Senegal – Travel Guide
Facts to assist you while travelling to Senegal
- The Senegalese population currently stands at 17 million (2023).
Capital and Largest City
- Dakar is the Capital and Largest city in Senegal.
- French is the official language of Senegal.
- The CFA Franc is the official currency of Senegal.
- 08:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00.
- Weekends are held over Saturdays and Sundays.
- If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.
- Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.
- The Senegalese Democratic Party.
- Senegal has a tropical climate with pleasant heat throughout the year. This West-African country has well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast winter winds and southwest summer winds. The dry season lasts from December to April, and is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind. Dakar receives most of its rainfall between June and October.
- The system of roads in Senegal is extensive by West African standards, with paved roads reaching each corner of the country and all major towns.
- The main industries that contribute to Senegal’s economy include fish, phosphates, groundnuts, and tourism services.
- Conversations generally kept positive and can only start after questions pertaining to the health and well-being of the other person and their family members are asked. Regardless of what may be happening in your personal life, it is incumbent that you respond to these questions positively and politely. People in Senegal tend to lower their gaze while conversing with one another, so try to avoid eye contact. Making eye contact with people, especially for extended periods, could possibly make you come across as arrogant.
- It is important not to rush the greeting process, as this is considered rude. Greetings may vary according to different ethnic groups. A handshake is the common greeting for acquaintances and when meeting people for the first time, while close friends may hug each other. Although most Senegalese are Muslims, cross-gender touch does occur here. However, very religious men and women may choose to refrain from doing so.
- The West Africa CFA franc is the currency of six independent states in Western Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. In several central African states, the Central African CFA franc (pronounced ‘’say-fa’’) is in circulation. The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African franc. Both XAF and XOF currencies are referred to as the CFA franc.
- The main airport in Senegal is the Blaise Diagne International Airport. Senegal’s transport system comprises roads, some of which are unfortunately unpaved, rail transport, water transport, and air transportation. Dakar is the endpoint of three routes in the Trans African Highway network. National roads are named N1 through N7. Senegal has 7 ports, with the main being in Dakar. Dakar has one of the largest deep-water seaports along the West African coast.
- Senegal is known for being of the safest countries in West Africa. Not only is it in their culture to be generous and hospitable towards all guests, but their low levels of overall crimes make it one of the most welcoming countries to visit in West Africa. However, as with any other country, some areas remain safer than others. Thus, be sure to abide by the local laws, practice caution, and be vigilant at all times in order to make the best of your stay in this friendly country.
- While there are over ten ethnic groups in Senegal, only five are predominant. The largest ethnic group is the Wolof, who reside in the northwest and centre of the country. Most Senegalese follow a religion, and often incorporate some traditional cultural beliefs in their religions practices as well. Freedom of religion is emphasised in the constitution of the country. Although Senegal is predominantly Muslim, with a Christian minority, it is open to various religions and the various religious groups coexist in relative harmony.
- Senegal has numerous stores, shopping centres, and malls that are modern like that of those in western countries, especially in its capital city. Therefore, shopping and entertainment should be no hassle.
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Written by Saudika Hendricks
Edited by Eloise Williams