Travel
Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

Dakar Lives Is the Startup On a Mission To Show You the Real Senegal

We chat with Dakar Lives co-founder, Olivia Codou Ndiaye, about how the platform is revolutionizing tourism in Senegal.

In 2015, Olivia Codou Ndiaye, Mamadou "Papi" Wane, Mamy Tall, and Marouane Gasnier came together at an instameet and co-founded Dakar Lives—a startup specializing in exposing people to real Senegalese culture and tourism.

Today, their Instagram has amassed over 66,000 followers and they've expanded into Mali, Morocco, Togo and Guinea. Growth in each city comes with new challenges, but the mission of providing an authentic point of view from locals remains the same no matter where they choose to set up shop. The four and their network are combatting a world in which "googling" things to do in an African country is far more tedious a task than doing the same for Paris, Rome, Berlin or Lisbon.

Despite appearing to only be the curators of a kaleidoscope of images, the team behind Dakar Lives has managed to create a business that is far more than what we see.


It's a hub comprised of a URL and IRL community aimed at providing economic value to a vast network of creatives. This hub is comprised of freelance photographers, bloggers, web designers, and filmmakers; it encourages networking and collaborative entrepreneurship and nurtures Senegal's talent. Most of the content seen on their Instagram comes from the aforementioned members. Dakar Lives also operates as an agency that assists the Minister of Senegalese tourism with events like Dakar's Biennale, a large scale art festival being held at the start of this summer, and creates content for hotels. They partner with Tastemakers Africa, offering its expertise for trips to Senegal.

The Dakar Lives team. Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

They provide a travel guide for locals and visitors on which businesses pay to be featured. They consistently produce events including instameets, product giveaways, and pop up shops for brands like founder Papi's Mwami.

The role the growth of technology has played in our day to day life plays a significant part allowing businesses like this to thrive. Trips to African countries like Senegal, Togo, Mali and Morocco are planned with the ease of use of smartphones. Globetrotters seek out inspiration while using social media platforms. The internet continues to bridge gaps and change the way we look at the world around us. "[It] is really helping because you get the attention of the world and they can actually see, for example, where the inspiration comes from when you see other things happening in the US or in Europe and it comes full circle. And that's a great thing," Ndiaye says.

With future plans to open in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and facilitate the exploration of every city they are in with a mobile app, Dakar Lives will continue to dispel misconceptions about Senegal and the continent overall.

Ndiaye shared with us eight of her favorite things to do in Dakar. Take a look below.

1. Rise early for a surf session and breakfast at Plage du Virage, Copacabana or Secret Spot in Almadies

Plage du Virage. Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

2. Visit the Leopold Senghor Museum, an homage to the country's first president, which features 9,000 artifacts

Leopold Senghor Museum. Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

3. Hike, scuba dive and picnic at Les Iles de la Madeleine

Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

4. Appreciate Dakar's street art scene in the Medina neighborhood

Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

5. Head to the Soumbedioune fish market to gaze at the colored local boats (pirogues)

Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

6. Dine at Bazoff Pub-Restaurant, home to a great selection of African dishes and live band performances on Thursdays

Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

7. Party at Fool Moon on a Saturday night—it's full of a diverse array of people to meet

Photo courtesy of Dakar Lives.

8. Watch Senegalese wrestlers train at the Corniche at sunset (You may challenge them if you are feeling courageous)

Travel
Maputo City Hall. Photo by Ciku Kimeria.

Travel Guide: Maputo's History Lives In Its Rich Architecture

In this photo essay, writer Ciku Kimeria explores the fascinating history of Mozambique's capital city.

Many things will grab the attention of a first-time visitor in Maputo, but the city's architecture will undoubtedly rank high. Wide avenues, larger than life monuments, buildings that hark back to another time and place—to walk through downtown Maputo, "Baixa" is to encounter history and the stories that this stunning city hopes to share with the curious visitor.

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Photo courtesy of Rachelle Salnave.

Travel Diary: Rachelle Salnave & Her Daughters Are Welcomed Home To Ghana In the Year of Return

"No one had to tell us—we felt at home!"

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Haitian-American indie filmmaker Rachelle Salnave shares the gift she gave her daughters of traveling to Ghana, West Africa for the first time during The Year of Return.

Staying at Agoo Hostel in Nima was a page out of the 1980's American TV series, The Love Boat—except the characters were Ghanaian!

"Akwaaba! Welcome home my sistahs," is a phrase we were told not just at Agoo, but throughout our entire Ghana girls trip. Akwabba is not just this country's motto—it's the vibe in Ghana.

This girls trip was a graduation gift for my daughters, Kiara and Nadine. Having traveled to Morocco to connect with my Moroccan stepmom and sister, Africa was not unfamiliar to them—but I knew Ghana would be different. My DNA had been traced to Ghana and Benin, it's neighboring country. I immediately saw a taste of Haiti, my parents' country and the girls felt the kinship. I prayed this trip would change our relationship with Africa and bond us closer together as women. Ghana did just that!

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Video
Stormzy performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) via Getty Images.

Watch Stormzy's Powerful BRIT Awards Performance Featuring Burna Boy

The night saw the British-Ghanaian star run through a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head.

The BRIT Awards 2020, which went down earlier this week, saw the likes of Stormzy take home the Best Male trophy home and Dave win Best Album.

The night also saw Stormzy deliver a stunning performance that featured a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head. The British-Ghanaian star started things out slow with "Don't Forget to Breathe," before popping things off with "Do Better" then turning up the heat with "Wiley Flow."

Stormzy nodded to J Hus, playing a short bit of "Fortune Teller," before being joined onstage by Nigeria's Burna Boy to perform their hit "Own It." Burna Boy got his own moment and performed an energetic rendition of his African Giant favorite "Anybody."

The night was closed off with a powerful message that read: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is beautiful man." The message flashed on a black screen before a moving performance of "Rainfall" backed by his posse.

Watch the full performance below.

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The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

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