I wasn’t sure what to expect of Yoff Beach, on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal.
Beaches that double as ports for active fishing industries aren’t always the nicest of places to visit; they can reek of dead fish, and be seriously unpleasant – if not dangerous – for those who wish to take a dip in their waters.
Yoff Beach also happens to be encircled by a sprawling city of 100,000, from which, I’m fairly certain, raw sewage flows untreated into the sea.
(I know I tend to focus on the sanitation side of things. I am an environmental engineer though, so there is reason for it. 🙂 )
Anyway, I guess this is just my way of saying that I wasn’t expecting all that much of Yoff Beach.
And I came away pleasantly surprised.
Yoff is a Lebou village, by which I mean it is a village of the Lebou people.
The Lebou have occupied the Cape Verde Peninsula – the westernmost point on the African mainland – since at least the 15th Century, when the Portuguese sailed past, and noted their presence.
The Lebou speak Lebu Wolof, which is an older form of Wolof, the traditional language of Senegal.
For centuries the Lebou people have made their living from the sea.
It’s a custom that continues to this day.
Is Yoff a pretty beach?
Yes! I would say Yoff is an attractive beach.
The hind beach area is fairly heavily developed, but the buildings add a sense of drama to the otherwise flat and uninspiring coastal landscape, and manage to avoid detracting from the natural setting too significantly.
The beach is pretty clean for the most part. although it is less clean near the end occupied by the fishing industry – as is to be expected.
The water is shallow, warm, and silty.
Swimming is definitely a possibility.
Except at Yoff Beach, I wasn’t all that interested in swimming.
At Yoff the fishing industry – typically ugly, and best avoided – is the highlight of the beach.
So much so, I found myself forgetting all about the sand and the waves, and focussing all of my attention on those festively-painted timber fishing boats.
I left the beach without having sampled the waters, but having thoroughly enjoyed the beach all the same.
Practical information and how to reach Yoff Beach:
Yoff Beach (Plage de Yoff) is approximately 10km north (a 30 minute drive) from downtown Dakar. The easiest way to get to the beach is by taxi or hire car, although it is possible to get there by public bus if you are up for the adventure.
More transport info here.