Over the years, Senegal has grown to become one of the most popular and commonly visited eco-tourism destinations on the African continent thanks to its unwavering economy as well as the beautiful scenery despite its relatively small size. During your visit, you will get a chance to explore the various wildlife safari parks for game drives, bird watching, nature walks and hiking adventures. There are several museums and unique historical building and sites including Goree Island that previously served as the largest slave trade center.
Go Souvenir Shopping in Marché Sandanga & Soumbédioune
Senegal’s capital city Dakar has for so many years been a main trading area and on your visit you will find different types of markets of all sizes and types that deal in various item so while in Dakar, you will not fail to get what you need. Some of the most loved market places include the Marché Sandanga which is the largest ass well as oldest market in the whole of Dakar. It has numerous stalls dealing with different fabrics plus several tailors who have private stalls; these are commonly visited by many foreign tourists. For holidaymakers interested in obtaining some beautiful pieces of art and craft while in Senegal you are advised to visit the Soumbedioune another popular market that deals in jewelry and very artistic masks.
Visit Goree Island
Gorre a UNESCO world Heritage Site is a small island found off the coast from the capital Dakar and it is a commonly visited site by holidaymakers in Dakar. It was not only a very popular slave trade center but also the largest back from the 15th to the 19th century during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade era, and saw a large number of unfortunate captured African march through the ‘Door of No Return’ as they made their way to the House of Slaves. Currently this island has been altered into an island of peaceful paved streets with colorful houses. The dreaded ‘House of Slaves’ (Maison des Esclaves) is currently a museum where you can see the dark past of this side of the country.
Enjoy the Plage de Ngor and Ile d’Ngor beaches
It is no doubt that Senegal offers some of the very beautiful beaches for holidaymakers across the West African coast. When you visit Plage de Ngor as well as Ile d’Ngor, you will surely get to accept the beauty of Senegal’s coast. Plage de N’gor is a place popular among holidaymakers interested in sunbathing you will see lazily laying on the sand, as well several fishermen who have a tradition of chanting songs as they bring their boats from the sea back to the mainland. Don’t miss out on the various sea food cuisines prepared by the various by the various restaurants found close by.
Ile d’Ngor beach located close by also offers a great escape from the busy life in the cities presenting a laid back experience ideal for relaxing. This tropical island posses several private beaches with a number of them having fine restaurants that have specialized in preparing delicious seafood.
Visit Lac Rose or Pink Lake
Lac Rose also known as the Pink Lake of Senegal is one site that will surely impress you even at first sight. The contrast of the pink water of the lake against the fine white sand and the golden color of the sand dunes that dot the horizon of the blue skies is very breathtaking. one would wonder why is it called the pink lake, well the characteristic pink color of this shallow lake is caused by the large concentration of bacteria in it that causes it to become alkaline in nature. in order to absorb sunlight, this bacteria forma a characteristic red pigment which gives the water a pinkish tint. The lake can best be visited during the dry season from November to June. When you can enjoy various activities such as camel rides along the beach and even enjoy a swim.
Visit IFAN Museum of African Arts
The IFAN Museum of African Arts also known as The Musée de l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire found in the capital city Dakar is one of the best places to learn about the culture, religion and history of the people of Senegal. The museum has a collection of different art works from different countries in West Africa including Mali, Ivory Coast and others. Ancient weapons used in the early times in addition to customary musical instruments, ritual masks as well as textiles are some of the things you will find here.
Checkout the Senegambian Stone Circles at Sine Ngayene
The Senegambian stone circles are believed to be among the biggest group of mega-lithic stones and are believed to have been in existence since the 3rd century. This UNESCO world heritage site is the largest of the entire Senegambian stone circle complex and it comprises of fifty two (52) circles of standing stones. The entire complex which extends from central Senegal to north Gambia covers a total area of about 30,000 square kilometers.
Watch the Serer Wrestling
It is in Senegal that the tradition of wrestling began before becoming an international event and today is even considered as an international sport. For so many years, this kind of wrestling which is considered as an African Martial Arts has been in existence. This practice was used among the Serer people to prepare and enhance the strength of their local men as they were preparing for war. During your visit in Senegal, you will be able to watch the strong men wrestle during the wrestling competitions.
Enjoy the Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally was established back in 1978 with the race starting in Paris – France, and south through the arid desert to Dakar. Today this international rally event that attracts thousands and thousands of spectators is an off-road event that takes competitors through a very challenging terrain including professional drivers and armatures.
Go birding in Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj
Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj is found in the north western part of Senegal close to the national border with Mauritania, southeast of Senegal River and it is considered as a bird watching paradise. It covers an area of more than 16,000 hectares, and from November to April, the park receive a very large number of tourists who come to see the numerous types of migratory species that visit at this time of the year.
Visit Dakar – the capital
Dakar is the capital city of Senagal and today this vibrant city is fast growing with various activities taking place everywhere. The capital has a number of attractions that can be visited during the day trips among which is the Muse Theodore Monod (that houses a number of historical items like masks, traditional musical instruments and statues), and several markets that deal in various items.
Frequently asked Question on Senegal
Below we have compiled a number of questions commonly asked about destination Senegal and we have professionally answered them to help you better understand this destination.
Do I need a Visa to visit Senegal?
People with Citizenship of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) can visit Senegal and its member states without a visa. These include: Sierra Leone, Senegal, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Niger, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea as well as Guinea Bissau. Also persons with citizenship from the USA, Brazil, Tunisia, Canada, South Korea, Central African Republic, Singapore, Chad, Mauritius, India, Mauritania, Japan and Malaysia.
Now nationals from other countries are required to have a visa which they should apply for through the Senegal Embassy in their home country. Applicants should also have a passport valid for a minimum of six months from the date of the end o their sty in Senegal
Do I need medical insurance to Visit Senegal?
Generally, Senegal has a limited medical service and for that reason, all holidaymakers are advised to obtain a comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical cover and evacuation in case of emergency. Majority of the towns and cities like Dakar have hospitals and dispensary that are reasonable as compared to those in rural areas, however these are normally overcrowded with patients and a number of them are inadequately stocked with medical supplies. It is very important that when packing for your visit in Senegal you remember to bring a personal first Aid kit.
What Vaccines do I need to go to Senegal?
According the World Health Organization, all persons visiting the Republic of Senegal are required to take a number of vaccines in order to stay safe. These include: Hepatitis A, Typoid, rabies, Hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), meningitis, chickenpox, polio, influenza, shingles and yellow fever among many others. You should also take good precaution about HIV/AIDS during your stay. Malaria is also prevalent in the country.
Please Visit your physician before traveling and share with them your travel plans so that they can recommend any necessary medication that you may need. Make sure that all your medication is well labeled and don’t forget to bring with you a copy of the prescription.
How to avoid malaria in Senegal?
During your stay in Senegal you should be cautious of Malaria as it is very prevalent; however, below we have highlighted some of the best ways to avoid malaria while there.
- Always take your anti malarial drugs as prescribed by your doctor
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants especially in the evenings to guard yourself against mosquito bites
- Use insect repellent
- Always sleep under a mosquito net over your bed or in an air-conditioned room
What is the official language spoken in Senegal
the official language spoken in Senegal is French while the most popularly used local language is wolof language with approximately 75% of the population of people in Senegal speaking it despite the fact that they all don’t belong to the Wolof Tribe. Other commonly spoken indigenous languages include: Mandingo, Bassari, Alpuular, Serer, and Diola.
What is the official currency for Senegal?
Because Senegal was colonized by French, it is a French monetary Area country that uses the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc – (XOF) as the official currency. Each franc has one hundred smaller divisions called centimes, and the banknotes come in denominations of CFA 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500. This money can easily be exchanged against the euro and foreign currency can only be exchanged at the airport or in banks. You should also keep in mind that the note that the Bank of Central African States currency (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale) is not acceptable in Senegal
Are credit cards accepted in Senegal?
Yes, credit cards are generally accepted across the country cards like Visa, Diner’s Club and MasterCard being accepted although American Express is the most commonly used card in the country. ATMs are mainly available in the capital Dakar.
On the other hand, traveler cheques are easily cashed while in Dakar when in Senegal but in order to avoid attracting large charges on cashing these, you should ensure that your traveler’s cheques are in Euros.
What is the electric currency in Senegal?
Senegal runs on an electric Voltage of 230 volts with a frequency of 50Hz. The plugs are the rounded type C, D, E as well as K. Majority of the hotels and lodges offer adapters but as a general rule we recommend that all visitors come with their personal adapters. In case you are bringing personal electrical gadgets such as those for hairstyling like flat irons or hair dryers we recommend that you bring dual voltage gadgets and do not forget to change or adjust the voltage once in Senegal or else you stand the risk of blowing them up.
What is the Time Zone for Senegal?
Senegal is found within the similar Greenwich Mean Time Zone as United Kingdom (the UK), and does not have Daylight Savings Time.
What is the best time to visit Senegal?
Because Senegal is ranked as a dry season nation, the best time to visit the country is from December to April when the country is experiencing the dry season. During this time of the year, most of the country is experiencing sunny days and the temperatures are bearable thanks to the coastal trade winds that blow in reducing the humidity. Bird watching is one of the fascinating activities that can be enjoyed during the dry season with various migratory species flying in from the European continent. On the downside, the Desert harmatten winds which are dry bring in unlikable weather conditions during this season.
The Wet Season in Senegal on the other hand begins in May to November and this comes with the highest amount of humidity that is very hot. The rains are also very heavy which results in many dirty roads in the countryside to become very slippery and muddy becoming almost impassable. In some areas the floods wash away the bridges causing a number of villages to become entirely cut off. This is not a recommended time to visit the country but in case you should please don’t forget to pack warm clothing like a sweater, scarf and stockings in addition to a waterproof rain jacket.