Hemmed in by the ever-encroaching sands of the Sahel, the waves of the Atlantic and the dense jungle of the Casamance, Senegal often seems to work a beat and rhythm all on its own. Emphatically Muslim, yet exuding French undertones, it evokes both the best in colonial-era architecture and the worst vestiges of the slave trade. It’s a nation of novelty, where the melodies of home-grown international music maestros are played alongside the latest local hip-hop sensations, and first-rate baguettes are hawked from the back of horse-drawn carts.
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Australia: Yes - In advance
Belgium: Yes - In advance
Canada: Yes - In advance
Germany: Yes - In advance
Ireland: Yes - In advance
Netherlands: Yes - In advance
New Zealand: Yes - In advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - In advance
UK: Yes - In advance
USA: Yes - In advance
All passport holders travelling to Senegal now need a visa to enter the country, effective July 1st 2013. All applicants are required to first apply online for a bio-metric visa.
You must obtain a double entry visa and this should be obtained prior to your arrival and you may require a guarantee letter / hotel confirmation letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
Australia and New Zealanders should use the Senegalese embassy in Malaysia as their closest option. For other nationalities the embassy in the UK may be the most convenient and you may require a guarantee letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
Starting your trip in Dakar
It may be possible to obtain your visa on arrival at Dakar Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, but you
must have obtained prior approval BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT (please do this well in advance).
Tipping is only expected from well-heeled locals and foreigners. At established restaurants a 10 to 15 per cent service charge is usually included in the bill; where it’s not, 10 per cent is the acceptable gratuity. Although tipping at other eateries isn't mandatory, a rounding up of the bill will be much appreciated given the low wages that Senegalese workers are typically paid. Setting aside a small amount for porters, guides and drivers is also a good idea.
Internet cafes, with relatively fast and reliable connections, can easily be found in Senegal’s cities and major towns.
Mobile phone coverage is good in Senegal’s large cities and towns, but less so in rural areas. The major local telephone companies are Alize, Sentel, Orange and Tigo. Ensure that you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you plan to use your mobile phone.
Squat/pit toilets are generally the standard in Senegal, although western-style flushable toilets are often found in large hotels and other modern buildings. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper because this is rarely provided.
Sandwich = 1000 CFA
Litre of bottled water = 700 CFA
Shwarma = 1500-5000 CFA
Bottle of beer in a local bar = 500-1000 CFA
Tap water isn't safe to drink in Senegal. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring water purification tablets or ask your leader where filtered water can be found.
Credit cards are generally only accepted at top-end hotels, some restaurants and a few shops. American Express is the most widely accepted, followed by Visa, Diners Club and Mastercard.
Banks with ATMs are found in all cities and large towns across the country, but are rarer in small towns, rural areas and villages. Not all ATMs will accept foreign cards or be in working order, so be sure to have other payment methods available when venturing out of the cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Senegal go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/senegal/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
1. Be considerate of Senegal’s customs, traditions, religions and culture.
2. Only use your right hand when dealing with locals. The left is used for ‘unhygienic tasks’.
3. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
4. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered and shoes removed when entering places of worship.
5. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water or use water purification tablets.
6. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive and supports the local community.
8. When bargaining, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
9. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
10. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
11. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.