Most people’s knowledge of Senegal comes from watching the end of the famous Paris-Dakar rally, where drivers race through the home stretch over the treacherous dunes of the Sahara. But Senegal is a lot more than just the finish line to a car race, a coastal, temperate area where you can spend days basking in the savannas of Parc National de Niokolo-Koba or swimming in the pink waters of Lac Rose. You can pass time fishing in coastal towns like Saly and Popenguine. Or go diving in the warm waters off the Cap-Vert Peninsula.

Senegal is also full of bustling cities, like the capital, Dakar, with its bazaars and Grande Mosque. It feels a little like Morocco with a heavy dose of African culture, and it’s home to the best food and hotels in Senegal. You might also want to check out the old capital in St. Louis, which still retains much of the French architecture and street design from colonial times.