Getting out of Dakar is hard. In a city with endless distractions, when it comes to the end of the week the temptation to stay put is strong. But these days with the new autoroute à péage which cuts travel time significantly, getting out of town for the day, or even just a few hours is easily done.

With two old friends in town for a visit and an afternoon to spare, it was the perfect opportunity to do just this. We went to the Espace Sobo Badè, a hotel, restaurant and arts centre in the fishing village of Toubab Dialaw, 50 kilometres from Dakar along the Petite Côte. 



The hotel is owned – and was designed – by a sculptor and artist from Haiti and his wife, a dancer from France.

Toasting our arrival with Ginger and Bissap (Hibiscus) juices.

Toasting our arrival with Ginger and Bissap (Hibiscus) juices.


High up on a cliff overlooking the sea, the whimsical and wonderful architecture of Sobo Badè is straight out of a fairy-tale.


It’s reminiscent of the works of Antoni Gaudí, especially Parc Güell in Barcelona, with an eclectic collection of colourful mosaic tiles, sculptures and seashells adorning the buildings.


Grilled Prawns with Aloco (fried Plantain)

Grilled Prawns with Aloco (fried Plantain)

I highly recommend the restaurant here. Amazing seafood (be organised and call up the day before to order the Lobster – it’s worth it) but also simple and tasty home cooked dishes such as Lasagne.

While we waited for our food we explored the grounds, enjoyed the beautiful gardens, and took in the ocean views.





A seasonal ‘butterfly storm’ also added to the magical atmosphere, when all of a sudden we were surrounded by hundreds of these little beauties who are on their yearly migration.


As we went mid-week and it’s winter, we had the beach to ourselves.



It’s no secret that I love the city, but a couple of hours away was a perfect antidote to the noise, dust, smog and constant commotion that can leave you feeling drained. It was also a reminder that you don’t have to go very far from Dakar to find stunning natural surroundings, peace and quiet. I’m already planning my next escape.


Espace Sobo Badé, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal (+221) 33 836 03 56  [email protected]


Moira Welch,