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For a vessel sailing down the west coast of Africa, the mouth of the Senegal river offers the first refreshing welcome after the parched territory of the western Sahara. Further south, round the difficult promontory of Cape Verde, is the even more enticing estuary of the Gambia.
Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city in the Old World and on the African mainland. Its position, on the western edge of Africa, is an advantageous departure point for trans-Atlantic and European trade; this fact aided its growth into a major regional port.