Yoff Beach, Senegal – sand + surf vs. festively-painted fishing boats

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, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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 City

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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.

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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?

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Benjamin White

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.

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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.

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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.

Yoff Beach, Senegal

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

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.

More on Senegal:

Île de Gorée – Maison des Esclaves and the Door of No Return

More on West Africa:

Sierra Leone:

Freetown – Cotton Tree, Gaddafi Mosque, & Graham Greene

Bunce Island – jungle-covered remains of a slave trading castle

Birds of Freetown

Beaches of the Freetown Peninsula

The Gambia:

Kachikally Crocodile Pool – the crocs are safe?

Posts on Morocco:

Rabat – Hassan Tower + dreams of world’s biggest mosque

Aït Benhaddou – UNESCO ksar in Game of Thrones + Gladiator

Marrakesh – you can skip the shopping, but don’t miss the souqs

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