One people, one aim, one faith

Senegal is a country in Western Africa and part of the African sub-Sahara region. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north and east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. Gambia is almost completely enclosed within Senegal, extending from the Atlantic Ocean 300 kilometres inland. The islands of Capo Verde are located 560 kilometres out to sea, off the Senegalese coast.

The origin of the word Senegal is still a source of controversy. As early as 1850 Abbey David Boilat wrote in his Sketches of Senegal that it was in fact a deformation of the Wolof words suñu gaal, meaning “our pirogue”. As it is a very popular explanation, it is the one most frequently found in the media. However, since the 1960’s it has been questioned and several other etymologies have been suggested, including its being attributed to the toponym of a Saharan Berber tribe, the Zenaga. Even today the debate continues.

The climate tropical and dry, with two clear seasons : the rainy season from June to October, with a peak in August and September (variable depending on the latitude, with less rain in the north than in the south). This is the monsoon season. The dry season is from November to June, with its continental east winds. The temperatures follow the seasons : in summer, during the rainy season, the temperatures are at their hottest (up to 40°C) and are at their lowest in the winter (from 16 to 30°C).

During the colonial period, several trade posts were set up by various colonial empires along the coast. The town of Saint-Louis was established as the capital of French West Africa, followed, in 1902, by Dakar, which was to become the capital of the Republic of Senegal, when it gained its independence in 1960. Since 2000, the President of the republic has been Abdoulaye Wade, re-elected in 2007. An integrated member of the international community, Senegal is also part of the African Union and the Community of the Sahel-Sahara States.

The population is estimated at 12 521 851 inhabitants (census 2007). There is great ethnic diversity : Wolofs (43.3%), Peuls (23.8%), Sereres (14.7%), Diolas (3.7%), Malinke (3%), Soninke (1.1%) Manjaques (2%) and several other smaller and more local ethnic groups, and of course the Europeans and the Lebanese, also present, more particularly in urban areas.

The holy city of Touba

The religions : the Senegalese population is predominantly Muslim (88 to 94% depending on source), but the Christian community (predominantly Catholics) is also quite strong (4 to 12%) and Animism is common practice among some ethnic groups especially in the south-east of the country, often alongside the other religions. Senegal is well-known for its religious tolerance. It is not unheard of for members of a same family to belong to different religions. Mixed marriages are common place and Muslim and Christian feasts and holidays are celebrated and respected throughout the country.

The National Bank Holiday is the 4th April : Independence Day (The anniversary date of its independence from France in 1960).

Communication : the country code is : +221. You will find a cyber-café and a telephone/fax-centre in all the major towns in Senegal, but you will also find them in them in all the little villages, with a connection which may be a little slower, but will always enable you to keep in touch with the outside world.

Time difference : 0 GMT (one hour less than France in summer and two hours less in winter).

Currency : the CFA Franc ( 1 € = 650 F )

source : wikipedia

The Pink Lake, the Island of Gorée, the Islands of the Saloum, Joal-Fadiouth, the Bandia Nature Reserve … discover another Senegal with AFRIKA TOUKI Voyages, our own travel agency, with its own philosophy of responsibility and sustainability. In order to access our site and all the possible excursions, clic here


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