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Transparent utfyllnad General information
The westernmost tip of the Cap Vert peninsula and whole Africa as well: Pointe des Almadies (seen from north).
Photo: Niklas Holmström, 2005

Senegal is in the extreme west of the African continent, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a country of the Sahel, primarily flat, and bordered on the north by Mauritania, the east by Mali, the south by Guinea-Bissau, and completely surrounding the tiny Gambia in the centre. Senegal lies at a latitude of between 12° and 17° north of the equator. The large Cap Vert peninsula juts out about five miles west into the Atlantic ocean. The capital city Dakar is located at the end of the peninsula. A further 50 miles west, in the ocean, lies the Cape Verde Islands.
   On 20th June 1960, Senegal and Mali became completely independent from France, while remaining within the French union. But two months later the Senegal-Mali union broke up and the French West Africa had become nine separate republics.
   If you plan to visit Senegal or Gambia, then Lonely Planet's guide book 'The Gambia and Senegal' is as an essential piece of kit as binoculars and telescope!

The map is modified and updated by Martin Åkesson, Sweden.

Here you will find a nice and resizeable satellite map of the area along with notes and linked photos, specially addressed to birders. The map, modified by Björn Johansson, also show where important or interesting places are located. Just click on the symbols directly in the map or use the links int he left menu.

Climate and clothing
The dry season is between September and May on the Cap Vert peninsula and is dominated by the hot and dry harmattan wind. The temperature in October to November often rises above 30°C in the day and stays just below in the nights. The humidity is relatively high. So the cooling effect of the winds along the coast is a welcome delight when you are seawatching (and perhaps sending a thankful thought of not being stuck in the warm, African interior!). Other clothes than a T-shirt/shirt and shorts/thin trousers and, of course, a sunhat are not required. A waterproof jacket is recommended on pelagic tours, to stay dry from water sprays when travelling in open boats in high speed.
   During the best seawatching period (in autumn), the sun rises at 07:00 and sets at about 18:50, which makes it possible to seawatch for about 11 hours, but a break around 12.00 to 14.00 are recommended because of the heat haze. For more information about the weather at Dakar (5 day forecast, current conditions, weather history and much more) please have a look at the useful web site 'Weather Underground'.

Plan ahead for getting your vaccinations: Some of them require more than one injection, while some should not be given together. Note that some vaccinations should not be given to people with allergies – consult your doctor. Make sure that you have adequate health insurance.
This serious and potentially fatal disease is spread by mosquito bites and exists year round throughout the country. No place in Senegal is completely free from malaria so it is extremely important to avoid mosquito bites and to take tablets to prevent the disease, especially if you are heading out of Dakar.
The water in Senegal's main cities is generally clean, but be careful and especially avoid ice. To be on the safe side, stick to bottled water. Its recommended to drink 3-5 litres of water a day and it cannot be said too often: Don't forget to drink lots of water!

For further information about health tips for Senegal see Travelers' Health»

The currency unit of Senegal is the CFA Franc (simply called 'seefa') which is tied to the EURO. One good advice is to exchange some money of your currency into CFA before your visit Senegal and only demand bills in 1.000, 5.000 and 10.000. Remember that if you only use Euro as a currency to pay items the rate to the CFA are lower (1 Euro = CFA 630 is the most common rate). You will soon discover that many places, the boat to Isle N'Gor for example, for some reason cannot change money (not even CFA) or bills of a higher denomination than 5.000. So, always try to have a bundle of 500 and 1.000 CFA bills ready in your pocket. Use Euro or credit card to pay pelagic trips and accommodation with.
   Today (22 October 2008) the rates are 1 Euro = CFA 641. You can calculate the value of the CFA in Euro with the Yahoo currency converter»
To calculate the value of the EURO in your currency unit (British pounds, American dollars etc) you can use the calculator of the X-RATES web site:

Credit and Debit cards
You can use credit cards to pay for some items, but their use is usually limited to mid-range and top-end hotels, restaurants and car rental. Visa and American Express (AmEx) are the most widely accepted, but MasterCard can also be used. You can use a credit card to draw cash at banks in the major cities or in places used to handling tourists.
   Banks and card companies often charge fair exchange rates, which can make drawing money from the ATMs cheaper than changing travellers cheques. At N'Gor there is one ATM in the same building as the Select and petrol station close to the hotel area (about 10 minutes walk from Calao).

By West African standards Senegal is a veritable culinary paradise. In the N'Gor area (and on Isle N'Gor) there are many restaurants with excellent food, especially when it comes to seafood. For hungry seawatchers/birders there are two restaurants with both delicious food and perfect conditions for birding: L'Oasis on Isle N'Gor where you can see gulls and terns passing through the strait and the ultimate seawatching spot at Club le Calao's restaurant terrace (see the section 'Seawatching').
   Price examples (of our favourite dishes in October 2007) at Club le Calao's restaurant which facing the sea:

A very tasty fish dinner at Calao!
Photo: Martin Oomen, 2005

Filet Lot: 4.500 CFA (for all dishes you could chose between rice or chips)
Brochette de Poisson: 4.000 CFA
Filet de Capitaine: 4.500 CFA
Sole Meunière: 4.500 CFA
Emincé de Boeuf á L'orientale: 5.000 CFA
Filet de Boeuf au Poivre Vert: 5.000 CFA
Poulet grillé à L'ail: 4.500 CFA
Lunch food
Different omelettes: between 1.500-3.000 CFA
Baguette with ham and cheese: 2.000 CFA
Half litre of red wine: 2.500 CFA
Beer (Flag): 1.000 CFA (600 on Isle N'Gor)
Espresso: 1.000 CFA

Brief facts about Senegal
Area: 196,190 square kilometres (land; 192,000 sq km, water; 4,190 sq km)
Coastline: 531 km
Population: 10,5 million
Capital city: Dakar (population; 2 million)
People: Wolof (36%), Fulani (17%), Sérèr (17%), Toucouleur (9%), Diola (9%), Mandingo (9%), European and Lebanese (1%).
Languages: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Diola and Mandingo. English is used daily in commerce and international trade, but you will find out that French is the most useful language. However, with patience and time you will soon reach an agreement even if you do not speak French.
Religion: 94% Islam, 1% indiginous beliefs and 5% Christian.
Government: Republic under multi-party democratic rule.
President: Aboulaye Wade
Visas: Visas are not needed by citizens of the European Union, Canada, Norway, South Africa, Japan, Israel, USA and several other African countries.
Electricity: 220V. Plugs as in Scandinavia and continental Europe with two round pins.

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