The exotic winter sun destination where there’s no chance of jet lag

From the grandiose and muscular African Renaissance monument that presides over Dakar’s skyline to the fountain of the Senegalese flag in Independence Square, there is a proud pan-African feeling here, reflecting the desire to break free from the remnants of French influence and gain global respect.

“What happened yesterday is still happening today,” laments Sogui Wade, a guide for 25 years, who now works with Tui. “Democracy is just a word brought by Western powers to exploit Africa.”

Then, stressing that Senegal is a safe and stable country, he insists that “we can no longer continue to live in anger” and firmly believes that the stranglehold of neo-colonialism is “in its last days”.

It is very likely that most fly tourists will either be oblivious or disinterested in politics. Yet simply by swapping the Canaries or the Caribbean for the coast of West Africa, they bring attention and respect to this little-known part of the map. Quirky, alternative and sweetly fearless, there is a rare chance in Senegal to combine cultural enrichment with unapologetically cheap winter sun.

Essential

Sarah Marshall traveled as a guest of Tui (tui.co.uk), which offers seven nights at the 4T+ Riu Baobab all-inclusive from £810 pp (two sharing), including flights from Gatwick on February 27, 2023 and transfers. Various excursions, booked separately, cost from £56 to £65 per adult.

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