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A Trip to Senegal

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

African Renaissance monument
African Renaissance monument

Among one of the most stable countries in West Africa, Senegal is known as the ‘country of Teranga’. That’s an expression in Wolof which means hospitality. You will indeed find Senegal to be one of the friendliest spots in Africa.

If you are planning a trip to this beautiful country, then this article will be of much help to you. So shall we get started?

With a population of well over 15.85 million, Senegalese still maintain unity and peace in the country. One of the major contributing factors is their national motto ‘Un Peuple, Un But, Une Foi’ which means ‘One Nation, One Goal, One Faith’.

The capital city, Dakar, is known for its lively market and rich musical culture. What’s more, the capital city is located between the mouths of the Senegal and Gambia rivers. This city also has an amazing harbor that boasts of ranking among the best in Western Africa. That’s because it's protected by limestone cliffs.

In a country with about 10 ethnic groups and thirty-eight languages, the diversity thrives successfully thanks to Wolof. This is a lingua franca language that transcends linguistic and ethnic boundaries and reinforces a sense of togetherness in the Senegalese society. Technically, French is the primary official language but the majority of the natives use Wolof to communicate.

The currencies used in Senegal are CFA franc and West Africa CFA franc. Additionally, one USD approximately translates to 585 West African CFA franc as of this writing. However, the exchange rate is always changing depending on the economic fluctuations.

Best time to Visit and Purchase Tickets to Senegal

The climatic conditions in Senegal might be a bit different from the one in your home. The Harmattan winds in the region bring swirling clouds of dust. This might lead to a tickly throat. Therefore, you should definitely bring lots of water. Also, don’t forget to carry your moisturizer!

Probably the best time to visit Senegal is during the winter dry season which is usually between November and March. This is typically the time of the year when the temperatures are marginally cooler. Also, the Harmattan winds blow away any slight trace of humidity.

Weather Conditions in Senegal

Senegal experiences tropical climate with pleasant heat all year round. On top of that, the country also has well-defined dry and humid seasons. More importantly, these seasons result in southwest summer winds and northeast winter winds.

The dry season that’s between the months of December and April is typically dominated by hot, dry Harmattan winds. What’s more, Dakar has an annual rainfall of about 600 mm in 24 hours and occurs between June and October.

Should I be vaccinated when heading to Senegal?

You should be up to date with your vaccinations when traveling to any destinations. And, Senegal is no exception. Though the risk is quite low, you should be aware that Zika Virus is endemic in Senegal. Additionally, pregnant women should book an appointment with their physicians before heading to this country.

On top of that, vaccinations for Yellow Fever and Hepatitis A are strongly recommended. You should also consider using anti-malaria prophylactics. If you are planning to travel with an infant of 11 months old or younger, then take your kid for a measles vaccine.

Top Tourist Attractions in Senegal

1. Dakar

The bustling city of Dakar is the capital city of Senegal. Many would say, Dakar is the home to all the traditional and trendy aspects of Senegal. And, I agree. This breath-taking city features authentic culture, dancing as well as bargain hunting. This is just one of the best places to visit in Senegal.

As soon as you get off the plane, Dakar will shake all your senses with the salty and warm blast of humidity. Each one of the Dakar’s district has a different vibe and charm. Hence, the nights in Dakar tend to be very rhythmic.

The downtown part of the city is the most convenient place for tourists. And best of all, it’s accessible on foot. Some of the activities you can engage in Dakar include;

· Windsurfing and surfing

· Taking sandy baths in beaches of Yoff, Madeleines, Bel Air, N’Gor, Ouakam among others.

· Visiting the markets and shopping streets

· Nightlife experience

2. Pink Lake

Pink Lake is one of the wow-factors of Senegal. Also well-known as Retba, this is the most visited site in Senegal across the world. The lake features a special pink color and very salty water. This lake has without a doubt warmed its way through the hearts of not only the Senegalese but also most tourists.

This spellbinding lake is said to take up different shades of pink and purple depending on the light exposure and time of the day. Hence, it offers a stunning view especially in the reflection of the sunlight. The lake has for decades now been exploited for salt by the locals. Salt harvesting is such an incredible activity to watch in Pink Lake.

3. St. Louis

St. Louis is one town in Senegal that is very rich with an unshakable colonial past. It is located at the mouth of the Senegal River. St. Louis is a very common tourist destination in Senegal. All thanks to its beauty, history and authentic culture. Actually, this city has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

St. Louis is home to two very famous national parks, magnificent beaches, and colonial houses. Also, the infamous Faidherbe bridge about 500 meters long that links Sor District and St. Louis. Some of the activities to engage in St. Louis include;

· Visiting the Famous Faidherbe bridge

· Visit the Research and Documentation Museum of Senegal

· Visiting the Fanal de St. Louis

Houses and monument to Slavery -Goré Island
Houses and monument to Slavery -Goré Island

5 Places to Visit with your kid while in Senegal

1. Senegal River

It can be hard finding the right place for your kids to have fun while you’re on a vacation. Thankfully, Senegal is built for kids and they will certainly enjoy the experience. The Senegal River, for example, is a good place to hang out with your kids.

The river stretches close to 2000 kilometers through different countries in West Africa. It flows through four countries all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. What’s more, it also serves as a border between Senegal and other West African Countries. Some of the activities you and your kids can enjoy include, boat tri