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Location:Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
Currency:Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF)
Area:196,722 sq km
Population:16,082,442 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke
Religion:Muslim 95.9% (most adhere to one of the four main Sufi brotherhoods), Christian 4.1% (mostly Roman Catholic) (2017 est.)
Things to Do
1. Gorée Island
Take a ferry to the historic Gorée Island and explore its colonial architecture and museums.
2. Lake Retba
Visit the pink Lake Retba and experience its unique color caused by a high concentration of salt.
3. Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Discover the rich birdlife of Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore the beautiful Casamance region known for its stunning beaches, mangroves, and vibrant culture.
5. Lompoul Desert
Take a camel ride through the breathtaking Lompoul Desert and witness stunning sand dunes.
6. Îles de la Madeleine
Visit the scenic Îles de la Madeleine and enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach.
7. Parc National de Niokolo-Koba
Embark on a wildlife safari in Parc National de Niokolo-Koba and spot various species including lions, elephants, and hippos.
Explore the historic city of Saint-Louis, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colonial architecture and vibrant music scene.
9. Gambia River
Take a boat tour on the Gambia River and witness the stunning nature and wildlife along its banks.
10. Pink Lake
Visit the Pink Lake (Lac Rose) and witness its unique pink color caused by a particular type of algae.
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Senegal has a tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons in Senegal: the rainy season and the dry season.
The rainy season lasts from June to October, with heavy downpours occurring most days. During this time, temperatures are still warm, but the humidity can make it feel quite oppressive. The dry season lasts from November to May, with warm, sunny weather and lower humidity.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Senegal is during the dry season, from November to May, when temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is minimal. This is the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and more crowded attractions.
The shoulder months of September and October can also be a good time to visit, as the rain is usually not as heavy as in the peak of the rainy season, and the country is still lush and green. However, if you're planning on visiting the beaches, it's best to avoid this time as the seas can be rough.
Senegal offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Some popular options include:
Hotels and Resorts
Senegal has a range of international standard hotels and resorts, especially in the popular tourist destinations such as Dakar, Saly, and Gorée Island. These hotels offer comfortable rooms with all the amenities and facilities one would expect from a modern hotel, including air conditioning, Wi-Fi, swimming pools, and restaurants.
Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts
Guesthouses and bed & breakfasts are a popular option for budget-conscious travelers and those looking for a more authentic experience. These smaller, family-run establishments offer simple, clean rooms and often serve traditional Senegalese food.
Camping and Caravanning
Camping and caravanning are popular options for travelers who are exploring the country by car. There are several camping sites in Senegal, including those in Dakar, Saly, and other popular tourist destinations. These sites offer basic facilities, such as toilets, showers, and picnic areas.
Private rentals, such as apartments and villas, are a good option for those looking for more space and independence. These rentals are usually located in residential areas and offer the comforts of home, including kitchens and living areas.
Senegal offers several transportation options to help visitors get around the country. Some of the most popular options include:
Taxis are widely available in Senegal and are a convenient way to get around the cities and towns. They are usually metered, although it is common to negotiate a fare in advance. Taxis are also a good option for longer journeys, as they can be hired for the day.
Buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around Senegal. There are several long-distance bus companies operating in the country, and they offer regular services between the major cities and towns. Buses are usually well-maintained and comfortable, and offer air-conditioning on some routes.
Cars and Motorbikes
Cars and motorbikes can be rented in Senegal, and are a good option for those who want to explore the country at their own pace. Rental companies can be found in the major cities, and it is important to have a valid driving license and to take out insurance.
Trains are a convenient and affordable way to travel between Dakar and other cities in Senegal. The trains are comfortable and offer air-conditioning, although services can be infrequent and slow.
Domestic flights are a convenient and fast way to travel between the major cities in Senegal. The national airline, Senegal Airlines, operates flights between Dakar, St Louis, and other destinations, and there are also several smaller regional airlines operating in the country.
- The official currency of Senegal is the West African CFA franc (XOF).
- It is advisable to carry small denominations of currency as it can be difficult to get change for larger notes.
Cash And Cards
- Cash is widely accepted in Senegal, especially in smaller towns and rural areas.
- Credit and debit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but it is recommended to carry cash as a backup.
- ATMs are available in major cities and towns, but may be limited in rural areas.
- ATMs are available in major cities and towns in Senegal.
- It is recommended to use ATMs located in well-lit and busy areas for safety.
- Some ATMs may have withdrawal limits, so it is advisable to carry enough cash for smaller purchases.
- Tipping is not mandatory in Senegal, but it is appreciated.
- In restaurants, a 10% service charge may be added to the bill, so additional tipping is not necessary.
- It is customary to tip hotel staff, tour guides, and drivers if their service is satisfactory.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in Senegal is relatively low compared to Western countries.
- Accommodation, transportation, and food are generally affordable.
- However, prices may be higher in tourist areas and cities like Dakar.
- Be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as fake tour operators or street vendors selling counterfeit goods.
- Avoid giving money or personal information to strangers.
- Use reputable taxi services or negotiate the fare before getting into a taxi to avoid being overcharged.