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Approximately 8½ Hours
Board a motorcoach for a panoramic drive through Dakar, Senegal's capital city. You'll see the Presidential Palace, built in a fetching 1906 colonial style, guarded by the Spahi in their red and blue uniforms. The Kermel Market is an ideal spot to snap a few photos; then, continue past the Town Hall, the railway station, and the modern business district.
Step inside the cathedral for a quick visit, and watch for the Great Mosque and the University of Dakar.
You'll stop at the Sand Painting Gallery to see how this popular Senegalese art is created, and and at the Soumbedioune Handicraft Village. Souvenirs made of wood, jewelry, leather or fabric are on display here and are for sale if you're looking for a memento of Senegal.
In the suburbs outside Dakar, you will see the stark contrast of upscale homes just a stone's throw from poor residential areas. Pass the Medina (Old Town) as you travel via the coastal road. The highlight of the day might be a stop to view the recently-completed, stunning African Renaissance Monument -- a 190-ton, 160-foot-tall bronze statue that has been a source of both pride and controversy in Senegal. Critics believe the copper and bronze statue's $27-million price tag and its North Korean construction are at odds with the "message" of the statue, which features members of an African family making their way boldly into the 21st century.
Passing the lighthouse of Mamelles, you'll stop for a brief photo opportunity at the Deity Mosque (also called the Divinity Mosque).
At the waterfront, climb aboard a ferry for a ride of less than two miles to the Island of Gorée.
Lunch is served upon your arrival; then, you'll set out to explore the island whose dark history played an integral role in the West African slave trade. There are no cars on the island, so you will explore on foot. You'll trace the kidnapping of 40 million souls from the shores of Africa that thrust them into the bondage of slavery -- a diabolical chapter of history that endured globally for more than 600 years. Gorée was West Africa's first and most important slave depot. Today, the remnants of its awful past are both an historic monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Slave House built by the Dutch in 1777 with its cells and shackles, and visit the Church of Saint Charles de Barromee, built in 1829. At the fortress, you'll discover underground passages, trenches, gun turrets-all built to secure the slave port -- and a surprisingly peaceful outlook over land and sea.
You'll also visit the Museum of African History.
Despite its solemn past, the Ile de Gorée of the 21st century is a charming and lively town, complete with cafés, art galleries and a fine beach.
Return to Dakar and the ship at the end of your tour.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. Shade is limited; please dress accordingly. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. Your guide will do his/her best to speak English, but please keep in mind that the limited tourism infrastructure here is part of the city’s charm, and bear with any language difficulties he/she may encounter. Transportation is basic compared to the transportation you will find elsewhere.