Thins to do in Senegal: Dakar has an amazing nightlife. Visit Siné-Saloum delta , a region of mangrove swamps, dunes and lagoons. Meander with a trip in a pirogue(traditional African boat) passing in the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, out to the delta's myriad small islands. Scuba Diving in Senegal is also popular and there are many beaches that are great to get a tan, just make sure the water is safe to swim in.
Senegal Famous People: Youssou N'Dour, Akon, El Hadji Diouf..
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Famous or not, you'll love Senegal for its exciting and diverse history and culture. Located in West Africa, Senegal didn't gain its independence from France until 1960, and was once an old slave station.
On Goree Island you'll see the remnants of Senegal's slave trade past, where you can tour the old Slaves' House. In the city of St. Louis, once the country's capital, you'll see the old colonial houses from its French colony days.
French influence isn't limited to architecture, it found its way to Senegal's food. You'll need sustanence to keep you going with everything else to do, so eat up. Try avocado stuffed with shrimp, or Dem a la St. Louis, a stuffed mullet dish; or Chicken au yassa that's a barbeque chicken dish served with lemon & onion sauce.
Senegal even has some wonderful drinks to wash all that down. Toufam is a yogurt made with sugar water, mint tea, and a coffee pimento concoction. Alcoholic beverages are available even though Senegal is a Muslim country, so try the palm wine.
A good drink is just what you need while sprawled out at one of Senegal's many beaches. Casamance is famous for its beaches; and divers take not that February to April is the best time of year to do. This region of Senegal is great if you're into the whole eco-tourism thing--it's a nice way of being kind to the environment.
You should check with local authorities before heading to Casamance as its been a region of unrest. It's also good to make sure you've gotten vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Malaria, Hepititis A & B, Tuberculosis, Diptheria, and Meningitis.
Also never swim in fresh water (chlorinated pools are exempt), nor should you eat anything dairy or isn't fully cooked (including veggies) or peeled. It is best to use boiled or bottled water to make ice or brush your teeth. Nothing too much to worry about, just a couple of things to pay attention to.
You'll want to pay attention to the weather too. Dry season in Senegal is from December to April with cool, refreshing Trade Winds, while monsoon winds bring on the hot & humid rainy season from May to November.
Once you've gotten the sights and sounds of Senegal into your head, it won't matter much. Shopping is quite exciting with markets bursting with color. Great gifts to bring home include embroidered items, pottery, and wood carvings.
Dakar's nightlife is just as colorful as its market, with live music, nightclubs, and concerts. Senegal's Grand Mosque is a quieter affair--too bad its closed to the public, but you can see the outside from Dakar's bustling Medina.
If you've decided to drive on your own from Dakar, it is best to do it in the daytime--and police checkpoints are common. You'll also need an international or French drivers license. Best to take a metered taxi or Bush Taxi instead. You'll save a few Francs if you hail one on the street instead of calling ahead.
Consider taking the train for long distances as Senegal has some 761 miles of track. You can even get to Dakar from Bamako in Mali--and kids (ages 3-9) get a discounted rate.
A more expensive option are the Sea Shuttles, and there's ferry service to/from Dakar to Zinguinchor--a trip that can take some 20 hours. Just consider it another adventure in Senegal.
We wanted to make mention of the fact that you can have some serious fun in Africas best outfitted city for night-life. Recording studios and the money to own and run nightclubs makes Dakar a Friday to Sunday hotspot.
When you need a break visit Île de Gorée just off the coast or Gorée Island a UNESCO site. It has a lot of information on the slave trade. Originally Goree may have been made for the slave trade before it left for America but in fact it was little used. Still these days it has House of Slaves where you can learn all about it as you recover from your mbalax drumming week ender.