Senegal is a country with remarkable landscapes, wildlife, and culture. If you have the chance to explore this country, you will undoubtedly be amazed. To delve into its history and culture, a visit to Gorée Island, one of the 19 communes of the Dakar district, is essential.
The name might sound familiar… and it certainly doesn’t evoke pleasant memories! Indeed, this island remains a symbol of a sad history: that of human exploitation and slavery.
A Place Full of Emotions
Bathed in sunshine, the island appears paradisiacal with its turquoise blue waters and colorful houses. However, it was not for its beauty that Gorée was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, but as a symbol of the slave trade. Recognized by the renowned UN agency, Gorée Island is significant for its preservation. Despite the atrocities that occurred there, it has left an indelible mark on human history. Historians estimate that between 900 and 15,000 slaves were deported from this island between 1726 and 1755, confined in the House of Slaves in Gorée. Today, this building is a memorial to these thousands of humans.
A Sanctuary for Reconciliation
Though once a site of immense suffering, tears, and death, Gorée has transformed into a memorial. It stands as an open-air museum, bearing witness to a painful past and a hopeful future. Today, visitors from around the world come to reflect here. It has become a place of dialogue between cultures, fostering reconciliation and forgiveness.
A Must-Visit Island
If you visit Gorée, take the opportunity to relax in its tranquil environment. Cars do not operate here, and the noise is much less than in the capital. Dedicate at least a whole day to exploring this island, its monuments, and its history.
The must-see attractions of this island include the Gorée slave house and the historical museum of Senegal. If you have time after wandering the narrow streets of Gorée and visiting these two museums, consider the Museum of the Sea or the Museum of Women. To fully appreciate this unique island, hiring a local guide is advisable. They can explain the complete history of Gorée and slavery, ensuring you don’t miss important details.
For an even more profound experience, consider staying a night in Gorée. Few tourists opt for this, but it allows you to experience the nearly empty island and feel even deeper emotions. And with a bit of luck, you might enjoy a unique sunset.