There are three prominent islands off the coast of Dakar: Ile Goree, Ile Ngor and Ile de Madeline. Each is unique and each make for a great day trip! But my personal favorite is Ile de Madeline. It's best to go to Ile de Madeline in the summer months so you can make a nice beach day out of it, but I know some people go in the winter and love it.
What I like most about Ile de Madeline is that it feels so remote! The island is uninhabited (though there is plenty of birdlife and wildlife!) so as soon as you're on it, it feels like you're on some faraway Mediterranean shore. You can't even see the Dakar coastline so you really feel like you're 'out there'.
This also means that a trip to Ile de Madeline requires some planning ahead. You should bring lunch, enough water for the day, and all your beach gear (bathing suits, umbrellas, plenty of sunscreen). I love spending the day having a little picnic on the island and swimming around when the sun gets too hot!
There are also guides that will take you around the island and give some background on all its wildlife. I've never done this because the beach is enough for me, but I know a lot of people who love the tours.
To get to the island, you have to take a 20 minute pirogue ride from the coast of Dakar. There is also an entrance fee since this island is a UNESCO site. Last time I checked the fee was 5,000cfa a person.
One of my favorite parts of going to Ile de Madeline is exploring the island! You can climb up onto the cliffs surrounding the island and get a great view of the coast!
Yasmine Beydoun, Communications Coordinator