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What To Pack Before Going To Senegal

Every trip requires you to pack according to the destination you’re traveling to and a trip to Senegal is no different. Visiting “The Land of Terranga” can be exhilarating and we’ll tell you exactly what to bring to make sure you’re trip is the best that it can be.

RELATED: 15 Facts You Might Not Know About Senegal

Things To Remember Before Packing Clothes

How To Be Accountable At The Airport 

Although what you wear is important, all of your plans can be ruined if you don’t have the right travel documentation. If you are arriving via air travel, you will most likely land in Dakar’s Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS). Once you arrive and approach the customs desk, it is expected that you have a paper version of your flight itinerary, confirmed hotel/Airbnb accommodations (address included), your government-issued passport, and vaccine booklet. It is hard to communicate with the officers if you do not understand Wolof and/or French, so just lay the documents across their desk and they’ll review them. When you get your passport stamp, claim your bags at the carousel and head over to the front of the airport for transportation.  

As a friendly reminder, government employees cannot impede your progress through customs, so don’t feel obligated to pay a bribe if they ask for one.

Weather and Customs   

In Senegal, there are two things you should consider when packing; the time of season you arrive and the areas you’ll be staying in. There are only two weather seasons (dry and wet seasons), and the dry season is the longest and typically runs between the months of November and April. Wet (or monsoon) season runs from May to October. For those who enjoy moderate weather and expect no drastic changes in temperature, consider visiting during the dry season, ideally December. Do not pack clothing that is out-of-season and check your weather app for regular updates. 

The second consideration you need to make when packing is the religious climate of the country. 94% of those residing in the country are Muslim, so it may be wise to wear clothing that your mother would approve. Despite this, women (and men) still wear shorts that reach below the kneecap and you can wear short-sleeve clothing. For bathing attire, it is common for men to swim shirtless with swim trunks, and for women, a modest two-piece is fine for private water excursions.

dakar senegal

Your Go-To Packing List 

Depending on where you go, your packing list may vary. It is best to pack with a different mindset if you are traveling to Dakar versus more remote areas like the Saloum Delta. In addition, it is worth noting that the type of clothing worn is more conservative as you drift away from major cities like Dakar, so make sure you adhere to the unspoken expectations of how to display yourself. 

This list is versatile and can be applied to the parts of Senegal worth visiting. Make sure to be aware of how many articles of clothing you bring depending on your trip duration. 

Clothing Articles 

  • Comfortable shoes with socks (use only in Dakar)
  • Sandals (can be worn anywhere) 
  • Shower sandals (you can buy a pair in Dakar from 2,000-10,000 CFA)
  • Long pants (wear lighter color pants if possible) 
  • Skirts (as long as they reach below the kneecap) 
  • Shorts (see the previous point made)
  • Undergarments
  • Tank tops (if it is hot at night) 
  • Tank tops for women (as long as you have something covering the exposed areas)
  • T-shirts (as long as there is no obscenity on the t-shirt)
  • Long sleeves (when it is dry season and at night)
  • A light jacket 
  • Hat 

Non-Clothing Articles

  • Bug repellent (you can buy bug repellent for 1,500 CFA at Auchan) 
  • Sunblock 
  • Your malaria medication 
  • A copy of your passport hidden in your carry-on
  • Toiletries 
  • Extra pair of glasses (finding contact lens solution may be hard to find)
  • Money belt (if you are not comfortable with that, leave your pant pockets empty so your valuables are hidden from plain sight) 
  • Hair ties 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Cash (have around 7,000 CFA on hand whenever you can) 
  • Plug adapters (Senegal uses the C-plug aka the kind used in Europe)

While there is no perfect packing list for your adventure, this is the list that I have found success with. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to explore.   

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