Parc National du Delta du Saloum
Covering over 76,000 hectares of mangrove-lined creeks, sandy islands, large sea areas and woodland, the Parc National du Delta du Saloum is Senegal's second-largest national park. Beyond the mangrove swamps and a large marine section its main attraction is the fantastically varied landscape and the hundreds of bird species it attracts is the south.
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.
Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj
With almost 300 species of bird, this 16,000-hectare park is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the world. Flamingos, pelicans and waders are most plentiful, and large numbers of migrating birds travel here in November. The park is best explored by pirogue. Boats trips can be arranged at the park entrance or at the hotels.
Also known as Lac Retba, this shallow lagoon surrounded by dunes is a popular day-trip destination for dakarois and tourists alike, all coming to enjoy the calm and catch the lake's magic trick – the subtle pink shimmer that sometimes colours its waves. The spectacle is caused by the water's high salt content, which is 10 times that of your regular ocean.
Parc National de Niokolo-Koba
Niokolo-Koba, at 900 sq km, is Senegal's largest national park. It's listed as a World Heritage Site in danger, as park resources barely suffice to adequately protect the remaining animals (including elephants, lions, warthogs, and various monkey and antelope species). You can explore the park by 4WD, though sightings of the rare mammals are far from guaranteed.