The natural hair community in Senegal is vibrant and flourishing. The beautiful, diverse people of Dakar, the country's largest city- embrace a myriad of loc’d textures and styles that reflect their rich and unique cultural heritage.
Many individuals proudly wear their natural hair, expressing a sense of identity and connection to their roots. Locs, braids, twists, and afros are popular styles, reflecting a range of personal preferences and fashion trends.
Salons and stylists in Senegal specialize in many forms of locs- offering services that
cater specifically to the needs of their clientele. These establishments play a crucial role in nurturing, maintaining, and cultivating the health and beauty of loc’d hair. These shops use local, natural products and tried-and-true techniques to maintain their hair. I was blessed to meet several Dakarois who proudly rocked their natural tresses.
Throughout my travels in Senegal, I met a local Sisterlocks™ consultant, Ms.Clarrise. Please check her out if you are ever in this region! Although many loc'ers go to salons or have someone to tend to their regular maintenance regimen, several also self-maintain.
In Dakar, the natural hair movement is not just about aesthetics; it carries cultural significance. The Senegalese have a strong sense of pride in their African heritage while challenging "conventional" beauty standards. The loc'd hair community in this "Country of Legends" reflects a broader global trend where Africans across the diaspora proudly embrace their natural textures while unapologetically presenting our unique and versatile beauty as the prototype.
If you plan to travel to West Africa, add “The Gateway to West Africa” to your list of must-go destinations! This jewel of a nation boasts the following activities and many more:
1. Embark on a journey through Gorée Island's captivating historical sites, immersing yourself in the stories of Maison des Esclaves.
This experience was extremely significant and emotional for me as an African American with broad West African and Senegalese ancestry. To know that I am here only through the grace of God and the sacrifices my forefathers made - makes me extremely grateful. To fully experience this life-changing voyage, contact Ms Kenza for all your tour guide needs. She was captivating and comforting as she spoke of the atrocities committed against the Africans throughout the slave trade. Kenza is also the only female tour guide in Dakar- she is a phenom who does not disappoint.
2. Soak in the awe-inspiring vistas of Dakar from the African Renaissance Monument, a majestic tribute to Africa and the progress it is manifesting in the 21st Century. Be prepared to create memories against the backdrop of this city's panoramic African beauty.
3. Immerse yourself in the vibrant pulse of Dakar by wandering through its lively markets, such as the bustling Marché Sandaga. I got lost in this shopper's heaven for hours! Be sure to come prepared to negotiate the best price and bring plenty of West African Franc (CFA/XOF).
4. Uncover the layers of Senegalese history at the IFAN Museum of African Arts, where art and culture intertwine to tell compelling stories.
5. Delight your palate with the flavors of Senegal, savoring local cuisines like the iconic Thieboudienne or the richly spiced Mafé.
6. Take leisurely strides along the Corniche de Dakar, letting the rhythmic waves of the Atlantic Ocean accompany your scenic stroll.
7. Marvel at the architectural grandeur of the Grand Mosque of Dakar, where Islamic influence weaves seamlessly into the cityscape.
8. Embark on an enchanting day trip to the Pink Lake (Retba), where surreal pink hues, courtesy of algae, create a mesmerizing natural spectacle.
9. Answer the call of adventure with a safari in Fathala Wildlife Reserve, immersing yourself in the diverse wildlife of West Africa.
10. Surrender to the magic of Dunes de Lompoul, where giant sand dunes paint a unique landscape, inviting you to experience the thrill of a desert safari.
I had a wonderful time in Dakar and am already planning my next trip. I can't wait to see what else this African gem offers.
Thanks for bringing your lovely locs along on this wonderful journey with me. Until next time...