Senegal

Fast facts

Couched between the arid desert lands in the north and lush tropical forests in the south, Senegal boasts a stunning array of sights, sounds and flavours. The capital Dakar alone hands you the country in a capsule. Perched on the tip of a beach-lined peninsula, this buzzing city is composed elegance and street hustle all rolled into one. The busy streets, vibrant markets and bustling nightlife will easily draw you into their relentless rhythm, but the escape route is always open be it to the meditative calm of the historical Goree Island or the golden sands of Yoff and NGor. Most visitors head to Senegal for its beaches, and for good reason. North and south of Dakar, wide strips of white sand invite swimming and sunbathing, whether in the built-up resort zones, where a lazy day at the beach can be followed by a cocktail trail at night, or in one of the coasts charming fishing villages, the beaches of which are dotted with hundreds of colourful wooden pirogues. At the Saloum Delta, the coastline is broken up into a maze of thick mangroves, tiny creeks, wide lagoons and shimmering plains. A pirogue trip through these striking zones reveals hundreds of bird species, from the gleaming wings of tiny kingfishers to the proud poise of pink flamingos. Whether you want to mingle with the trendsetters of urban Africa, or be alone with your thoughts and the sounds of nature. Senegal is a destination to visit !

AREA 197 000 sq km
CAPITAL Dakar (city pop. 1.1 million / Greater Dakar pop. 2.45 million)
FAMOUS FOR Storytellers / Historians / Poets / Musicians and Music / Youssou NDour / Ismael Lo / Beaches / Mangroves / Sahara Desert / Birding  
COUNTRY CODE 221
BORDERS Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Mauritania
LANGUAGES French, Wolof, Malink, Pulaar, Diola
PRESIDENT

Macky Sall

GOVERNMENT Semi presidential republic
PEOPLE The Wolof are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 43 percent; the Fula and Toucouleur at 24 percent, are the second biggest group, followed by others that include the Serer (15 percent), Lebou (10 percent), Jola (4 percent), Mandinka (3 percent), Maures, Soninke, Bassari and many smaller communities. About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French and Lebanese) as well as smaller numbers of Mauritanians and Moroccans reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities.
RELIGION Sufi Islam is the predominant religion, practiced by approximately 90% of the country's population; the Christian community, at 10% of the population, includes Roman Catholics and diverse Protestant denominations. There is also a 1 % population who maintain animism in their beliefs, particularly in the southeastern region of the country.
CLIMATE

Senegals main tourist season is from Nov to Feb, mostly during the dry, cool season, when Dakars average daytime maximums are around 24 Celcius. Most music festivals take place in Dec and between Mar to Jun. During the wet months from Jul to Sep some national parks are inaccessible or even closed, but its also the time everything is green and beautiful.

 

In summary:

Dry (Dec to Mar)

Hot (Mar to May)

Rainy (Jun to Nov)

TIME ZONE GMT / UTC
MAJOR INDUSTRIES

TBA

MONEY West African CFA (XOF); USD1 = XOF550 / EUR1 = XOF656
POPULATION 14.3 million
VISAS Visas are required by most foreign nationals visiting Senegal. Applications are done at the Senegalese Embassy or Consulate in your country.