La Maison des Esclaves

La Maison des Esclaves, Dakar: Address, Phone Number, La Maison des Esclaves Reviews: 4.5/5

La Maison des Esclaves
4.5
Speciality Museums
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This centuries-old house served as a processing center for African slaves.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,546 reviews
Excellent
781
Very good
547
Average
178
Poor
28
Terrible
12

Steve Buckley
London, UK5,421 contributions
My wife and myself lived in Dakar in the early/mid 80s and we are currently paying our first return visit and we went to Goree Island on Sunday.

Unlike Dakar, Goree was largely unchanged including our favourite Restaurant Chez TonTon was still doing a thriving trade (see subsequent Review) and - of course - La Maison des Esclaves. The latter is really what Goree Island is all about and somewhere all visitors to Dakar should make an effort to see.

The attraction is well laid out and it is difficult not to feel for the 20 million (a third of which never survived the horrendous shipping conditions) slaves who passed through Goree during the 300 years it was actively a key part of the Slave Trade. Indeed the door of no return is one feature of ‘La Maison des Esclaves’ that really sticks in my mind!

This really is one attraction not to be missed!
Written July 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mary M
8 contributions
Couples
This is a gorgeous island that tells of a devastating history. A required visit for any and all. I suspect it will only continue to improve. Our guide was surprisingly good (in that it wasn’t arranged in advance), and there is decent lunch easily available on the island.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

leciel83
Toronto, Canada257 contributions
Solo
I think this is a must visit if you are in Dakar! This is a historical site and it is an important past that we need to understand and need to avoid this history from repeating in the future. The site is small, however I left with a heavy heart. Learnt what happened here and the people that went through that kind of salved experience was sad and horrified. Yet, this piece of history is important to shape our current society. Thus, it is a must visit.
Written December 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vijay66610
Chennai (Madras), India49 contributions
Business
To witness the memoirs of sad part of world history, One should take the time to learn and imagine what would have happened in this land .
I was accompanied by my local friend Mr Madar who explained to me about this slave house patiently and emotionally .From the center of the "house" is the final opening passage to the sea where enslaved human beings took their last look of their native place. So sad that many revolted to their deaths at the wall rather than step onto the ship. People were held here for months to receive training to bring a higher price. Of the many million taken, the majority actually went to Brazil.
You can walk through the town which is beautiful and meet people who are kind and friendly people with local handicrafts at sale and few good restaurants around.
Carry your passport you will be checked by cops in port entrance.
yes i didnt but managed by bribing...
Good day...
Good Luck...
Written February 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

liverpool1023
London, UK765 contributions
Solo
Grab a taxi to the ile de Goree ferry terminal at Dakar port. The ferry cost is 5200 CFA for adults and 2700 CFA for kids. The ticket has a bar code which needs to be scanned at the turnstile. There is an ID check at the entrance - don’t forget your passport.

Weekday departure times from Dakar port 0615, 0730, 10.00, 11.00, 12.30, 14.30, 16,00, 17.00, 18.30, 20.00, 22.30, 23.30, 00.45. Sunday’s and holidays 07.00, 09.00, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.30, 19.30, 20.30, 22.30, 23.30. This is up to date at the time of writing.

The return to Dakar port is 06.45, 08.00, 10.30, 12.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.30, 18.00, 19.00, 20.30, 23.00 for weekdays. Return from Goree on Sundays and holidays is 07.30, 09.30, 10.30, 12.30, 16.30, 17.30, 19.00, 20.00, 21.00, 23.00.

It takes around 20 minutes to reach the island: a scenic trip which takes you around one end of the island that is marked by a drum shaped fort built in the 1830s. There is a good view back to Dakar.

On arrival a small tax of 500 CFA is payable at a blue painted small booth about 50m for the landing pier. A minimum amount of time needed to see all the island is around 1.5 hours. Bring you own refreshments (water etc) as the island is extremely expensive. There are a couple of cafe/restaurants near to the pier.

Guides are common around the port and when reaching the island. They are administered through the Syndicate d’initiatives et de tourisme de Goree. A ticket will cost 8000 CFA. Tips are expected. It is recommended that you take a guide in this instance; you will get more out of the visit. We had a guy called Pape Fall that had reasonable English and a ready sense of humour.

The island is small around 300m by 900 m. There are unsealed roads and no traffic meaning the place is extremely peaceful after the bustle of Dakar. Narrow streets with many colonial buildings are common often draped in vibrant flowering bougainvilleas. Walking up hill, the higher part of the island has WWII gun emplacements ending at basalt cliffs. Some of these fort buildings have been converted by artists into workshops. There is no real hard sell, the majority of the artists and sellers of tourist merchandise and amiable and engaging.

Goree is infamous for its role in the Atlantic slave trade. It has attracted a succession of African and international politicians for the last forty to fifty years. The Maison des Esclaves is open between 10 to 1 pm and 2.30 to 6 pm Tuesday to Saturday. The entrance costs 500 CFA. It is really worth reading about this site as it has huge significance and considerable symbolism related to evil commodisation of human beings conducted by various European powers over a very lengthy period.

It reminds us the abolitionists slogan still has resonance today: “I’m I not a man and a brother?”
Written October 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Damian120
Galway, Ireland4,781 contributions
Solo
It's a must visit for anyone. How wonderful to see the previous quests included Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Not too forget Nelson Mandela. Easy to reach via the ferry from downtown Dakar. Visit early to beat the crowds.
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steph C
Chicago1 contribution
Words cannot describe the life changing experience you feel once you stand in "the door of no return." It is the most bone chilling, eerie feeling and yet most spiritual feeling I have ever experienced in my life. This is where it all started, this is where I came from. To look into the vast blue ocean and come to the realization that my ancestors passed through this door, never to return home again is just awesome. As I stood in the chamber where the women were held captive and the innocent children were separated from their parents and held captive in a cold forlorn, brick chamber, I felt the pain, suffering, lonliness, abusiveness, the treacherous, coldness, misery, gut wrenching feelings they endured. And yet, inspite of it all,a nation of strong, beautiful people survived and made it. I come from Africa and I am so proud of my people to have the strength to endure this harshness.
Written July 2, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Travelinfo7
Long Beach, CA44 contributions
Couples
I strongly recommend taking a quick ferry from Dakar to Goree Island to visit this dungeon. Out of everything that my wife and me did in Senegal, this landmark was clearly the highlight of our tour. Prior to tour this site at Goree Island, we were in Ghana's Cape Coast Castle the week prior and both dungeons have a different feel & setup. In other words, just because you've been to one dungeon in West Africa, you shouldn't discount not visiting another.

As an African American, I had the opportunity to visit this site with a native African distant cousin that I found through a DNA testing company. This distant native African cousin matched the dna test results of both my father and me and he just so happened to live in Senegal. This made the trip even more special and sentimental in knowing that our common grandparent (approximately 5.5 generations away) was possibly separated from West Africa at this site or one close by. Regardless of your ethnic background & past family historical discoveries or the lack thereof, this is a must do tour if you are ever in Senegal.
Written July 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

michaelcoppage
Cincinnati, OH145 contributions
Couples
My wife and I were the only African-Americans here when we went. It was extremely sad and sobering to learn about the atrocities my forefathers went through. I learned that I'd never be able to discern which part of the continent my people came from. To see the quarters where slaves were warehoused and separated by age and gender for sale like animals was horrific. The "Door of no Return" carried a sense of irony because here we were-descendants of slaves back at the door trying to retrace our history. It was a necessary experience for me and educational for folks who might not have as strong of a connection as I do. I would suggest going. It's really small and easy to see within a half hour.
Written January 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eusabia3
New York City, NY37 contributions
Friends
When I read the negative and complaining reviews, I felt compelled to set the record straight.

This isn't a "tourist attraction", it's a tribute to the hundreds of thousands (close to a million) Africans who lost their lives, family & culture to slavery.

Yes, buildings on Goree Island are in need of repair because the island is treated as a historic landmark; nothing can be altered or built on the island.

Yes, you do have to pay to take the ferry to the island and residents pay less than non-residents, just like college tuition in most states. Your fee is $5200 CFA - $10 US.

The fee to tour The Maison des Esclaves, the slave masters house that holds The Door of No Return, is $500 CFA - $0.91 U.S. It's emotional to see the small rooms where the Senegalese were crammed in and held like cattle.

There are unofficial tour guides-residents of the island-who will befriend you and give you a tour with the expectation that you tip them or visit their stall in the marketplace to make a purchase. They are extremely knowledgable. Use their services. Even if you gave them $2,000 CFA, you only paid $3.64 U.S. for a guided tour.

So all in all, you just paid under $15 U.S. to visit a museum/historic landmark.

The merchants are residents of Goree Island, selling their wares is their livelihood, and they are persistent. There are beautiful batiks and artwork to be had. You will come away with one of a kind pieces. If you choose not to make a purchase, you must be firm in your answer as you will be followed and strongly encouraged to "just take a look". Learn the Wolof phrase dedet (pronounced day-day) which means no.

The Maison des Esclaves is an emotional place to visit. You can feel the misery of those who were held there when you take the tour. It's a vital part of history, and should be part of your visit to Senegal to fully understand the country and people.
Written January 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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