Let’s start at the beginning… What is FIDAK? It’s the annual Foire International de Dakar, a giant trade fair and market with goods from around the globe. And you should go.
FIDAK is held at the Dakar ‘fairgrounds’ called CICES (easy to find on Google Maps), just off the VDN near Ouest Foire. You can take a taxi and get out at the entrance, or drive and park. Yes, there is lots of parking available. But finding your car after you’ve finished shopping may prove to be quite challenging…
If you drive, you can buy the 700cfa entry tickets from your car as you roll in. About 5 seconds after you get your ticket, it will be taken from you and torn in half. That’s the end of the tickets part.
If you taxi, hop out and enter in by the big Orange sign then walk down the little road to your right. The ticket ‘windows’ look like square holes in the wall and will be on the left. It’s 700cfa for adults. Ladies, prepare to have your bags checked quickly as you go in.
You could wander the big, huge pyramid-shaped buildings and browse and shop and get lost for a long time, but if you want to get in and out… Go straight down the main paved road with blue tents. Look for the green building marked ‘VERT’. That’s the one you (most likely) want.
The following info comes from the FIDAK website and while I certainly cannot say with authority that it is exactly accurate, it does seem pretty reliable based on what we saw today and what I remember from years past…
- Pavillon Tertiaire: Country of honor’s goods as well as those from Algeria.
- Pavillon Sénégal: Okay, this was not what I was hoping for. More business focused than I was after.
- Pavillon du Maroc: Well, this one is for Moroccan vendors, believe it or not.
- Pavillon Vert: aka ‘Pavillon des Nations’ is my favorite. Woodin and Uniwax from Cote d’Ivoire, hand-dyed thioup from Mauritania, leather sandals from Pakistan (although these did seem to be in almost every pavilion..), baskets from Burkina, fabric and shea butter from Mali, bazin riche, real-hair extensions, hand-woven page its rolls, incense mixtures…
- Pavillon Brun: aka ‘Pavillon du Gouvernement’ is ministries, agencies and other institutions of Senegal.#yawn. But there is a fun little section on products from the seven regions of Senegal. I bought a little 700cfa tub of bright green moringa powder.
- Pavillon Orange: this international Bazar is like a giant flea market and has clothing, housewares, Pakistani tunics, pillow cases, wall hangings… “jewelry”, kitchen goods, plastic toys, traditional medicine for whatever ails you… And I think this was where the Egyptian furniture was on display.
Although some prices are marked, most (if not all) are negotiable. Quite negotiable.
Afternoons it gets busy. Evenings even more so. Weekends are just crazy. If you can go on a weekday morning, do it. The pavilions officially open at 10:30am, but we got there a bit before and were able to wander around most areas.
The 2016 FIDAK runs daily until December 9th, according to their rather skimpy Facebook page. (#hireme) But I guess at least there’s a FB page, right? Especially considering their website has not been updated since last year.