Last modified on November 3rd, 2022 at 9:00 am

5 Things To Know Before Visiting Senegal

Many tourists are drawn to Senegal because of the lively atmosphere that hosts markets, music, and delicious food for people to enjoy. Visiting Senegal is affordable and enjoyable, but if you want to maximize your fun, you might want to bring extra money to spend while shopping. You’ll find many vendors and want to buy their products during your visit.

Please continue reading to learn five things you should know before visiting Senegal to make the most of your trip. It’s always best to feel prepared before you leave for any vacations out of your home country.

1. Senegal Prides Themselves on Hospitality

The people of Senegal are known worldwide for their friendliness and generosity towards visitors. However, there are certain cultural norms you should familiarize yourself with before you visit so that you don’t offend the Senegal people. For example, it might be tempting to get drunk on vacation, but public drunkenness in Senegal is considered offensive and rude. The following are examples of why people consider Senegal a hospitable place to visit:

  • The people are generally very friendly to visitors.
  • When you walk around Senegal, you’ll find many people smiling and laughing.
  • During your visit, you might be invited to share a meal at one of the local homes.

Even though the people of this country speak French, they do not carry the same reputation that France has regarding hospitality. Many tourists and visitors have experienced an abundance of tolerance and friendliness during their trips to Senegal.

2. It Would Be a Good Idea To Hire a Guide During Your Visit

Hiring a tour guide during your trip to Senegal can help you, especially if you don’t speak French. French is the primary language in Senegal, so if you don’t know the language and ordering food, visiting new locations, and other aspects of your trip could be quite stressful. If you prefer, you could hire a guide for only a short part of your trip just to get a feel for things and then continue the rest of the trip doing whatever you want.

  • A tour guide will show you all the fun things to do in Senegal.
  • A guided tour will take the stress off of language learning and understanding menus, people, and vendors on your trip.
  • Most of these guides offer tips to ensure that the rest of your vacation is as hassle-free as possible.

A tour guide will also help you avoid stressful traffic, so you don’t have to rent a car to explore. Plus, if you don’t want people to sell you stuff and hassle you on the street constantly, then a tour guy can help you avoid these situations.

3. You’ll Enjoy Delicious Food During Your Visit

One of the biggest things people enjoy during their visit to Senegal is trying delicious food they don’t normally have at home. The food in this country plays a huge cultural role and can help you immerse yourself in your travel experience. These are examples of a few popular dishes you might run into during your trip to Senegal:

  • Thiéboudienne is the national dish of Senegal, so you might run into it frequently.
  • Chicken Yassa is another delicious traditional dish people enjoy serving.
  • Firire is a well-seasoned fried fish as a popular option among people who live in the country and people who visit.

It’s unlikely you’ll find pork dishes during your trip because this country is mostly Muslim, so pork goes against most religious beliefs. However, you can find plenty of other meats like lamb, chicken, and beef, which are all popular options in this country.

4. French Knowledge Will Help You Out

While you don’t have to be a native French speaker, it would help to brush up on your language skills before you visit. French is the primary language of this country, so arriving without any knowledge of the language could be troublesome and nerve-wracking during your vacation period. If you want to relax, you should teach yourself the basic phrases and menu items, so you don’t have to worry about not understanding too much.

  • You might find some English speakers during your visit, but French is just a primary language, so general conversations will be difficult without knowing this language.
  • The Senegal people are open and welcome to Americans and English speakers, but most natives won’t know how to speak English or might only know a few key phrases
  • Many Senegal people also speak Wolof in addition to French.

Even if you teach yourself a few key French phrases, it will make your trip much easier. You don’t necessarily have to spend years studying French or Wolof to visit Senegal. If you’re nervous about the language barrier, you can hire a tour guide to help you out with the situation.

5. You’ll Have a Safe Visit to Senegal

Senegal has high crime rates among the people that live there, but they’re generally pretty friendly towards tourists. If you stick around in tourist-friendly spots, you’ll likely have a safe visit. Crimes against tourists from out of the country are lower than the general crime rates seen among the people that live in Senegal. However, it would be best to travel in a group of at least two people instead of solo if you want to play it safe.

Final Thoughts

If you want a hospitable experience, Senegal is your place. You’ll enjoy delicious food, music, and friendly people during your visit. It would be best to brush up on your French skills before your visit because it might be hard to get around without them. If you’re concerned, you should hire a tour guide before you visit, so the trip is easier for you. Otherwise, you might be in the stressful situation of figuring things out without speaking the local language.

Before you visit, take your normal travel precautions and be aware of your surroundings to have a safe experience. Also, stick around Senegal’s touristy areas if you want to avoid areas with a higher crime rate.