Ngor Island is located only 6-700 meters from the Cap Vert peninsula in Dakar and as we stand on Ngor beach on the mainland we can look over to the Island and sew tiny people and houses. The traditional colorful pirogue boats, a kind of long and narrow canoe occupies large portions of the beach. For a smaller amount of money they takes you over to the idyll and peace of Ngor Island.
Ngor Island is a paradise for surfers and a popular retreat for Dakar`s middle class. Not difficult to understand as we walk into the narrow streets above the beach and enjoy the floral beauty and all the colorful doors and gates leading into sheltered gardens and courtyards.
Ile de Ngor, as it is called in French, is a peaceful spot and facing the mainland is a protected sandy beach facing east. Actually, there are two beautiful beaches on the island. There are many small restaurants where you can enjoy the view towards Village de Ngor on the mainland and get some food at the same time.
Eat fish! Whichever place you choose, it will sure taste delicious. Grilled whole fish is really something they master here in Dakar. We had lunch at the Healthy Makane Chez Seck Hotel and Restaurant. It is located northeast on the island at the waterfront. An airy breeze and nice shade from the tent which roof was dressed inside with colorful African fabrics, made our lunch just perfect.
The atmosphere was lively with a lot of people. Parents ate and drank while the children ran to and from the beach and the restaurant. If you like fishing you can do it from the rocks by the beach and at the restaurant they are happy to prepare your catch for lunch or dinner.
In the same place, and also elsewhere along the beach you can rent sun beds and umbrellas. It is a clean beach with nice sand and good swimming conditions. If spending the day on the beach is not your kind of activity, Ngor Island is a perfect place to just stroll around and enjoy the surroundings.
One of the more curious things to see is located west on the island’s highest point. A large hotel complex was planned here but as a result of protests from the island’s residents it was never finished. Some constructions were set up though and together with old military constructions, this has become a popular residence for squatters. It reminds me of Christiania in Copenhagen as do the entire island. You will find lush and creative building everywhere and the atmosphere is relaxed in great contrast to many other places in Dakar.
How to get there:
There are buses from the center of Dakar. You can also take a taxi to Village de Ngor, which lies on the northern tip of the peninsula, which makes up the city of Dakar. Ask the taxi driver to take you all the way to the beach. You have to go through the sheds to get to the beach. Walk along the beach and most certainly soon someone will offer to take you to the island. The transportation is in traditional pirogues, long colorful boats. It costs approx. 500 CFA return per person. The boat leaves when it is filled up and it may take 15 minutes. In the meantime you can sit in the shadow in the “waiting room” and watch people unfold themselves on the beach, not boring at all!
Perhaps you will be offered a guided tour on Ngor Island, but there’s really no reason for that. The island is tiny and it only takes half an hour to see it all. You can stroll around without being disturbed by pushy sellers. Some might approach you on the beach, but with a polite “No Mercy” they will not bother you any more.
Read more about Senegal and Dakar at destinations Africa