Seetsi benn film – How to see a movie in Senegal

This first week in Dakar was filled with random adventures. It’s a long-ish post, so grab the popcorn!

On Tuesday, Emily, Jessica, Avey, Sierra, and I all decided to see a free movie at a place called Hotel du Phare in les Mamelles. Their Facebook page lets you know which movie is showing, and it happens every Tuesday evening on the rooftop in the 8 o’clock hour. There is a restaurant and bar on the rooftop, wifi, and the pizza is pretty great. “Hotel du Phare” literally translates to “hotel of the lighthouse,” which is fitting because you can see the lighthouse from the open air rooftop where they show the movies. I wanted to take a picture, but it was too dark.

And of course, it is not a trip to Senegal without a few mishaps.

We all met at the Baobab Center to catch a taxi over to Hotel du Phare around 7:30. We thought it would give us plenty of time to arrive, find a seat, and order some pizza. WRONG.

After struggling to hail a taxi, two different taxi drivers turned us down because they did not know where we were going. That should have been a hint that we were in for an interesting trip, but we went along anyway. Once we found a taxi to take us, Jessica showed the drive on her phone where we were going.

We took a quick ride to the Corniche (main road weaving along the outskirts of the city by the water), and came to the neighborhood just before Ngor, which is where the hotel should have been. Jessica did not have internet on her phone, so the picture on Maps of where we were going was only partial. The taxi driver was confused, and asked us exactly where we were going, to which we replied we didn’t know.

After driving around for several minutes up and down the street, Avey brought out the map of Dakar from her bag, and tried to show the driver on the paper map where we were going. He still did not understand, and the streets were not lining up the way they were supposed to.

I think our driver asked for directions from about 5 different people, and we drove up and down Corniche for about 20 minutes before finding someone who could give us directions.

It turns out that Hotel du Phare is situated down a dirt road alley behind Corniche behind a bus station. Basically, if you are in Dakar, ask to go to the bus station near the phare (the lighthouse) and walk down the dirt road directly behind all of the buses. The Hotel du Phare will be on your left.

When we arrived, the following doormat greeted us:

We ordered a couple of pizzas, which took about an hour and a half to get to our table, but we were also the last people there before the movie started.  

If you’re looking for a place with great pizza and Western films to decompress, this is definitely the place to go. We hope to go back a few more times while we are in Dakar!

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