Five of the best coastal city destinations in West Africa
Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is located on the Cap-Vert peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland. Lake Retba (or Lac Rose), which lies north of the Cap-Vert peninsula, is known for its gorgeous pink waters. Aside from the numerous beaches and islands to enjoy in Dakar, there are several holiday destinations to enjoy, including the popular La Madrague-Surf Beach Sea and Marina Bay. Dakar also has several culturally significant landmarks, most notably the House of Slaves, a museum dedicated to the Atlantic slave trade.
Not only is Lagos the most populous city on the African continent, it is one of the continent’s cultural hubs. With its position as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Lagos has rapidly developed into a major financial centre in Africa, boasting the highest GDP on the continent. There are plenty of regionally renowned beaches around Lagos. One such beach is Tarkwa Bay, an artificial sheltered beach which is only accessible by boat or water taxis.
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Dubbed the "Manhattan of the tropics" or "Pearl of the lagoons", Abidjan is a mesmeric city on the southern Atlantic coast of Côte d'Ivoire. Abidjan makes up around 20 percent of the overall population of Côte d’Ivoire, making it the fourth most populous city proper on the continent, after Lagos, Cairo and Kinshasa. Characterised by a high level of industrialisation and urbanisation, a lively night life and well-oiled transport and communication lines, Abidjan is a city particularly popular with business travellers. Many of Abidjan’s beaches are beautifully decorated with palm and coconut trees.
Boasting a host of glittering beaches with different sand and rock features Ghana’s capital, Accra, is a favourite for beach lovers. Its coastline is strewn with beautiful beaches such as Labadi Beach, a beach popular amoung locals and foreigners for its night-time parties. One of the hottest cities on the continent (mainly due to humidity), Accra is characterised by constant sunshine. Home to over fifty distinct languages, Accra is also known to be one of the most diverse cities in Africa.
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Leicester Peak, which stands 550 meters above sea level offers a panoramic view of Freetown. The gorgeous view shows, amoung other things, Sierra Leone River and its many inlets. The arrival into this city alone is stunning. Freetown’s airport, Lungi International, is across a sea estuary from Freetown. The most popular way into the city from the airport is by boat for just under R600 via the Sea Coach or the Sea Bird. Amoung the city’s other draw cards are its incredible diversity of mangoes and a huge tree of cultural and historical significance located in Freetown’s center.