Golden beaches, a pink lake and vibrant city life

Our Senegal itinerary

Senegal Map

Duration: at least 2 weeks

Best time to visit: November – May

Budget: 45 $ per day

The Gambia is virtually surrounded by Senegal and thus also forms a dividing line between the north and south of Senegal, two regions that could hardly be more different.

We first went to the south of Senegal. The so-called Casamance, the granary of Senegal. In contrast to the north, the south of the country is much greener and the vegetation is more lush.

The north forms the economic center of the country and is home to the vibrant capital Dakar. We found the differences between the country and its people really exciting and felt very comfortable in both the south and the north.

  • Culture 90% 90%
  • City life 85% 85%
  • Surfing 110% 110%
  • Activities 100% 100%

In contrast to The Gambia, traveling in Senegal was much easier for us, even though we speak very little French. Traveling by public transport often cost us a lot of time, but we were often rewarded with friendly company and new acquaintances!

What is there to explore in Senegal?

Beaches in Senegal


We realized one thing as soon as we checked in our luggage: Senegal is a mecca for kitesurfers and surfers. Popular locations such as the Cap Skirring peninsula in the Casamance region or the coasts of Dakar and Saint-Louis attract kitesurfers from all over the world. The water is warm all year round, winds and waves are constant.

Surfing in Senegal

In contrast to The Gambia, Senegal is also a great place to surf. Beginners like Lauri as well as advanced surfers will find the perfect waves here. The surf spots in the north and near Dakar are good for beginners, as you can easily connect with the surfing community here.

The south aka Casamance (apart from Cap Skirring) is more suitable for experienced surfers, because here you often have the breaks and beaches to yourself.

Even though the best time to surf in Senegal is from April to October, you will probably find good waves all year round, especially as a beginner.

But you can also enjoy the beaches in Senegal as a non-water sports enthusiast. In the southern villages of Abéne and Kafountine, there are beautiful beaches and a relaxed but interesting village life to discover.

Many of the beaches in the north are easily accessible from Dakar and are open to the public. Here you can easily make new friends and capture the atmosphere.

Ile de Ngor has the best of both worlds: The island offers fantastic surfing opportunities, quiet beaches for swimming and, above all, a rich and sad history. While most visitors only come for a day, we really enjoyed spending a few days there.

Basically, we found Senegal far too interesting to be just a beach destination, although the beaches really are breathtaking.

Beach in Senegal
Lac Rose Senegal
Boats on red Lake in Senegal

The pink Retba Lake

The radiant colors of Lake Retba make Lac Rose one of the biggest tourist attractions in Senegal. The picturesque backdrop of Lac Rose with its pink-tinted water, the surrounding dunes and the traditional fishing boats creates a surreally beautiful landscape and entices you to take photos.

However, respect and consideration are required here. Working on the lake is extremely strenuous and draining on your health. Always ask for permission before taking photos!

In addition to its natural beauty, Lac Rose also offers a variety of activities for the adventurous, including boat trips, camel tours and exploring the surrounding salt fields.

In recent years, global warming and other environmental factors have led to discoloration and endangerment of the lake. More Info.

Why pink in the Retba lake?

The striking pink color of the Retba Lake is is caused by the presence of certain microorganisms and algae that can adapt to the extreme salt content.

Safari in Senegal

Although Senegal is not known as a safari destination in Africa, we were surprised by our safari experience!

Fathala Wildlife Reserve

The reserve is located very close to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and is home to various animals, including elephants, lions and gorillas.

We thought the safari was great because it was super easy to get to as a day trip from Dakar. Fathala Wildlife Reserve is a great way to experience an African safari without spending as much money as in more popular safari destinations such as Tanzania.

For around 60 euros per person, you can see zebras, antelopes, rhinos and giraffes up close.

safari senegal 1
Teranga culture Senegal

Terangua culture

Téranga, a term from the Wolof language, stands for much more than just hospitality in Senegal. It embodies the deep solidarity and generosity that characterize the way the locals of this West African country treat each other. The cordiality, openness and warmth of the people of Senegal are captured in a single word. Téranga is a cultural attitude that is passed down from generation to generation and shapes the social fabric of the country. It is the ability to treat strangers like friends and welcome everyone, no matter where they come from. Téranga is an indispensable part of Senegalese life and a source of joy and cohesion for all who visit this wonderful country.


Experience West African culture

Senegal is a fascinating mosaic of different cultures and ethnic groups that have coexisted peacefully for centuries. For culturally interested travelers like us, it was totally exciting to be able to gain so many insights.

The largest ethnic group is the Wolof, who live mainly in the central and northern part of the country and exert a significant influence on Senegalese culture.

The Fulani, a nomadic group, are mainly found in the north of the country and are known for their cattle breeding and traditional way of life.

The Serer mainly inhabit the coastal regions.

Other important groups are the Toucouleur, the Peulh and the Diola, who are mainly represented in the south of the country, particularly in the Casamance region.

Each of these groups contributes to Senegal’s cultural diversity with their own language, customs, dances and traditions, making it a fascinating and colorful country to explore.

people in Senegal
dolls in senegal

Vibrant cities

Senegal is a booming African travel destination and offers an authentic insight into West African city life. Even though Dakar is our favorite, you should definitely make a detour to Saint Louis too! We will spend more time in Saint Louis on our next visit.

Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history dating back to the 16th century. The city is home to numerous historical sites, including the House of Slaves and the African Renaissance Monument. Dakar is not only known for its historical sights, but also for its vibrant nightlife and lively markets.

Saint Louis, Senegal’s second largest city, is located on an island in the Senegal River. The city was once the capital of French West Africa and has retained its colonial charm. Saint Louis is a great place to explore the culture and heritage of Senegal with its many museums and art galleries. There are also many outdoor activities, such as a boat trip through the mangrove forests.

Food culture in Senegal

The food culture in Senegal is one of the things that makes the country such a unique and exciting destination. The country is home to a variety of different culinary traditions. From traditional Senegalese dishes to more modern dishes, you are sure to find something to your taste. And of course, no trip to Senegal would be complete without trying the local street food. This is a good way to get a feel for the country and its people. Whether you’re looking for a new culinary adventure or want to try something different, check out the food culture in Senegal!

P.S. Dani was in seventh heaven when she found out that peanut sauce is a staple food in Senegal.


Festivals and events

One of the most important events is the“Grand Magal of Touba“, an annual Islamic pilgrimage festival that celebrates the birth of the founder of the Mouridiyya Brotherhood, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba. Hundreds of thousands of believers flock to Touba for this event to pray, celebrate and take part in the ceremonies.

Another important event is the“Dakar International Film Festival“, which celebrates the rich film culture of Senegal and Africa as a whole and brings together filmmakers from all over the world.

There are also numerous local festivals that reflect the cultural diversity of the country, such as the“Boukout” of the Wolof, a traditional festival that combines music, dance and culinary delights.

The Abene Music Festival attracts a variety of musicians from the region and around the world who come together to present a wide range of musical genres, including traditional African music, reggae, hip-hop, jazz and more. In addition to the concerts, there are also workshops, craft markets and opportunities to experience the local cuisine and culture.

Carnival in Senegal

The carnival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, especially in the capital Dakar and other large cities such as Saint-Louis. During carnival, the streets are transformed into a colorful parade of people in elaborate costumes, accompanied by rousing music and dancing. The festivities are a mixture of African traditions and colonial influences, which are reflected in the elaborate costumes and the rousing rhythms of the drums. In addition to the parades, there is also street theater, art exhibitions and culinary stalls showcasing the diversity of Senegalese cuisine.

Saint Louis Jazz Festival

Saint-Louis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its rich musical tradition, which encompasses a variety of styles and influences, from traditional Senegalese music to jazz, blues and Afro-Cuban rhythms. The festival brings together local and international artists who perform on various stages around the city, from historic squares to picturesque waterfront promenades.

Popular tours in Senegal

Practical travel tips for Senegal


What language is spoken in Senegal?

Several languages are spoken in Senegal, as the country is home to a large number of ethnic groups.

The official language is French, which is used in government, education and the media. Various indigenous languages are also spoken, including Wolof, which serves as a lingua franca and is spoken by a large number of people in everyday life. Other important languages are Fulfulde, Serer, Mandinka and Diola, which are spoken according to regional ethnicity.

What is the best time to travel to Senegal?

Senegal has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season.

The best time to travel to Senegal is during the dry season, which lasts from October to April. During this time, the temperatures are warm and there is less rainfall.

The Harmattan winds, which blow over from the Sahara desert, also begin to blow at this time. These winds can make conditions hot, dry and dusty. However, they usually subside in April when the temperatures rise again.

Is there Maleria & Dengue Fever in Senegal?

Malaria, dengue fever and other tropical diseases are common, especially during the rainy season (June-September).

Tips for avoiding dengue & malaria

You should take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. It is best to sleep under a mosquito net and wear long clothes to sleep. Otherwise, you should also keep a low profile at dawn and dusk.

The health facilities in Dakar are adequate, but they are limited in the rest of Senegal.

Make sure you have sufficient travel health insurance and funds to cover the costs of medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Is Senegal safe?

We always felt very comfortable and safe in Senegal. After dark, however, we were no longer on our own.

What is the currency in Senegal?

The currency in Senegal is the CFA franc, which is used together with 14 other African countries that are part of the Monetary Union of West African States (UEMOA). The CFA franc is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and has the currency abbreviation XOF.

Public transportation in Senegal

In urban areas such as Dakar, there is a well-developed network of minibuses and cabs, which are often used to transport commuters.

The vehicles are often overcrowded, but they offer an inexpensive way to get around the city.

Buses and shared cabs are a practical option for longer distances, with shared cabs being used more frequently to reach more remote areas.

Train connections in Senegal are limited, but there is a train that connects Dakar with some suburbs.

You must be prepared for different service qualities and have flexible travel plans, as timetables and conditions can vary.

Overall, public transportation in Senegal offers a way to explore the country and interact with the locals, with adventure and cultural insights guaranteed.

Internet and SIM cards in Senegal

The connection is quite good in the cities, but network coverage varies greatly in rural areas. There are three telephone providers in Senegal: Orange, Free and Expresso. In general, data packages in Senegal are affordable.

Can I drink the tap water in Senegal?

The water in Senegal is not drinkable, so bring a water filter or a UV bottle.

What should I look out for on my trip?

Sunscreen: Protect marine life by wearing reef-friendly sunscreen.

Waste: Take your water filter with you not only to keep your water cold, but also to avoid plastic waste. A foldable food container and travel cutlery are also a must!

Photography: The people around Lac Rose and Île de Gorée are prone to taking photos, so be extra sensitive.

tanzania travel beaches zanzibar

Packing list Senegal

Don’t know what to pack for your trip to Senegal? You’ll find everything you need on our packing list, from clothing and equipment to eco-friendly toiletries.

Enjoy your trip without worrying about what you’ve forgotten and immerse yourself in the culture of Senegal with the right equipment.

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Senegal is a beautiful country with a rich culture and friendly people!

Day trips from Dakar

Day trips from Dakar

Situated on the Atlantic coast, Senegal has beautiful beaches, lagoons, and island archipelagos. Inland, there are forests, savannas, and mountains. When visiting Dakar, there are plenty of things to do and see.

Things to do in Dakar | West African city life

Dakar is a bustling, exciting metropolis that will make you want to explore Senegal. Dakar’s vibes are displayed at every turn. Food vendors selling fried doughnuts covered with honey-waxed peanut butter are served during breakfast until late-night DJ sessions start soon after sunset!