Senegal Tours & Holidays
At this stage we don't have any organised trips to Senegal.
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. Culture is rich and traditions are strong, yet this is also a nation of novelty. 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.
Senegal at a glance
West African CFA Franc (XOF)
Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin)
Learn more about Senegal
Best time to visit Senegal
With an average coastal temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, Senegal’s dry season - running from November to March - is the best time to visit. Things get hotter and dustier the further inland one ventures, due to the harmattan winds that blow in from the Sahara. From June to October is the rainy season, when temperatures rise above 30 and intermittent downpours (though usually lasting no more than a few hours and falling mainly at night) make for some extreme humidity. Although this is the time when the country is at its most green and beautiful, some national parks do close or become inaccessible.
Geography and environment
Save for the southeast Fouta Djallon foothills and the Bambouk Mountains on the Malian border, little of Senegal rises more than 100m above sea level. The north of the country consists mostly of sparsely vegetated savannah woodland and coastal dunes, while south of The Gambia the land turns to dense jungle, winding river systems and mangrove estuaries.
Senegal festivals and events
1. St. Louis Jazz Festival
Every May, internationally-renowned jazz legends and emerging artists arrive on mass for a weekend of thumping good times in what's arguably Senegal’s most charming town. Started in 1993, the festival is the biggest jazz celebration on the continent and has played host to the likes of Herbie Hancock, Randy Weston and Joe Zainul.
2. Gorée Diaspora Festival
Created with the ambition of promoting links between Senegal and the descendants of slaves exported from Gorée Island, this eclectic festival features traditional and modern musical concerts, conferences and debates, art and craft exhibitions, dance performances and the odd traditional wrestling bout thrown in for good measure.
3. Kaay Fecc
This lively Dakar dance festival, held between late May and early June every two years, is a vivacious celebration of African choreographic expression, entertainment and education. Aiming at the sustainable propagation of dance throughout the continent, the event attracts dance enthusiasts from around the globe keen to partake in the smorgasbord of workshops, performances and dance classes on offer.
4. Abéné Festivalo
Held annually over the New Year period in the Casamance community of Abéné, this 10-day drumming festival celebrates Casamance culture primarily through djembe and percussion performances but also features nightly dance recitals and traditional Senegalese wrestling displays.
5. Dak’Art Biennale
The cleverly named Dak’Art Biennale has served as a platform for promoting contemporary art with African cultural roots since 1992. Held every even-numbered year in May, the festival showcases works by established and emerging African artists in galleries and venues across the capital.
|Baobab Fou||Ken Bugul|
|The Kingdom of Waalo: Senegal Before the Conquest||Boubacar Barry|
|The Beggars' Strike||Aminata Sow Fall|
|Three Strong Women||Marie NDiaye|
|Door of No Return: The Legend of Goree Island||Steven Barboza|
Responsible travel tips for Senegal
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.
Senegal travel FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Currently, visas are not required in advance for travel to Senegal for citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States. For other nationalities, please see the list below. It is advised that all nationalities should check with the Senegal Embassy for up-to-date information.
- 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: Not required
- USA: Not required
You must obtain a double entry visa and this should be obtained prior to your arrival. You may also require a guarantee letter/hotel confirmation letter from Intrepid 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 Intrepid as part of your visa application.
Tipping is only expected from well-heeled locals and foreigners. At established restaurants a 10 to 15 percent service charge is usually included in the bill; where it’s not, 10 percent 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
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
From the US?
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 4 Apr Independence Day
- 10 Apr Easter Monday
- 1 May Labour Day
- 1 May Korité / End of Ramadan
- 29 May Whit Monday
- 29 May Whit Monday
- 15 Aug Assumption Day
- 9 July Tabaski / Feast of Sacrifice
- 8 Aug Tamkharit / Ashura
- 1 Nov All Saints' Day
- 9 Oct The Prophet's Birthday
- 1 Nov All Saints' Day
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2022. For a current list, see public holidays in Senegal.