Leaving Ngor village for the Ile de Ngor. (The little boat is the one we took to the Sunu Makane restaurant.)

Spending time at N’gor Island is one of our favorite things to do in just off the coast of Dakar. We really should do it more often, and maybe we will now that we’ve figured out that we can go over, walk around, eat lunch and get back in about three hours.

Ngor island
Arriving at Ile de Ngor

And we discovered that if you go in cooler months, the crowds are way down and the weather is absolutely perfect for walking around the island and enjoying some good (inexpensive) food al fresco. You might pass the occasional vendor or other walkers, but for the most part the winding paths are empty and quiet – a special treat for those of us who live in Dakar.

Fam photo (four months to go!)

Ile de Ngor is easy to get to, relaxing, pretty and usually pretty clean and calm. The island is not big, so you can walk the island before your feet get tired.

This pirogue makes the roundtrip regularly.

Our favorite restaurant off the main beach and is called Sunu Makane – Chez Seck. If you tell the guys selling boat tickets that’s where you’re headed, they’ll put you on the nicer motorboats rather than the big pirogue for the ride over. (Same price – 500 cfa, about $1, roundtrip.)

Shades of blue

The food is fresh and good, the service is friendly and quick and the prices are better than the mainland (peninsuland?). We had two plates of yassa thiof (grilled whole fish with caramelized onion sauce over rice), one plate of brochettes de boeuf and fries, one plate of sautéed shrimp with loads of garlic and fries, a child’s plate of spaghetti and four drinks for just under 25,000cfa (about $50).

Ngor beach
The main beach

Good to know:

  • If you eat at one of the main restaurants, they will come pick you up/take you back in their boats. Just let the guy selling tickets that you want to go to the restaurant and he’ll set you up.
  • The ride over can be wet, so put cameras and phone in Ziploc bags and wear shoes/pants that can get wet.
  • There is now a wooden step that can be used to climb into the pirogue. (This would have been nice to have in place the first time we made the trip over when I was seven months pregnant…)
  • At Sunu Makane, you can order your meal and tell them what time you want it ready, then walk the island (60-90 minutes of stroll time) and come back to a meal ready and waiting.
  • There are two beach areas, so check them both out before deciding if/where you want to park for the day.
  • You can rent an umbrella/mat for 1,000cfa/day.
  • You can also rent paddle boards, but this is more of a hot summer day activity.
  • It’s still the cleanest place I’ve been in Senegal.
  • The vendors still didn’t hassle us.
Ngor walk
Walking the narrow paths around the island. (This is actually one of the wider ones.)
He wanted us to sit with him on one of the really tall benches on the overlook. On the coastline behind us is the Almadies neighborhood of Dakar.
Wearing their ‘matching’ African wax print pants
Lots of fishing boats (gala) out there. Apparently this is the season for fish. The cooler temps draw them up nearer to the surface… and make them more fish-able!
THE spot to have your photo taken on the island.
He’s so beachy casual.
Ready for our close-up! Well, two out of three…
The ‘rents
Would whoever taught him to turn his hat backwards (à la Chandler Bing) please undo what you started! Oh well. He’s still adorable.
Sunu Makane
Restaurant Sunu Makane (Tel 77 647 8166, if you’re interested.)
Just chillin on the pier, waiting to catch the boat home. It was a great day and a very successful excursion in Dakar!
“I’m sailing!”