Top 10 Best Places to Visit in West Africa

salys beach in senegal

Planning your next adventure? Look no further than the best places to visit in West Africa!

Picture this: vibrant markets bustling with life, ancient cities whispering tales of history, and stunning landscapes that will leave you breathless.

Dive in, and let this guide be your compass to the uncharted wonders of West Africa.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Dakar, Senegal

ngor bay dakar

Welcoming us first in our West African odyssey is Dakar, the lively capital city of Senegal. Imagine a city where urban sophistication mingles with traditional cultures, where the intoxicating beats of African drums echo amidst sleek skyscrapers. A land of contrasts, Dakar is a melting pot of influences.

Pro Travel Tip: Don’t miss a visit to Lake Retba, or Lac Rose, and marvel at its pink waters under the midday sun. Try to spot the salt collectors who gather the lake’s precious mineral bounty.

2. Banjul, The Gambia

west africa city view of gambia banjul

Next, we voyage to Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia. Brimming with colonial architecture and washed by the tranquil waters of the Gambia River, Banjul offers a soothing respite from the boisterous energy of Dakar.

Pro Travel Tip: Set aside some time to visit the Kachikally Crocodile Pool, a sacred site where you can witness these majestic reptiles up close.

3. Timbuktu, Mali

tuareg camel in herder timbuktu mali

A city that once was the epicenter of African civilization, Timbuktu in Mali now whispers the echoes of its golden past. Its desert libraries, holding thousands of ancient manuscripts, are a testament to its historic love for learning.

Pro Travel Tip: A tour of the ancient Djinguereber Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will transport you back in time.

4. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan city center

Abidjan, the economic powerhouse of Côte d’Ivoire, is often referred to as the ‘Paris of West Africa’. With its soaring towers, bustling markets, and vibrant nightlife, Abidjan is the embodiment of the region’s cosmopolitan spirit.

Pro Travel Tip: Take a stroll through the Banco National Park, a lush oasis amidst the city’s urban sprawl.

5. Accra, Ghana

Accra accra kwame nkrumah park

Accra, the vibrant capital of Ghana, will captivate you with its spirited rhythms of life. Whether you’re soaking up the sun at Labadi Beach or paying your respects at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Accra guarantees an immersive experience.

Pro Travel Tip: Join a local drumming workshop to truly immerse yourself in the city’s pulsating rhythms.

6. Saint Louis, Senegal

Saint Louis coast Senegal

Saint Louis, or Ndar as locals call it, transports you back to Senegal’s colonial era. Its architectural treasures narrate tales of its past, while the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary sings the melody of its natural beauty.

Pro Travel Tip: Plan your visit around the Saint Louis Jazz Festival, one of Africa’s most prestigious music events.

7. Freetown, Sierra Leone

Freetown harbour in Sierra Leone

We journey onward to Freetown, the stunning capital of Sierra Leone. Dotted with beautiful beaches, lush mountains, and a lively music scene, Freetown exudes an irresistible charm.

Pro Travel Tip: Visit the Cotton Tree, the city’s oldest landmark, and absorb the historical aura it exudes.

8. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou Burkina Faso

Now we head to Ouagadougou, the vibrant capital of Burkina Faso. Home to a burgeoning art scene and host to Africa’s most significant film festival, FESPACO, ‘Ouaga’ offers a heady blend of modernity and tradition.

Pro Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Village Artisanal de Ouagadougou, where you can discover beautiful local crafts and textiles.

9. Conakry, Guinea

Conakry Guinea

Next stop, Conakry. Guinea’s capital may seem chaotic at first glance, but delve deeper, and you’ll find a city teeming with life, music, and the irresistible scent of street food.

Pro Travel Tip: Check out the Iles de Los, a group of islands known for their pristine beaches and vibrant marine life.

10. Lomé, Togo

Lome skyline Togo

Our West African journey ends in Lomé, Togo’s charismatic capital. With its bustling Grand Market, peaceful beaches, and thought-provoking Togo National Museum, Lomé leaves an indelible impression.

Pro Travel Tip: Don’t leave Lomé without trying Akoumé, a traditional Togolese dish.

Conclusion

The cacophony of bustling bazaars, the tranquil murmur of the ocean, the rhythmic beat of traditional drums – each city in West Africa sings a different song. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, this region promises a delightful sojourn.

So, pack your bags and let the irresistible rhythm of West Africa carry you away on an unforgettable journey. To make your exploration more smooth and enjoyable, use this Wantigo travel guide to help you navigate the ‘less trodden paths’ in West Africa and beyond. Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time to Visit West Africa?

The best time to visit West Africa largely depends on the specific countries you plan to visit. However, generally, the dry season, which falls between November and April, offers more comfortable travel conditions.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to West Africa?

For many nationalities, visas are required to travel to West African countries. It’s crucial to check the specific visa requirements for your nationality with the embassy or consulate of the countries you intend to visit.

Is It Safe to Travel in West Africa?

While every travel experience can differ, West Africa, like any region, requires vigilance and preparation to ensure safety. It’s important to stay informed about local customs and current events and always follow official travel advisories.

What Languages Are Spoken in West Africa?

West Africa is linguistically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken across different countries. However, English, French, and Portuguese are the main colonial languages still widely used. Local languages like Wolof, Yoruba, and Hausa are also common.

What Currency Is Used in West Africa?

The currency used varies by country. Eight West African countries use the West African CFA franc, while others, like Nigeria and Ghana, use the Naira and Ghanaian cedi respectively. It’s advised to check the specific currency for each country you plan to visit.


About Ronaldo Stewart

Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.

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