Practical Information


Airport Transfer


Customs and Traditions

Here are some key aspects to understand for a successful stay:

Greetings: They are highly important in Senegal. Generally, Senegalese people are very courteous and incredibly kind, and they expect the same in return.

Greetings are exchanged all the time with everyone, even with strangers. You might say ‘Bonjour, ça va bien?’ (Hello, how are you?) or ‘Nanga def?’ (How are you?), to which the response is ‘Mangi fi rekk’ (I’m fine alone). Using the famous ‘Salamaleikum’ (to which the response is ‘Aleikum Salam’) is also appreciated.

Additionally, here are cultural elements that might enhance your experience:

Asking about family members, even if unknown, is common. Senegalese show high regard for the elderly, so greeting them with due respect is appreciated.

Meals: If given the chance, sharing a meal with a Senegalese family honors the host. Before eating, handwashing is customary. Meals are typically taken sitting on the floor, on a mat (removing shoes beforehand), everyone gathered around a communal dish. Eating with hands is common, but you can request a spoon or fork, which will not be taken amiss. Only the right hand is used (as the left hand is reserved for other uses).

Eating starts after the host says ‘Bismilahi.’ Beverages are usually consumed after the main course. Being offered the best parts or having bones removed from fish before serving are signs of respect towards guests. Men generally eat before women and children.

Tea: The ceremony surrounding the famous Senegalese tea (Ataya) is significant. If offered tea, refusing would be inappropriate. It’s served in three successive glasses, the preparation of which can take at least an hour. They might say, ‘The first is bitter like death, the second is sweet like life, and the third is sweet like love.’

Islam and its pillars: With 95% of the population being Muslim, Islam heavily influences daily life. Witnessing someone performing ablutions in public shouldn’t surprise you.

The five daily prayers structure the day. You might hear the muezzin’s first call to prayer, broadcasted through loudspeakers, around 4:30 am / 5 am. It’s also common to wait for a seller to finish their prayer before finalizing a deal. If your taxi driver doesn’t respond to your questions and seems to mutter quietly while driving, it’s likely they’re praying. In any case, be patient and respectful, never interrupt someone during prayer.

Almsgiving, one of the five pillars of Islam, leads to encountering many beggars, especially in cities. Feel free to give a small coin whenever possible.

Dress Code: As you’re visiting a country where Islam is prevalent, it’s essential to adhere to certain dress codes.

Displaying bare legs (for boys or girls) isn’t well-received by Muslims, so outside bathing areas, wear decent and non-slovenly attire. Avoid shorts and miniskirts.

Many Senegalese in major cities (Dakar, Saint-Louis…) dress in Western style, especially those of the Catholic faith. However, traditional attire, such as boubou or pagne, remains common. Overall, attire, hairstyles, and even jewelry adhere to codes and symbolize social class and age.

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