I saw this thing on Pinterest (source of all good ideas) for couples to make a passport of 52 things to do over the next year. There were certainly some flaws in this idea, not the least of which being that passports aren’t checklists and I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t have 52 pages. But anyway – the idea was that it gets you out there doing stuff, right?

So in that spirit, I’d like to share…

The Dakar Passport: 52 things to do over the next year we spend in this corner of West Africa.

  1. Picnic at the Phare des Mamelles lighthouse.
  2. Watch the sunset from Hôtel des Almadies, the westernmost tip of Africa.
  3. Buy fabric (or bine-bine belly beads) at HLM market.
  4. Take a boat to Ngor Island for the afternoon. Eat at La Maison d’Italie or Sunu Makane (Chez Seck), your choice.
  5. Go to Marché Kermel early in the morning without a grocery list and just buy what inspires you.
  6. Have attaya with friends – all three rounds and don’t rush.
  7. Take a day trip to Malika Monkeys and stay for lunch and a swim.
  8. Do not miss a Baaba Maal or Orchestra Baobab concert. Ever again.
  9. Start your morning with a Nescafé from a guy with a rolling cart, aka Dakar’s Starbucks.
  10. Get an afternoon pick-me-up from café Touba vendor.
  11. Swim at the infinity pool at the Radisson Blu. (And Instagram it, of course.)
  12. Enjoy a bissap cocktail: 1/2 bissap + 1/2 bouye.
  13. Spend an afternoon sitting on a mat under the shade of a tree, just being there.
  14. Order fresh milk and yogurt from Keur Normand.
  15. Do Sunday lunch with friends at the Churrascaria in Fann.
  16. Visit Café Layal (not the restaurant Layal, not the bakery Layal) and learn about the coffees they’ve just roasted.
  17. Buy a big pile of nems from the vendor at the Hann Maristes roundpoint. (Bonus points if you burn your tongue eating them while still so hot!)
  18. Walk rue El Hadj Karim Abdou Bourgi and just look and discover.
  19. Get your legs sugar-waxed. (Don’t know where to go? Ask a Lebanese woman.)
  20. Walk the Corniche on a Sunday morning. Be sure to wear your nicest workout clothes in order to fit in.
  21. Have lunch at the Institut Français.
  22. Let the afternoon fade into evening watching the waves from Le Ngor or the Surf Shack in Almadies.
  23. Find a tailor and get out of your box. Need inspiration? Try The Gazelle Skirt… or Pinterest. 🙂
  24. Find somewhere to use your skills and talents and volunteer.
  25. Sample enough Warang Liqueurs to choose your favorite.
  26. Do NOT get a toubab-in-Africa sunburn.
  27. Get henna-ed up. Hands, feet, hair or all three!
  28. Pick your poison: drum or dance. Now get out there and do it.
  29. Buy fish from the oceanside market in Yoff. And bargain well.
  30. Go to Gorée Island. Even if you’ve before, just go. Once you see the colors, you’ll be glad you did.
  31. Dance in the rain when it finally starts in late June.
  32. Have a traditional Senegalese outfit made and don’t forget all the accessories.
  33. Take a day trip to Lac Rose and ride camels… or 4-wheelers.
  34. Learn more Wolof. Then use the words you learn.
  35. Escape to Presse Café for a bagel and a latte and pretend you’re in America. (Okay, Canada. Whatever.)
  36. Train for and run one of the Dakar Marathon races.
  37. Order ceebu jen from Diami and eat it with your hands from a common bowl.
  38. Visit the Village de Arts on the airport road.
  39. Remember that Senegal is way more than just Dakar. And Saly. Make plans to get out and experience it.
  40. Shop the Monday fugg jaay (second-hand clothing market) next to the Orange stadium.
  41. Eat a thiof grillé from gills to tail as its eyeball watches you.
  42. Paddleboard off the coast of Ngor Island.
  43. Go to the DWG Christmas Bazaar at ISD on November 23rd and shop, shop, shop.
  44. Celebrate something (anything!) with a casual meal catered by Shady Shack.
  45. Get WAISTed in February. (Which is Dakar-speak for ‘play in the West Africa Invitational Softball Tournament’)
  46. Wear a sweater when it dips below 70 degrees. Trust me… you’ll want it!
  47. Choose a local craft (basket-making, weaving, pottery…) and learn how it’s done.
  48. Find an American food item that you get so excited about that you share it on Dakar Eats.
  49. Go to the Atmosphère shop in Les Almadies. Then go again a month later to see how they’ve changed the décor and featured items.
  50. Take a day-trip to Bandia and pose with the giraffes.
  51. Grab a chawarma royale (comes with fried egg and grated cheese) from Ali Baba’s downtown. Extra points for getting piment on it.
  52. Always keep exploring and learning. That’s how Dakar becomes home.

Who else wants to tackle this with us? Sign up in the comments below! Anyone have ideas to add?