The big news in town is that a food court is going in on the Corniche Ouest, the coastal road that runs from Terrou-Bi hotel up to Almadies via Fann, Fenêtre Mermoz, Ouakam and Mamelles. And this food court will have… a McDonald’s and a Starbucks!

Not really. I just needed to get your attention. When you’re done hating me, please keep reading. (However, I stand by my prediction that Dakar will get a real KFC, Subway and/or Burger King soon.)

I spend a lot of time on the Corniche road and am continually surprised by how many people, especially women, appear to be unaware of the security risks. Whether it’s walking with bags or purses on the street side (an easy grab for robbers on motorcycles, usually two men riding without helmets so they can see and maneuver better), or zoning out while wearing headphones, or holding their smart phones loosely in their hands as they walk… These are dangerous habits that put you at risk.

The Corniche is a beautiful, peaceful place – a rare open space in Dakar. And I think that calmness translates to lowered awareness, sometimes even by those who usually play it pretty safe. So as I was out running today and passed (as in ‘crossed paths with’, not necessarily ‘zoomed past’) other happy folks out getting some fresh air and exercise, it seemed many may not understand that part of enjoying the Corniche should be staying fully aware of your surroundings. And yes, that includes keeping an eye out for  slippery horse poop on the sidewalk. (Just trust me, okay?)

The U.S. Embassy put the Corniche off limits to U.S. Embassy personnel during the hours of darkness in January 2014. The Embassy continues to recommend that if you choose to walk along the Corniche during daylight hours, you do so on the side of the road furthest away from the beach (the east side). In the past, perpetrators have used the beach access points as routes of access and escape to/from the Corniche. By using the other side of the street and maintaining a high level of awareness you may be able to spot trouble coming, which in turn would give you additional time and distance to react and escape.

Source: U.S. Citizen Services