Visit Senegal

Senegal lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and enjoys a steady warm year round climate, with a short rainy season between the months of June and September.

As such it provides the perfect weather for a lazy beach holiday, especially in the Saly region just south of Dakar; but Senegal also has three mighty rivers and these provide a good deal of fertile land and some wonderfully intricate coastal lagoons and waterways that are a joy to explore. 

And because of this abundance of water and fertility it supports a great wealth of wildlife including numerous birds from coastal waders to large raptors, and various mammal species such as warthogs, hyenas, monkeys, baboons, manatees and dolphins.

Senegal has marked contrasts in climate. The coastal region, except in Casamance, is equable, with low rainfall and high humidity. Inland, the climate is drier, ranging to the semi-desert of the Sahel region in the east. The wet season is from June to September, rather shorter in the north and longer in the south, especially near the coast.

Citizens of countries member of the European Union (EU) do not need visa to travel to Senegal for up to three months stay. Visas are also not required for citzens of Canada Israel Japan Taiwan United States .

The population was estimated in 2002 at about 9,8 millions , of which a quarter live in the agglomeration of Dakar, it is composed of many ethnics. 

The Wolofs, are the most represented (35%), they make up the majority in all the regions, especially in the centre, the north and the coast of Dakar and Saint Louis. The farmers and the merchants, of Muslim faith for the majority, there importance is certain in the nations economy. The Lebous, established in fishing communities in the peninsula of Cap-Vert and in Saint Louis are related.

 The Pulaar (20%), is composed of the Foulbes, Peuls and Toucouleurs, in the northern Senegal, the Fouta Toro, historical source for the propagation of Islam in Senegal, make up the cultural birthplace, they are very active in the commercial domain, as well as breeding and irrigated farming. they populate the Senegalese river valley and the Ferlo region. 

The Sereres (17%) are less scattered out than the other ethnic groups. They can be found in the Sine-Saloum, along the Small Coast, in the centre of countries and north-west of the Gambia. The majority are Muslim, except for those along the Small Coast. The Diolas (10%) can be found in the Casamance, but also in Gambia and the Guinea-Bissau. Oriented rather to the culture of rice, they are for the majority animist and/or Christians in the basse Casamance region (Ziguinchor, Oussouye, Cap Skiring), and musulmans in the north and east. 

Other than the main ethnic groups, we find the Mandingues of Eastern Senegal, the Soninkes very present in the east of the country and in the zones adjacent to the Mali and the Mauritania, the Bassari which live mainly by the culture of the millet and corn, of the picking and hunting, between the Guinea border and the limit of the Niokolo-Koba national park.
You may already be a fan of Senegalese music, or you may well already be a fan of Senegalese music without realising it. For a relatively small country they have produced a startling amount of fabulous music, and much that has crossed over the ‘world music’ divide into the consciousness of Western musical audiences.

Naming CeremoniesWood Carvings
These are great lively occasions that are well worth a look if you have the opportunity. This normally takes place one week after the child is born. The elders of the village gather together in the morning and name the baby whilst slaying either a chicken, goat, sheep or cow depending on the wealth of the family. Then the rest of the village is invited to join in and the party continues long into the night. There are displays of dancing and singing and collections for the new baby continue throughout the event – so we recommend that if ever invited you take along plenty of small notes.

Tabaski is probably the most important celebration in the Muslim calendar and is marked by a two-day public holiday. Muslims kill a ram to commemorate when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to God.

This is a 30-day festival that takes place each and every year in the ninth month of the lunar calendar. During this period all physically mature and healthy Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food, drink, gum chewing and any kind of tobacco use.

Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends. The fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thank and appreciate all of God’s bounties.

A few names for you: Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal, Orchestra Baobab – and these are just the artists that have made that crossover; you’ll find that music is such a presence in Senegal, and such a crucial part of the very fabric of life that it will form a soundtrack to your holiday, a soundtrack for your memories.


The Bandia Nature Reserve
Is a small but perfectly formed game reserve, situated 40 miles from Dakar near Saly and M’bour.

You can enter the reserve either in your own car or in one of the Reserve’s 4WD vehicles and hire the services of one of the skilled guides to see some typical African savannah animals: Giraffe, White Rhino, Zebra, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Kudu, Oryx, Impala, Cape Eland, Lord Derby Eland, Kob Antelope, West African Forest Buffalo, Wart Hog, Crocodiles, Green Vervet Monkeys and Patas Monkeys.
Is the capital of Senegal, located on the Cape Verde Peninsula, on the country’s Atlantic coast. It is Senegal’s largest city. Its position, on the western edge of Africa, is an advantageous departure point for trans-Atlantic and European trade; this fact aided its growth into a major regional port.

Kermel Market
Many women go to the colourful Kermel Market to sell a variety of flowers: marigolds, zinnias and sunflowers. The flowers are primarily for western tourists. At Kermel Market, a hot spot for foreign visitors from the West and Asia, vendors have been selling their goods since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Lac Rose
Lac Rose (The Pink Lake) surrounded by dunes, is a large shallow lagoon 10 times saltier than the ocean and is renowned for its pink hue when the sun is high. The colour is due to a high concentration of minerals in the water. Senegal’s answer to the Dead Sea, you can swim here or effortlessly float on the surface. There is a small-scale salt-collecting industry on the southern side of the lake which is also worth a visit.

Marche Sandanga
The Marche Sandanga (Sandanga Market) is a labrynth of stalls selling anything from Senegalese music casettes to freshly plucked chickens. You can buy just about anything here, although don’t expect too many souvenir stalls. Colourful and vibrant cloth and clothing are a major attraction of this traditional market, drawing in many visitors.

Palais Présidential
The Palais Présidentiel (Presidential Palace) is a white building dating back to 1906 and encompassing strikingly lovely gardens. Guards in their Presidential uniforms guard the outside and pose with tourists for pictures.

Village Artisanal
One of the most popular places for buying souvenirs is the government-sponsored Village Artisanal (Village of Traditional Handicrafts), near the fishing beach of Soumbédioune. You’ll find a tremendous display of wooden carvings, metal work, gold and silver jewellery, ivory, tablecloths, blankets, leather goods and clothing, but a lot of the goods are turned around very quickly and you have to search hard for good-quality pieces.

To the east of Dakar, about 3km offshore, is Île de Gorée, one of the earliest European settlements along this part of coast. Today it is a haven of history and peace within easy reach of Dakar via ferry which departs every two hours during the daylight.

Local Art & Crafts
You will find a variety of traditional vibrant, colourful fabrics and canvasses, together with wooden carvings and instruments on display on the island produced by local artists.

The Old Slave Trading Station
With its colonial brick-structures and sand-blown, bougainvillea-flushed alleyways, this island is a haven of tranquillity. But there’s a sad background to all this calm beauty – Île de Gorée used to be an important slave trading station, and many visitors come here for traces of this tragic past. Maison des Esclaves (Slave House) is a museum dedicated to the slave era.

The Fort
The Fort stands as a reminder of the Second World War. Here visitors can see a memorial statue and the original heavy metal war guns, and view a red buoy out in the sea marking where a British ship was sunk by the guns during the war. You can find out more about the effects of the war on Gorée Island by visiting the island’s museum of history. There is also the opportunity to visit a traditional African mosque.

The Saint Louis region of Senegal sits just off the border with Mauritania. Famous for its cast iron bridge, put in by French colonialists in the 19th century, it is close to the Djoudj National Park, home to thousands of birds, some indigenous to the area. The city is also famed for its culinary roots, being the home to Senegal’s national dish: Ceb-u-djen – rice and fish.

The Governor’s Palace
The Governor’s Palace is an 18th century fort, and now a government building. Place Faidherbe, with its statue of the famous French colonial governor, sits in front of the Governor’s Palace.

Guet N’Dar Fishing Village
In the fishing part of the town, Guet N’Dar, pirogues are lined up on the beach and fish dry on racks by the side of the road. Women boil up fish in vast drums, and the steam mixes odorously with the early morning sea mist. A little further south is the Muslim cemetery, where each fisherman’s grave is covered with a fishing net.

Réserve de Faune de Guembeul
This reserve is small, accessible and easy to explore by foot. It’s about 8 miles south of St Louis. The landscape is a mixture of lagoons, mud flats and dry woodland protecting the population of endangered Sahel animals, which include Dama Gazelles, Patas Monkeys and Sulcata Tortoises. There are also many birds around the lagoon – 190 species have been spotted here – and there are plans to introduce other Sahel mammals into the reserve.

Ebony is an exceptionally hard and beautiful wood found only in the Sahara desert regions of Africa. Its exceptional density makes it not only very heavy, but also gives it an incomparable sheen when polished. West Africa is home to many master carvers of ebony. 

Fine dining whenever you want to eat out in Senegambia.
A unique Gambia restaurant for both Gambian and global cuisine.
Come and enjoy our restaurant in The Gambia!
Directions Bertil Harding Highway, next to Senegambia Craft Market
220 4464022
220 6664022

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