Senegal is a perfect vacation destination if you are looking for something more than the typical beach resort. The best things to do in Senegal involve exciting experiences, so it's the perfect trip for the active vacationer seeking some adventure. It is also a great chance to explore a culture known for hospitality and friendliness.

01Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

Hunting white pelicans at the lake in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal Claudiovidri / Getty Images

Nestled in the Senegal river delta near Saint-Louis, this expansive bird sanctuary is central to the lives of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. Manatees, jackals, crocodiles, and other large wildlife roam free-range in the sanctuary. Book a boat tour and catch a glimpse of these unique creatures as you explore this natural habitat.

02Langue de Barbarie National Park

Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) on a coral reef richcarey / Getty Images

If you want to see Senegal's wildlife, visit Langue de Barbarie National Park. Located on the peninsula that separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Senegal River, the park is an essential home for the local bird population. But its wildlife claim-to-fame is the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle. You can easily book a tour from nearby Saint-Louis.

03Gorée Island

Gorée Island in Dakar, Senegal byakkaya / Getty Images

Venture to Gorée Island and explore Senegal's history. Walking amongst the island's 18th-century architecture is a bit like taking a trip back in time. You can visit the "House of Slaves," and its "Door of No Return." The island is an opportunity to learn about Senegal's past, and a trip to Gorée is an unforgettable experience.

04Niokolo-Koba National Park

Curious hippo in Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal evenfh / Getty Images

Nikolo-Koba National Park is the place to go to in Senegal to see larger wildlife. This World Heritage site located on the Gambia river offers a chance to see some of Senegal's most exciting animals, such as lions, leopards, baboons, chimpanzees, elephants, and hippos. Take a safari and see the African wilderness up close.

05A Touch of Luxury in the Wilderness

Giraffe Jorge Hernández Pérez / Getty Images

How about a touch of luxury while experiencing the African wilderness? Fathala Wildlife Reserve and Lodge includes luxury tents and even an outdoor jacuzzi. Enjoy a swim and champagne at night while taking open-air safari drives in the day. The nearby wildlife includes giraffes, lions, and much more. The reserve is a chance to stay in the African wilderness in style.

06Dakar

Panorama of Dakar, Senegal Siempreverde22 / Getty Images

If you venture into the streets of the capital of Senegal, make sure you find your way to the Médina Quarter for some shopping. You also should check out the African Renaissance Monument, a 160 feet high bronze statue located above the city on one of the twin hills. It's an impressive sight and provides beautiful views of the city below.

07Mosque of Divinity

The Mosque of Divinity IgorSPb / Getty Images

Any trip to Dakar is incomplete without a visit to the Mosque of Divinity. A relatively new addition to Dakar, the Mosque of Divinity was completed in 1997. Whether you are inside looking at the Mosque itself or outside admiring the impressive beachfront, you'll be impressed with the view.

08N'Gor Island

A bay in Ngor, Dakar. Anze Furlan / psgtproductions / Getty Images

If the crowded streets of Dakar become a bit too hectic, a quick trip to N'Gor Island might be in order. You can soak in the mellow island vibe while visiting some of the charming fishing communities that dot the island. It's also a great place to surf, swim and have fun!

09Saloum Delta National Park

Saloum Pirogues George Wagner / Getty Images

The Saloum Delta National Park is a massive, 190,000-acre natural wonder. Take a boat tour to get around this marshy, remote area, and experience all of its spectacular views. The delta is known for its rich, diverse marine life and a wide variety of birds, including flamingos and curlew sandpipers.

10Saint-Louis

Aerial panorama of Sant Louis. Anze Furlan / psgtproductions / Getty Images

The city of Saint-Louis is the place to go to explore some of Senegal's urban culture. Walking the streets of this center, you can appreciate the colonial architecture and friendly, hospitable people. There are numerous festivals to enjoy throughout the year, such as the Saint-Louis Jazz Festival in May.