10 things I wish I knew before going to Senegal

Chima Nnaemeka02 October 20207676 views7 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to Senegal
Senegal. Senegal, otherwise known as the gateway to Africa, is a country that welcomes foreigners. However, a lot of people surf the internet on things to know about Senegal. Before you travel to Senegal, you should do likewise. Is it safe to travel to Senegal despite their hospitality is a common question tourists and intending visitors ask. From this article, you will get to know the capital of Senegal, things you don’t know about Senegal and things to know about Senegal.  Some of the things to know before going to Senegal are: 

1. They are Friendly

senegal people The people of Senegal are very friendly. The citizens are not only friendly but very hospitable. In Africa, they are probably the most polite people. They are not only respectful through greeting; they use subtle and lovely accent to interact with others in French. You will have a memorable holiday if you speak and understand French and want to travel to Senegal. One of the things to know about Senegal is that Senegalese will always make eye contact with you as they ask about your wellbeing. Even the young ones are lovely and respectful. You will surely want to take pictures with them. One of the other things you don’t know about Senegal is the treatment of restaurants and hotels. They are not after your money but gives you the right accommodation. The capital of Senegal, Dakar, has many local restaurants where you can order food of your choice. The lovely treatment of the people of Senegal should not entice you. It’s part of them. 

2. Safety and Security

four security cameras Despite what you want to do in a country, your safety comes first. Is it safe to travel to Senegal is a security question every careful traveller should ask. One of the things you don’t know about Senegal is that it is very safe. The country is safer than in most African countries. Unlike some countries, you can walk around the capital of Senegal and other cities without feeling unsafe. You may meet vendors selling tours or souvenirs but not for once will you be forced. These vendors are mostly female sellers who want to sell their products. Although you can walk safely and not being forced to buy any goods, you should go out with little money. Your eyes should be in your bag, especially when you are in a place with many people. Also, avoid drawing attention to yourself when you travel to Senegal. 

3. No Ebola

doctor I wish I knew before going to Senegal that there no Ebola. It was only reported in 2014 that the country had only one case of Ebola. Ebola was not a threat to life. You should drink only boiled or bottled water in Senegal because of the cholera threat. In as much as you don’t want to spend too much, avoid visiting a dirty restaurant. You should only eat inside a clean restaurant. This will go a long way to prevent travellers from diarrhoea. Always have your inhaler with you if you are asthmatic because of dust and pollution. Malaria is a widespread disease in most African countries, so come with your anti-malaria. 

4. Tolerance

mosque of the divinity Is it safe to travel to Senegal? Yes, it is because of the tolerance nature of the country. There has been no record of religious tension or the history of the war in Senegal. The country is peaceful. It has more Muslims than Christians and other religions. However, they inter-marry with each other and attend the worship places of each partner. One of the things to know about Senegal is their dressing pattern. As a country with a greater number of Muslims, dress well by have your arms and legs covered. You should do this, especially when you are going to the mosque of divinity in the capital of Senegal. 

5. Food

yassa guinar You will likely see every meal in Senegal with fish or meat. If you are a vegetarian, you might find it difficult in the country if you didn’t prepare well. Your choices of food will be limited to fish, chicken, beef, or lamb if you visit any traditional restaurants. These are mostly used for the seasoning of rice or chere which is made from millet. You will likely have to eat potatoes, rice, fruit, and juice if you are a vegetarian. Seasoning is usually a basis and prepared with herbs, lemon juice, onions, and tomatoes. In bigger cities such as St Louis and Dakar, you will see different but few American, Arabic, and French restaurants. You should settle in these cities if you don’t want to have a hard time with food as a vegan. The Cafe and Cremina Gelato in Dakar is good. Don’t leave the country without visiting them. They are really good.

6. Lovely Beaches

great beach of senegal If there is anything you don’t want to miss when you travel to Senegal, it is their lovely beaches. Many foreigners from different continents of the world come to the country for beach getaways. There are many beach resorts to visit for recreational purposes. You will also see properties for rent at Somone beach which is closed to the Saly neighbourhood. These rental properties are of different budgets so you can rent one when you are in the country. There are lots of entertainment and fun to enjoy as a tourist in the country you can go for a boat ride in the lagoon. Don’t forget to visit the mangroves and buy souvenirs for yourself and loved ones. There are many villages that are known for fishing that dot the coastline. It is of importance to know that these beaches are not best for bathing. They are often crowded with both fishermen and local boats. 

7. Wildlife in Senegal

national park One thing you should not forget is the wildlife experience in Senegal and West Africa as a whole. Some of the wildlife is destroyed by drought. However, to curb this, there is the establishment of different reserves to restore the population of wildlife. Different animals are brought from other African countries. You will see animals like monkeys, rhinos, zebras, buffalos, elands, and gazelles. Go to a reserve centre called Bandia Park when you travel to Senegal to see these animals. It is fun and pleasing to the eyes. It takes a few hours with a drive-by safari to get there. You can see these animals easily in the month of June as a result of the low shrub. There are lots of birds to see if you are a lover of birds or love seeing them. You can see more than 400 different species of birds when you take a boat safari to either Barbarie National Park or Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary. 

8. Desert in Senegal

camels If there is anything I wish I knew before going to Senegal, it is their desert. The country has deserts like the Lompoul Desert. This desert has clean and eye-catching orange sand. It is difficult to see anyone close to Desert Ecolodge. You can stay close to this place to have an experience of heaven under the cloud. There are running water, good toilet system, and comfortable beds at the tented camps available 

9. Transportation Fare

bus You should know it is not cheap to travel to Senegal. This is directly contrary to people’s belief in the prices of things in Africa. The amount you will pay for tourism in the United States of America is almost the same you will pay for any tourism-related business in the country. The locals in the country don’t often eat outside unless it is easy to access the street food. Expats and tourists are catered by restaurants. This is to tell you to come financially prepared for Senegal. You can buy stilled bottled water for $2-3 while sparking price ranges from $7 to $10. The prices of meals differ but can cost you around $25 (without alcohol). You can see 3-stars and 5-stars hotels in the country. The hotels that are newly built have all the amenities you can think of. A night at such a hotel will cost you $200-300. 

10. African Time

goree island The people of Senegal, just like their African brothers, have time leisure concepts. You should have this in mind to avoid getting frustrated. Your tour or road trip might be delayed for hours. The people are never in a rush. The immigration officers will likely love to talk to you before your passport is stamped. The person you have an appointment with may not show up again or even forgotten. You have to adjust to this culture and put social relationships first before punctuality. 

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