Information & Facts
Dakar is in a tropical climate situation, but the characteristic
heat and humidity are moderated in the city by cool breezes. The
rainy season, between June and November, brings heavy downpours
along with strong southeasterly winds. The dry season, from
December to May, is exacerbated by the hot, dry harmattan
Buses and minibuses operate on the main routes linking Dakar to
other principal cities and towns in Senegal. The most common form
of transportation is the
car rapide- colourfully painted vehicles that are often very
crowded and sometimes unsafe. Taxis are also available and it is
best to negotiate the fare before leaving. Car rental agencies
operate from Dakar, but rates are often very high.
The official language is French, but there are six other
national languages spoken, including Wolof, which is the most
widely used, as well as numerous other dialects.
The official currency is the West African CFA Franc (XOF), which
is divided into 100 centimes. The CFA franc is fixed to the Euro at
a rate of 1 Euro = 655.957 CFA francs, or 100 CFA francs = 0.152449
Euro, and only currency issued by the Bank of West African States (
Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest)is considered
valid. There are ATMs in Dakar, but banking facilities are limited
in the rest of the country. Credit cards are only accepted by major
establishments catering to the tourist trade, with American Express
being the most widely accepted; commission is charged. Travellers
cheques can be cashed in Dakar.
Shopping in Dakar is an attraction in and of itself. Visitors to
Senegal will be delighted by the colourful markets scattered
throughout the capital city. The city's markets are packed with
local handicrafts including paintings, masks and ceramic pots.
Senegal is particularly well known for batiks, glass jewellery and
handmade skirts. Visitors to Dakar should head downtown to Kermel
and the Sandaga markets. A short taxi trip from Dakar is the
Soumbedioune Village which sells an extensive range of arts and
crafts. Visitors should never accept the first price asked for by a
vendor, rather browse the market, look at all there is available
and then return and bargain hard.
A bustling city full of life, colour and commerce, Dakar is the
cultural, political and economic capital of Senegal. There is much
to see and do in Dakar for tourists, and a stop in Dakar is a must
for anyone on holiday in Senegal.
The most famous attraction in Dakar is the controversial African
Renaissance Monument, a massive sculpture meant to represent
Africa's emergence from slavery and colonialism. There is much
disagreement about the sentiment of the statue, which was made by
North Korea and not in Africa. Nevertheless, the statue is an
amazing site, as it is taller than the Statue of Liberty in New
There are some beautiful buildings worth seeing in Dakar as
well, including the 18th-century Maison des Esclaves, city's
cathedral and grand mosque. Another fascinating site is the ruined
colonial architecture on Goree Island, including the landmark House
of Slaves Museum.
Another great way to enjoy an afternoon in Dakar is by browsing
the busy markets or having a picnic in one of the beautiful parks.
Hann Park and Zoo is a great place to take kids in Dakar. Lake
Retba is also an interesting sight, as you can watch the
traditional salt harvesters at work.
Local time is GMT.