Discovering Saint-Louis: A Travel Guide

Discovering Saint-Louis: A Travel Guide

Discovering Saint-Louis: A Travel Guide

Welcome to Saint-Louis, a charming city located on the northwest coast of Senegal. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty, Saint-Louis is a must-visit destination for any avid traveler. Here is a comprehensive travel guide to help you make the most of your time in this captivating city.

Getting to Saint-Louis

There are several ways to reach Saint-Louis. If you're flying in from international destinations, the most convenient option is to book a flight to Dakar, the capital of Senegal. From Dakar, you can take a domestic flight or hire a private car to reach Saint-Louis. Alternatively, there are regular buses and minibusses that operate between Dakar and Saint-Louis. The journey takes around three to four hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Exploring the Medina

Start your adventure in Saint-Louis by exploring its historic heart, the Medina. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a maze of narrow streets, vibrant markets, and beautifully preserved colonial-era buildings. Take a leisurely stroll through the Medina and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere. Don't miss the iconic Pont Faidherbe, a picturesque iron bridge that connects the mainland with the island on which Saint-Louis is situated.

Visiting the Musée de Saint-Louis

For a deeper understanding of Saint-Louis' history and culture, a visit to the Musée de Saint-Louis is a must. Housed in an old colonial building, the museum showcases a fascinating collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of the city's past. Learn about Saint-Louis' role as a major trading hub during the colonial era and its rich musical heritage, particularly in the realm of jazz.

Enjoying the Beaches

Saint-Louis is blessed with beautiful beaches that stretch along the coast. Spend a day soaking up the sun and taking a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are not as crowded as those in Dakar, making them a perfect spot for relaxation. Plage de l'Ouest and Plage de l'Anse are two popular beaches in Saint-Louis, offering pristine sands and stunning vistas. Don't forget to catch the breathtaking sunset over the ocean – it's a sight to behold!

Exploring Djoudj National Bird Park

Just a short distance from Saint-Louis lies Djoudj National Bird Park, a paradise for bird enthusiasts. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 1.5 million migratory birds, making it one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the world. Take a boat tour through the park and marvel at the vast array of bird species, including pink flamingos, pelicans, and herons. Keep your camera ready to capture some incredible wildlife shots.

Indulging in Local Cuisine

No visit to Saint-Louis would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. The city is renowned for its delicious seafood dishes, influenced by both Senegalese and French culinary traditions. Head to the fishermen's quarters in the Medina, where you can sample freshly caught fish and seafood prepared in traditional Senegalese style. The national dish, thiéboudienne, a flavorful fish and rice stew, is a must-try. Be sure to accompany your meal with some bissap, a refreshing hibiscus-infused drink.

Enjoying the Music and Festivals

Saint-Louis is known as the cultural capital of Senegal, and music plays a vital role in the city's identity. Don't miss the opportunity to attend a live music performance, particularly a jazz or mbalax (Senegalese popular music) concert. The annual Saint-Louis Jazz Festival, held in May, attracts renowned jazz musicians from around the world. Another highlight is the Saint-Louis Jazz and World Music Day in October, where the city comes alive with vibrant musical performances and festivities.

Explore the Surrounding Islands

Beyond the mainland, Saint-Louis is surrounded by a cluster of scenic islands that are worth exploring. Île de N'Gor and Île de la Madeleine are popular choices for day trips from Saint-Louis. These islands offer pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. Take a boat ride to these idyllic islands and indulge in some relaxation and adventure.

Gear up for Adventure

If you're seeking an adrenaline rush, Saint-Louis has plenty to offer. Consider embarking on a thrilling desert safari to the nearby Lompoul Desert, where you can experience dune bashing and camel trekking. For water sports enthusiasts, kite surfing is a popular activity in Saint-Louis, thanks to its consistent trade winds. Sign up for lessons or rent equipment from one of the many kite surfing schools along the coast.


With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes, Saint-Louis is a truly captivating destination. From exploring the historic Medina to indulging in local cuisine and enjoying cultural festivals, there is something for everyone in this remarkable city. Plan your trip to Saint-Louis now and get ready for an unforgettable journey of discovery.