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Senegal - Traveling

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Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Right after arrival at Dakar airport, it is impossible to miss the numerous yellow and black taxis. It is a practical means of transport and can be used throughout one's stay as they are not very expensive.
The only city in Senegal where taxis have a meter is Dakar (and its surrounding areas). However, despite the efficiency of the system, the taxi men have slowly abandoned the use of these meters in favor of bargaining.

Due to the rural exodus, there is a lot of utilization of the public transport and four out of five vehicles are intended for this purpose. In every city you can find a bus station that functions 24h/24. The bus station of Dakar is called "Pompiers" (firefighter). It is the biggest in the country. It offers a number of international national and international destinations. The choice of vehicles is also the best: 7-seater taxis, minibus, buses with 35, 45 or 55 seats. Travelers can find all the vehicles that they want. As the bus station is situated at the outskirts of the city center, it helps to avoid the mammoth traffic jams of the city center.

The train is a mode of transport that is in disuse in Senegal. Two railway lines dating since the colonial period were constructed: Dakar-St Louis and Dakar - Bamako (Mali). Today, only the following lines are used: Dakar-Bamako and the PTB (The Small Blue Train, the suburban line). Since the end of the 90s, the Dakar-Saint-Louis line has been stopped.

Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

The best form of transport is the road transport either by taxi or by bus.
For more information, visit the Senegal transport website.
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Air Senegal National YES Yes
Air France Major NO Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Approximately 4000 kilometers of tarmac highways permit fast  traveling  between the different regional capitals of the country. However certain are in such a state of disrepair (e.g. Fatick - Foundiougne), that motorists prefer driving on the tracks to avoid the carts parked alongside the roads.
The most beautiful and safest highway is without doubt the stretch from Tambacounda to Kedougou that was redone at the start of the 90s and which has been less used. The few kilometers of highway that joins Dakar to Rufisque is used a lot and driving on it can be dangerous.
The settling of tar on the ground during the monsoon season has been the cause for the bad condition of certain roads. Since many years now, the government has changed its policy of transport in favor of tracks that are less expensive to construct and maintain and which with the lack of finances at present can be more used than those that are scattered with pot-holes.

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: -Dakar: the Presidential Palace; The National Assembly;
-Sine Saloum: the Saloum islands; Megalithic Sites.
-The Gorée island: the slave's house
Cultural: The Casamance: the fields, the peghe, the rice harvest and the village under the cheese maker.
Nature: - Saint-Louis and the Senegal river: the lake of Guiers; the national park of Djoudj and the Barbarie Tongue
- Cayar: the pink lake
Religious: - The Cathedral and the big Mosque of Dakar
- Touba: religious centre of the Mourides. Situated here is one of the biggest mosques of West Africa. The city is truly a place of pilgrimage.
Thermal: No thermal tourism
Beach: - Saly: the beaches of Saly.
- Joal et Fadiouth: beach of Jaol.
Winter sports: No winter sports
Outdoor activities: Various sports can be practiced in Senegal amongst which are: golf, fishing, diving, mountain biking, quad biking, horse riding, surfing, etc.
Shopping: Hand-painted fabrics can be made into beautiful garments, especially since the tailors work at a record speed.
It is equally possible to take back filigreed jewelry in gold or in silver, wooden sculptures and masks, wickerwork baskets, wooden vessels, copper statues and simple paintings.
It is not advisable to buy bags, shoes and belts made of crocodile skin so as not to encourage poaching. Shops are open from 8h to 12h and from 16h to 19h30 during the week.

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: The risk of malaria (especially the malignant form P. falciparum) exists everywhere, all the year round and in all the regions of the country. However, there is less risk from January to  June in the  western central region. Moreover, the virus is resistant to chloroquine in most cases.
In order to avoid traveler's diarrhea, tourists should avoid risky foods such as: dishes prepared and then eaten cold, sea food, fish that is little or badly cooked, raw vegetables, as well as fruits that are not peeled by oneself. Tap water should be boiled, filtered and then drunk from bottles that are correctly sealed.

Since 2005, cholera is rampant throughout the country. Travelers should thus scrupulously follow the basic rules of hygiene. Another virus that is equally dangerous is the Appolo virus that is particularly rife during the month of September. This virus causes a type of conjunctivitis and it is found in all the countries of the region. Travelers should avoid touching their eyes with dirty hands and should wash their hands as often as possible.

For further information on sanitary conditions: Kassoumay: Health Precautions

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Dakar (GMT)
Summer time period: The hottest period is from June to October and is also the monsoon season.
Climate: There is tropical climate in the south. The average temperature in the south is 27 degrees C, but very often reaches 40 degrees C in summer. The average temperature in the north is 21 degrees C. The monsoon season : from mid-May to mid-September. The dry period : mid-October to mid-March.

Eating

Food specialties: The Senegalese cuisine is mainly composed of cereals.
Meat and fish are often served in a curry sauce. At every meal one can find chili and rice.
The national dishes are:
-Thieboudienne: fish with vegetables. In Senegal, this traditional dish is generally prepared with Tiof, a local fish. The hake is the most similar fish to it. Usually, the fish, the rice and the curry are served in separate dishes.
- Chicken Yassa : chicken is cooked in the flavor of lime, garlic, and clove. It is usually served with rice in a service dish which is placed in the center of the table and the dinner guests eat it with their fingers.
Coconut Cake: it is a kind of fritter.
Fish is the main ingredient of the daily diet, chicken, lamb or beef are sometimes included in the meals. Some gnu or wild boar grill can also be found in restaurants menus.
Drinks: Senegal possesses a variety of natural juices:
- The bissap : an infusion made from a decoction of red flowers
- Ginger : ginger decoction with mint and nutmeg
- Tamarind
- The bouye : drink made from monkey bread.
- The ditakh : juice obtained from a fruit similar to the kiwi fruit.
- Palm wine : alcohol extracted from palm trees.
- Honey and nectar of the gods beer
- Mint tea : served everywhere, all the time.
- Beer : Flag and Gazelle
Dietary taboos: You will not find any pork because 90% of the population is Muslim.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Consult the website Dicowolof for learning the basics of Wolof.
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