Celebrating holidays and special occasions in Dakar can be a little challenging. For starters, you don’t have the 24/7 advertising we get in the US that reminds you that Valentine’s Day/Mother’s Day/random other holiday is just around the corner and ‘every kiss begins with K’…

Here are some ideas to help get your creative juices going as you plan for Valentine’s Day in Dakar.

Breakfast in bed
La Graine d’Or bakery delivers. 33 820 8573. Voilà and you’re welcome.

It’s in the basket.
I can’t explain it, but for some reason, we women just love baskets. Big ones, little ones, bread ones, fruit ones, stacking ones… We like them all. (Or at least I do… hint, hint.) And have you seen how much these baskets sell for in the US? In Dakar, prices for smaller baskets start around 1500cfa and for a med-large basket with a lid you can expect to pay about 8000cfa. Plus it’s a cool local craft that can serve as a reminder of your time in Senegal.

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Baskets for sale along the side of the road

Rub it in.
Nothing says love like paying someone else to run their hands all over your special someone. The Radisson Blu and the Ryad al Sultan on the the Corniche Ouest both have great spa, massage and hammam offerings, ranging from the more basic to the more extravagant. (Personally, I prefer the ambiance of the Ryad al Sultan. If you go, tell them I sent you. Not that they know me, but I’d love to be on their radar as someone who sends them loads of new clients!)

If you’re looking for a very budget-friendly option, I highly recommend Mme Nafi Seck Ndiaye, who does massages at your home. A 45-minute massage is 5000 CFA, plus 3000 CFA transport. Mme Ndiaye worked for many years at a Dakar hospital doing rééducation massages. She can do either a full body massage or concentrate on specific areas. You will need to supply lotion or massage oil and a bed or massage table on which she can work. 77 393 7840

An old Valentine’s favorite, and rightly so! In case you haven’t yet heard, THE place to get chocolate in Dakar right now is the newly opened Jeff de Bruges shop at 11 rue Victor Hugo at the intersection with Mohamed V. 33 822 4141. You can check out the online guide to their chocolates (in English) here.

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Just opened in Dakar!
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Say it in ink.
Henna ink, that is. Surprise her with a love declaration on your bicep or splurge on His & Hers (temporary) ink. Certainly memorable! 🙂 Bathie Ndiaye does henna tattoos starting at 3000cfa + transport to your home. 77 666 2957

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Henna by Bathie

The way to a (wo)man’s heart…
Dakar really has an amazing selection of restaurants, and new ones are popping up all the time. We just tried Le Mokai for the first time (highly recommend the sushi and sashimi, chicken yakitori and the fondant au chocolat which could melt my heart any day!) and another favorite with a lovely ambiance in the evening is Le Jardin on the Pointe de Almadies.

Le Mokai
Le Mokai – check out the Valentine’s Day special menu on their Facebook Page!

This is a gift that says, “Your comfort matters to me… and go ahead and enjoy that chocolate.” Chaya pants are lightweight and flowy, stretchy at the waist and come in every color under the sun.

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Chayas in a lovely bright green

Ooh là là!
Or you can always head to HLM market for some Senegalese lingerie!

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