If you are looking for a place to visit where Islam is the primary religion, then Senegal can be counted as one. The Senegalese have high respect to their religious practices, but they are not the type who keep everything so formal and not just mention about it. If you would like to know more about their religion, you can directly get information from the locals because it was known that these natives love to talk about it. This is a place where the Sun usually visits as there are seasons that could result to drought. Like any Muslim countries, they have this dress code of not wearing clothes above the knee as they usually regard this one as inappropriate attire.
Senegal – Interesting and Important Facts
- The vibrant capital is Dakar and has many colorful markets, good beaches and excellent music. Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal.
- Senegal is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city in the Old World and on the African mainland.
- The dominant religion is Islam with nearly 94% Muslims while Christians make up 5% of the population. On the whole, the Senegalese tend to be very superstitious.
- Senegal has a tropical climate and is generally hot and humid. The rainy season is from May to November with strong southeast winds and the dry season is from December to April and dominated by hot, dry, harmattan winds.
- The largest rivers include the Senegal in the north and the Casamance in the southern tropical climate region.
- Senegal is translated from the Wolof sunu gal to mean “our boat” because when the colonists came that’s what the people kept saying… Hey, that’s our boat. Only the colonists thought they were learning the name of the country.
- The Senegambia Stone Circles were added to the World Heritage List in 2006. Each circle comprises ten to twenty-four stones, some weighing in at almost ten tones.
- Shea butter is huge in Africa. Shea is prevalent in our corner of the continent and transforming it into a marketable lotion for export can be done relatively cheap.
- Industries include agricultural and fish processing, fertilizer production, phosphate mining and petroleum refining. Senegal exports fish, peanuts, petroleum products, phosphates and cotton.
- Lac Rose also known as the Pink Lake, this shallow, salty lake is one of Senegal’s most popular tourist destinations. On sunny days, the water appears bright pink, owing to the water’s high salt content.
- One of the most accessible ways to experience Senegal’s natural beauty is to visit the Fathala Reserve, part of the Parc Nationale du Delta du Saloum (Saloum Delta National Park). The park is known for its forest and wetlands, with hundreds of species of wildlife.
Senegal – Cool, Fun and Funny Facts
- Despite everything Senegal has to offer, you could easily schedule your entire trip taking in the sights and sounds of Dakar, the country’s capital, which has a population of more than 1.5 million. Open-air markets sell art, food, jewelry and many other items whose prices can often be bargained down to very reasonable levels.
- The night club in Mboro throws a party every month or so. This basically means the older grades of high school- and those who’ve just graduated- have an event that equates to a school dance.
- Saint Louis, a namesake of the American city, Saint Louis retains much of its colonial-era architecture. It offers excellent shopping and walking tours, as well as easy day trips to the Djoudj and Langue de la Barbarie national parks.
- Spread throughout central Senegal and Gambia, stone circles make up the largest group of megalithic complexes in the world, and they are protected World Heritage Sites. The stones weigh up to 10 tons apiece.
- Although the Delta offers easy access to the Petite Côte, its highlights are the gorgeous rivers and forest groves, which have many opportunities for hiking, bird watching and boat tours.
- Bassari Country, this remote area in eastern Senegal is worth the trip. It has good accommodations, especially in the city of Kédougou, and provides a rare opportunity to observe life in tiny, rural villages that adhere to traditional lifestyles. This region is best explored by means of hiking, and guides can be found in most of Kédougou’s hotels.
- St Louis — The former capital of French West Africa, Lots of interesting decaying French colonial architecture to admire, as well as good beaches and some excellent bird reserves close by.
- Sine-Saloum Delta — lies in the south of Senegal. It’s a large area of mangrove forests, lagoons, islands and rivers. A highlight for visitors to this region is taking a boat ride up the rivers to spot pelicans and flamingos and enjoy the lovely fishing villages along the way.
- Goree Island (Ile de Goree) — is a small island just off the coast of Dakar. Goree Island is a big tourist attraction because of its history as a major slave-trading center. You can see the “House of Slaves”, and several other interesting museums.
Senegal – Historical and Cultural Facts
- Senegal gained independence from France in 1960. The government is multiparty democratic republic
- The Republic of Senegal became independent in 1960 after three centuries of French colonial rule. Dakar, the capital since independence in 1960, lies on the Cap Vert peninsula, the most westerly point in Africa.
- In 1840, the French government declared Senegal a permanent French possession, abolished all forms of slavery, and granted full citizenship to those born in Senegal. This enabled the people of Senegal to elect and send a deputy to the National Assembly in Paris
- In 2007, Senegal signed agreements for major new mining concessions for iron, zircon, and gold with foreign companies.
- Senegal may not celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but her Catholics do celebrate Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in the same fashion. This makes explaining the crazy drunken partying that is St. Patty’s Day a whole lot easier when in a country of predominately non-drinking Muslims. The kids all paint their faces and dress up while the adults get drunk.
- Île de Gorée: An important stop on the slave transport route from the 16th to the mid-19th century, Goree Island is a short ferry ride (or pirogue trip) from Dakar.
- Senegal was also beset by an energy crisis that caused widespread blackouts in 2006 and 2007.
- The basic food is rice cooked with a spicy sauce and vegetables.
- In rural areas, parents often arrange marriages for their children. A young man may want a young woman, but his father decides whether she is suitable.
- Wrestling is the traditional and national sport of Senegal.
- The day starts with greetings. Young men often shake hands, and young women curtsy and often bend down slightly on one knee to greet their elders.