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From Halal Food & Travel

Senegal is an officially Francophone country in Western Africa. With the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Senegal has Guinea-Bissau to the south, Guinea to the southeast, Mali to the east, and Mauritania to the north. The Gambia is almost an enclave of Senegal in the middle of the western coast.

An Introduction to the regions of Senegal

Reference ##d07777 Cap Vert-Thies Reference ##dbe270 Central Senegal Reference ##b5d29f Northern Senegal Reference ##b383b3 Casamance Reference ##dda558 Tambacounda Region }}

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Senegal

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Senegal

Gambia river in Niokolokoba National Park

Ports and harbors 
Matam, Podor, Richard Toll, Dakar, Palmarin
Places of religion and contemplation
Keur Moussa, Touba, Tivaouane
Interesting Islands
Fadiout + Joal, Ile de Gorée, Karabane
Nature reserves
Niokolo-Koba, Delta du Saloum, Parc National des oiseaux du Djoudj, Reserve de Palmarin
Stone circles
Nioro du Rip, Keur Ali Lobé, Sali, Kau-Ur to Wassau, Ker Batch

Senegal Halal Travel Guide

Wolof is the native language of some Senegalese people, but you will find that almost everyone speaks it. Knowing the basic Wolof greetings and phrases will go a long way in getting you better service and prices.

French is the official language and learnt by all Senegalese in school, so it is a very useful language for Muslim travellers to know. While some Senegalese merchants speak English, most business is conducted in French or Wolof. Other languages used in Senegal include Sereer, Soninke, Pulaar, Jola, and Mandinka.

The basic Muslim greeting is often used: Salaam Aleikum - Peace to you. The response is Waleikum Salaam - And unto you peace.

Travel as a Muslim to Senegal

A map showing the visa requirements of Senegal, with countries in green having visa-free access

Entry requirements

Muslims of the following countries can enter Senegal without a visa: All EU citizens, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, China, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Togo, Tunisia, United States. Muslims of other countries must obtain an advance visa from their local Senegalese mission.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Senegal

Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar boasts a brand new airport, Blaise Diagne International Airport, opened in late 2017. The old Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport that became too small for the increasing number of passengers still handles some international flights to nearby countries.

Delta Air Lines flies to Dakar on most of their US-Africa services, service from Atlanta and JFK airport takes around 8 hours. South African Airways flies direct from New York and Washington-Dulles in just about 7 hours (8.5 on the return trip). Other airlines route through Europe such as Brussels Airlines (Brussels), Air Senegal International (Paris-Orly), Air France (Paris-CDG), Alitalia (Milan), Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), Iberia (Madrid, Gran Canaria), TAP (Lisbon) and others (5.5 to 6 hours). There are flights from various parts of Africa operated by Kenya Airways (Nairobi), Air Ivoire (Abidjan) and others.

By car

It is possible but a little bit difficult to get into Senegal by car. Senegal prohibits the import of cars that are more than eight years old, but if you are only staying for a short while, and agree to take your car out of the country, you should (eventually) be allowed through, but this cannot be guaranteed.

According to the customs of Senegal is it since 2008 again allowed to import cars also older than five years.

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Senegal

A railway between Dakar and Bamako, Mali has fallen into disrepair and no longer runs as of 2012. The line was fixed (although much of it remained original track from around 1918) in the 2000s and run with used carriages/locomotives from India, but operation became sporadic by the end of the decade and the operator went bankrupt. The trains only run within Dakar to the suburbs for both passengers and containers.

How to get around in Senegal

Getting around in the rainy season can be challenging Taxi, taxi-brousse, taxi-clando, car-charette, and transport commun (cars rapides) Buslines in Dakar and around Dakar are maintained by SOTRAC (Société des Transports en commun de Cap Vert), now managed by a private company and called Dakar Demm Dikk. Car hire is available in Dakar (city and airport) and sometimes in MBour and Saly Portudal.

The main method of travel around the country is by sept places (from the French for "seven seats," literally questionable station wagons in which they will pack seven people so that you are basically sitting on the next person's lap throughout the journey). You can also come with a group and rent out an entire sept place, but this will be expensive. If you are obviously a tourist, they will try to rip you off, so make sure to set a price before you agree to a driver. If you want to travel more comfortably, buy 2 seats. There are set prices to often-travelled locations. The price per seat from Dakar to Ziguinchor, for example, is CFA9,500.

Keep in mind that if you wish to drive your own car, there are few street signs (mostly speed limits) and almost all of them are disregarded. Many streets are considered one way, but are never marked as such, and there are almost no stop signs. Heavy traffic areas such as Dakar are best left to experienced drivers and the bold. To get around, one must be willing to dart into traffic, or else, stay stuck at an intersection for a while.

Recently, a new tollway was opened near Dakar that allows you to drive around Rufisque. Especially during peak hours, this is worth the CFA400 (for a regular car), as traffic jams in Rufisque can easily take up to 2 hours.

What to see in Senegal

With arid desert and lush rainforests, Senegal boasts a stunning array of sights, sounds and flavours.

  • Lac Rose owes its name to its pink colouring for swimming and is also the terminus of the Dakar rally.
  • Parc National du Niokolo-Noba is one of Senegal's major national parks and an international biosphere reserve.

Best things to do in Senegal


    at Karang just north of the border to Gambia Phone +221 776379455 | Opening Hours: open all year CFA10,000 Go on a 3-hour mini-safari in your own car or hire an off-road car at the reserve. You will see giraffes, rhinos, elands, antelopes, many birds

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Senegal

Money Matters & ATM's in Senegal

The currency of the country is the West African CFA franc, denoted CFA (ISO currency code: XOF). It's also used by seven other West African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the Central African CFA franc (XAF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.


Ecobank take Master Card and Visa card at their ATMs in Senegal. Outside major cities, ATMs are non-existent, and credit card transactions unheard of.


Tourist maps are available at the tourist offices.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

If you want to explore the country by (rented) car, you need one.


A yellow fever vaccine is required, together with the vaccination certificate, to enter Senegal. It is, however, not checked on a regular basis.

Mosquito repellents

Buy at least a mosquito net (preferably permethrin-impregnated) and a good repellent (preferably DEET-based). Permethrin can be washed into clothing and will remain in the garment for a month before the effectiveness of the product wears off and should be reapplied.

Halal Restaurants in Senegal

Ceebu jen Be careful with food prepared by the road, as it could be cooked in unsanitary conditions. Asian-style meals are available and can be found at restaurants in various parts of Dakar, Thies, Saint Louis and other towns and near the big hotels in the Petite Côte and in some other touristic regions of the country, too.

If you really want to try genuine Senegalese food, you can buy it at restaurants serving Senegalese dishes; or alternatively, you can make it yourself with the food gathered fresh from the markets or supermarkets.

The official dish of Senegal is ceebu jen (or thebou diene) -- rice and fish. It comes in two varieties (red and white -- named for the different sauces). The Senegalese love ceebu jen and will often ask if you've ever tried it, and it is definitely part of the experience. Even better if you get the chance to eat with your hands around the bowl with a Senegalese family! Keep your eyes out for the delicious, but elusive ceebu jen "diagga", which is served with extra sauce and fish balls. Other common dishes are maafe, which is a rich, oily peanut-based sauce with meat that is served over white rice. Yassa is a delicious onion sauce that is often served over rice and chicken, yassa poulet or with deep fried fish yassa jen.

If you intend to explore the arid area of Senegal (Saint-Louis & Ferlo), you need to drink several liters of water a day. Even in Dakar, dehydration is possible during warmer months if you do not drink enough water each day.

How to work legally in Senegal

There are many opportunities for people to make a difference in Senegal. Projects Abroad is a volunteer organisation based in St Louis with opportunities to help out teaching English, caring for underprivileged children, teaching sport or being a human rights advocate amongst other things. Volunteers get to stay with local host families, which is a huge honour.

Study as a Muslim in Senegal

Baobab tree

It might also be a good idea to learn some basic Wolof, since not everybody can speak French. In addition there are many other languages such as Toucouleur, Serere, peuls, etc. However, almost everyone can speak Wolof. Therefore knowing Wolof would be a big help.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Senegal

Although highly exaggerated, there is still fighting going on in the Casamance region of Senegal.

The "struggle" goes on between the government and the MFDC or Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance. It would be wise to avoid travel to this area. If this is not possible, at least first check with the embassy for the latest situation. To find out how much the situation has improved look at this IRIN News report: [1]

In Dakar, take care when walking the streets: petty theft and scams are abundant. You will be approached by aggressive street vendors who will follow you for several blocks. If refused, often accusations of 'racism" will be leveled at white non-local non-buyers. Also, pickpockets use the following two-person tactic: one (the distraction) will grab one of your legs while the other (the thief) goes into your pocket. If someone grabs your clothing, beware the person on the other side more. Wear pants/shorts with secure (buttons or snaps) pockets and leave your shirt untucked to cover your pockets.

Be cautious of people claiming to have met you before or offering to guide you. Oftentimes, you will be led to a remote location and robbed. Women need to be particularly alert as they are frequently targeted at beaches or markets.

Finally, there have been instances of street stall vendors grabbing cash out of non-local shoppers' hands and quickly stuffing the money into their own pocket. After the money is in their pocket, they claim it is theirs and the victim is not in a position to prove otherwise or protest effectively. Be careful with your cash: do not hold it in your hand while bargaining.

Be sure to carry some sort of identification on you. Police pull over vehicles and check for proper papers occasionally. If caught without your passport (a copy of a passport is recommended), the police may try to solicit a bribe from you; they may even go as far as to take you to the station. While most of the time, they are bluffing and one should not give into such corruption, some officials may be wicked enough to do so. Use this advice with caution. The simplest way to prevent this is just to carry identification.

Homosexuality is a big taboo in Senegal and punishable with 1 to 5 years imprisonment. more travellers should be extremely cautious. Do not tell anyone about your sexual orientation!

Medical Issues in Senegal

Get necessary vaccines before arrival. Officially, certification of yellow fever vaccine is required upon arrival if coming from a country in a yellow fever zone, but it is not commonly checked.

Take anti-malarials.

Avoid tap water and all dishes prepared with it. Bottled water, such as Kirene which is most common and bottled in Senegal, is widely available and inexpensive.

To prevent serious effects of dehydration, it is wise to carry around packets of rehydration salts to mix with water, should you become dehydrated. These are widely available at pharmacies and are inexpensive. Alternatively, a proper mix of table salt and sugar can replace these.

Local Customs in Senegal

The primary religion in Senegal is Islam, and most Senegalese are extremely devout Muslims. It's important to be respectful of this because religion is very important in Senegalese life. However, don't be afraid to ask questions about Islam -- for the most part, Senegalese people love to talk about it!

Greet everyone when entering a room with "Salaam Aleikum." Always shake hands with everyone. Do not enter mosques and other religious places wearing shoes.

Foreign women can expect to get many marriage proposals from Senegalese men. Handle this with a sense of humour - and caution.

As far as dress goes, be aware that anything shorter than knee length is inappropriate. Tank tops are generally accepted in larger towns, but should be avoided as much as possible.

Telecommunications in Senegal

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