Senegal - Profile
- The best known and most visited country by cruising sailors in West Africa, Senegal was once the centre of French West Africa and Dakar one of the most sophisticated African cities. The French influence is still noticeable and the mixture of the two cultures has produced some interesting results in music, painting and even cuisine.
- Senegal is French speaking and frequently visited by French speaking sailors.
- The country is mostly flat except for some mountains in the far south-east and east. Several rivers, some of which are navigable for some distance inland, flow into the sea. These rivers and the offlying islands are Senegal's main cruising attraction, which brings a few cruising yachts to this part of the world every year.
- The most interesting area is the Casamance, a labyrinth of creeks and islets south of the river Gambia, which is populated by millions of migratory birds during the dry season.
- See this interesting report (2014) by a cruising family who spent three weeks exploring the Casamance and its tributarie.
It is advisable to consult a website such as the UK FCO before visiting here.
The Casamance region of south-western Senegal (between the southern border of Gambia and the northern border of Guinea-Bissau) remains affected by incidents involving armed separatist groups and banditry, particularly in the regions of Bignona and Sindian.
Pick pocketing and street crime (including in taxis), occasionally involving violence, are common in parts of Dakar, particularly around Place de l'Independence, the central area of the Plateau, the Western Corniche, and the airport. You should take sensible precautions, avoid walking alone in the late afternoon and after dark and avoid carrying valuables in public.
Cruisers taking the normal precautions (nothing of value in sight, only small amounts of money in the pocket, establishing contact with locals and shops near the anchorage, buying from locals etc.) report feeling very safe here, both at anchor and on land.
Last updated November 2015.
The climate is tropical with a rainy season between July and September. The winter months, from November to March, have more pleasant weather. The prevailing winds are northerly, although occasionally from December to May a dust laden harmattan blows from across the desert. Drought is sometimes a problem north of the Gambia river.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.