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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Dakar

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Dakar each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

Twelfth day of the third month of the Islamic calendar (date changes each year): Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet, national holiday)

This festival celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi'al-Awwal commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and is one of the most important days on the Islamic (or Hegira) calendar. Senegalese Muslims use this opportunity to recall the values advocated by the Prophet. It is also a day when families gather to share a traditional meal in a festive atmosphere.

March 8: International Women's Day (celebrated nationwide)

Many events are organized on this day in Dakar and across Senegal by women's associations: conferences, exhibitions, village shows, etc.

April 4 : Independence Day (national holiday)

Senegal's independence on this day in 1960 is celebrated with official ceremonies, street parades including school children as well as the military and policemen, pageants and a number of athletic events, such as canoe races on the Senegal River.

May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday)

Ninth month of the Islamic calendar (dates change each year : Ramadan (celebrated nationwide)

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is an especially pious time in Senegal, a country with a majority Muslim population. Fasting begins each day at sunrise and ends at sunset. For the entire month, Dakar operates at a slower pace during the day and stirs into action at nightfall.

First two days of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar (dates change each year): Korité (Eid al-Fitr, national holiday)

This two-day festival marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims in Dakar take this opportunity to visit with family members living outside the capital.

August 23 : Infantrymen's Day (celebrated nationwide)

This day commemorates the Tirailleurs Sénégalais, the Seneglase soldiers who fought on behalf of the French from 1857 through the first half of the 20th century, including extensive service in World War I. Highlights include official ceremonies, a review of the troops, and a sound and light show at Iba Mar Diop stadium.

Tenth day of the last month of the Islamic calendar (date changes each year): Tabaski (Eid al-Kabir/Eid al-Adha, national holiday)

This festival celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu'l-Hijja honours Ibrahim's proof of his obedience to Allah. Allah asked him to sacrifice his son Ismael, but just as Ibrahim was about to make the sacrifice, Allah told him to offer a ram instead. Traditionally, to remember Ibrahim's offering, each family sacrifices a sheep on Tabaski morning and the remainder of the day is spent in prayer and celebration, feasting on the roast mutton and sharing the meat with others.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Dakar

Senegal lies on the border between equatorial and desert regions of Africa, but Dakar enjoys a coastal microclimate, influenced by ocean breezes and the monsoon. The hot and wet season, which extends from June to October, sees the greatest rainfall in August. In contrast, it rarely ever rains in the dry season, which runs from November to May.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 18/64 25/77 2/0.08 Not the best period to go
February 18/64 25/77 1/0.04 Good period to go Good period to go
March 18/64 25/77 0/0.00 Good period to go Good period to go
April 19/66 25/77 0/0.00 Good period to go Good period to go
May 21/70 26/79 0/0.00 Good period to go Good period to go
June 24/75 28/82 8/0.31 Good period to go Good period to go
July 25/77 30/86 35/1.38 Not the best period to go
August 26/79 30/86 117/4.61 Not the best period to go
September 25/77 31/88 86/3.39 Not the best period to go
October 25/77 31/88 19/0.75 Not the best period to go
November 23/73 30/86 0/0.00 Not the best period to go
December 21/70 27/81 3/0.12 Not the best period to go
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Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport

Dakar's Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport is located about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the city centre

  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Dakar and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the N1.
    • A free parking lot is available on the Yoff road, about 200 metres from the airport entrance and a second paid parking lot is located opposite the terminal (XOF 500 per hour, with lower rates from 3 hours, XOF 5,700 per day).
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport.
  • By bus
    • Bus 8, operated by Dakar Dem Dikk, connects the airport to several destinations in central Dakar, with departures every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fares range from XOF 150 to XOF 175, depending on the destination.
  • By taxi
    • Official yellow-and-black taxis are available at the ranks outside the terminal. As they are all unmetered, be sure to negotiate the fare with the driver beforehand. Refer to the list of authorized fares posted inside the airport: about XOF 5,000 for a trip to central Dakar.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +221 338 69 50 50
  • Website: http://www.aeroport-dakar.com

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GETTING AROUND Dakar

Getting around Dakar is relatively easy. Various modes of transport are available in the Senegalese capital, covering the entire metropolitan area.

By minibus

With a capacity of about 20 people, these vehicles are ubiquitous in Dakar. Minibuses are certainly not the fastest way to get around, but they are inexpensive and make regular stops, which can be very useful. Expect to pay about XOF 75 for a short trip and XOF 150 for a longer one.

By taxi

Even the official yellow-and-black taxis are not metered , so be sure to negotiate the fare beforehand. However, fares are officially regulated, and trips within the city centre should not cost more than XOF 2,500.

By car

Renting a car is an interesting option for getting around Dakar. However, rental fees are expensive.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Dakar, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Dakar Tourist Office

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: 23, rue du Dr. Calmette – Dakar
  • Telephone: +221 33 822 73 66

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Senegal is the CFA franc BCEAO (XOF).

1 € = 656 XOF

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Senegal. At the border or the airport, Senegalese health authorities may demand that travellers, and even those arriving from European countries, present an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), also known as a “Yellow Card”.

Whether or not such proof is demanded upon arrival, the following vaccines are recommended for travel to Senegal::

  • yellow fever
  • meningitis
  • polio

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is usually safe to drink in Dakar. Nevertheless, water quality issues may arise on occasion. Drinking only bottled water provided in sealed, tamper-proof containers is therefore recommended.

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Administrative formalities

Visas are not required for travel to Senegal by citizens or nationals of the following African countries, provided they have a passport valid for at least 90 days following their departure date: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia.

For further information, visit the DPETV’s website (in French only):
http://www.servicepublic.gouv.sn/index.php/demarche_administrative/services/2/20

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Essential phrases

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Good to know

00 221
+ phone number (calls from Dakar)
-1 : 00
of time difference with
Hamburg

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Dakar, it is customary to leave a tip at the city's restaurants. A good rule of thumb is about 10 percent of the bill if you are satisfied with the service.