakar : +- 12hrs (including 1 quick transfer in Morocco)

* I included these airports as a reference to give both European and American readers a broad idea of travel time to Dakar. Including travel times departing from every big city around the world would defeat the purpose of this article. However, you can always comment if you’re from Sydney, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, [fill in the blank]… I’d love to hear from you



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