From the horse’s mouth
Visa & Health
First, check the current validity of your passport. All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Senegal. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times. Citizens of United Kingdom can refer to www.ips.gov.uk for forms and instructions for new passport applications and British passport renewals.
Second, make sure your passport has blank Visa pages. Most destinations, including Senegal, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. We recommend that you have at least two free pages in Visas section of your passport before any international travel. British citizens can get extra passport pages added to their passports at www.ips.gov.uk.
Addresses of consulates
- Ambassade à l'étranger
1 rue El Hadj Amadou Assane Ndoye
BP 4035 Dakar
Tél. : tél +221 (8) 395 100
Fax : fax +221 (8) 395 181
- Ambassade en France
14 av. Robert Schuman
Tél. : tél. 01 47 05 39 45
Fax : fax. 01 45 56 04 30
- Ambassade du Sénégal
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 196
Tél. : (32 2) 673 00 97
- Ambassade du Sénégal
Rue de la Servette 93
Tél. : 022/918 02 30
Fax : 022/740 07 11
Senegal is a malaria-affected country and malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended.
Food and drink:
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated, and water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should first be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Bottled water is readily available everywhere. Milk is likely to be unpasteurised and should be boiled. Alternatively, use powdered or tinned milk, both of which are available. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unpasteurised milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water, but it’s fine to use swimming pools which are well-chlorinated and maintained; these are likely to be safe. Vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended.
There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in Senegal. Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Please consult your GP for accurate and up-to-date travel advice. Please see: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country-details.php?cnt=192#General_information
Budget and money
CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc (XOF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of XOF10,000, 5,000, 2,000,1,000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of XOF500, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1.
Senegal is part of the French Monetary Area. Only currency issued by the Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Bank of West African States) is valid; currency issued by the Banque des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale (Bank of Central African States) is not. The CFA Franc is pegged to the Euro.
The exchange rate was in january 2017 : £1 = XOF655.96
American Express is the most widely accepted, although Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa have limited use. Commissions are added for the use of credit cards and many businesses may not accept payments with foreign cards. It is best to carry cash for the majority of transactions
There are ATMs throughout Senegal (although they are more limited outside the cities) and they are fairly widespread throughout Dakar. However, many do not accept foreign cards.
Traveller's cheques are easy to cash in Dakar. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take them in euros rather than dollars. There is limited or no acceptance outside Dakar, however.
Banking hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1115 and 1430-1630
Capital :: Dakar
Area: 196,722 sq km (75,955 sq miles)
Population :: 15,589,485 (UN estimate 2016).
People: Wolof (43%), Peul (24%), Sérère(14%), Toucouleur (10%), Diola (5%), Mandinka (4%), and also Malinkés, European and Lebanese.
Language: The official language is French. There are many local languages, principally Wolof. Other languages include Pulaar, Mandinka and Diola.
Religion :: Around 94% Muslim, 5% Christian (mostly Roman Catholic with some Protestants) and a minority holds traditional beliefs.
Political organisation: Presidential
President :: President Macky Sall since 2012.
Prime Minister :: Mohammed Dionne since 2014.
The Toucouleur people, among the early inhabitants of Senegal, converted to Islam in the 11th century, although their religious beliefs retained strong elements of animism. The Portuguese had some stations on the banks of the Senegal River in the 15th century and the first French settlement was made at St Louis in 1659 as Gorée Island became a major centre for the Atlantic slave trade through the 1700s. The British took parts of Senegal, but the French gained possession in 1840 and made it part of French West Africa in 1895.
In 1946 Senegal became an overseas territory of France and on 20 June 1960, it formed an independent republic federated with Mali, but the federation collapsed within four months.
Senegal has played a prominent role in African politics since its independence. As a black nation that is more than 90 per cent Muslim, it has been a diplomatic and cultural bridge between the Islamic world and other parts of Africa while maintaining closer economic, political and cultural ties to France than many other former colonies.
Its first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, an acclaimed poet and member of the Académie Française, towered over the country’s political life until his retirement in 1981 although he replaced multi-party democracy with an authoritarian regime.
In 1973 Senegal co-founded the West African Economic Community, but when rising oil prices and fluctuations in the price of peanuts, a major export crop, ruined the economy in the 1970s, Senghor reversed course and emphasised new industries such as tourism and fishing.
When the economy continued to stagnate Senghor resigned in favour of his protégé Abdou Diouf who led the country for the next 20 years, initiating further economic and political liberalisation. In March 2000, opposition party challenger Abdoulaye Wade won 60 per cent of the vote in multi-party elections. In January 2001, the Senegalese voted in a new constitution that legalised opposition parties and granted women equal property rights with men.
In September 2002, 1863 passengers were killed when the state-owned Joola ferry sank. The government accepted responsibility for the disaster, which is considered the second worst non-military maritime disaster in history.
Despite constitutional term limits, President Wade ran for a third term in 2012 sparking violent protests that threatened to destabilise the country. In the event, Wade lost to former prime minister Macky Sall, who has remained in power since.
Did you know?
- More than 3000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Senegal since 1963.
- Senegalese griots have kept their region’s oral history alive for thousands of years through words and music.
- The African Resistance Monument in Dakar is the tallest statue in Africa.
On the coast between Dakar and St Louis is a strip of shifting dunes. South of Dakar there are shallow estuaries along the coastline, which is fringed by palm trees. In the northern part of the country, south of the Senegal Basin, lies the arid Fouta Ferlo, a hot dry Sahelian plain with little vegetation.
Choosing the right riding holiday
Choosing the right riding holiday
Known as the gateway to Africa, Senegal's diverse ecosystem boasts a huge range of plants and wildlife. Steeped in French colonial history, Dakar, the capital city sprawls across the Cap-Vert peninsula. Small villages and former French colonial towns, filled with French architecture, are brought to life by locals wearing brightly-coloured fabrics and sharply-tailored suits. The markets and Medinas throw out a riot of noise and smells. And the air is filled with Senegalese pop music. This French speaking country is so diverse and varied and is at the heart of Responsible and sustainable tourism.
Once you have escaped the hustle and bustle of the cities, the warmth of this magical place starts to show. You will explore varied landscapes; desert savannah, mangroves, lagoons and baobab trees filled with bird life. You may see cormorants, spoon bills, cranes, flamingos, herons and hundreds of pelicans. Experience the genuine hospitality of farmers, herders, craftsman and fisherman living in traditional villages.
There is no better way than on horseback to get the real feeling of this beautiful land and its genuine people. Horses are a real part of the history of this amazing place.