One of West Africa's most stable countries is definitely not dull: The capital, Dakar, is a dizzying, street-hustler rich introduction to the country. Perched on the tip of a peninsula, elegance meets chaos, noise, vibrant markets and glittering nightlife while nearby Île de Gorée and the beaches of Yoff and N'Gor tap to slow, lazy beats. In northern Senegal, the enigmatic capital of Saint-Louis, a Unesco World Heritage Site, tempts with colonial architecture and proximity to lucious national parks. Along the Petite Côte and Cap Skiring, wide strips of beaches beckon and the wide deltas of the Casamance River reveals hundreds of bird species, from the gleaming wings of tiny kingfishers to the proud poise of pink flamingos. Whether you want to mingle with the trendsetters of urban Africa or be alone with your thoughts and the sounds of nature, you'll find your place in Senegal.
Île de Gorée
Ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, the historical, Unesco-designated Île de Gorée is enveloped by an almost eerie calm. There are no sealed roads and no cars on this island, just narrow alleyways with trailing bougainvilleas and colonial brick buildings with wrought-iron balconies – it's a living, visual masterpiece.