Find out more about the culture that awaits you.
Senegal is the most western country in Africa. Its democracy causes moderate political stability in the region. The economy has big potential to grow, but corruption hinders sustainable development. A big share of the younger generation wants to leave the country in order to migrate to Europe or the USA. More than 60 per cent of the population is still working in agriculture. Some sectors like insurance, online-trading, manufacturing industry and tourism are growing. The country makes big efforts to liberate markets and increase foreign investments. We want to foster this trend by creating job opportunities in the hospitality sector.
Nine out of ten Senegalese are Sunni Muslims, who pay respect to local religious leaders. Terrorism is not a problem because the Senegalese Islam prohibits violence and promotes hospitality. Extremist tensions are not welcome in a culture, where cooperation between different religions is highly valued.
French is the official language, but people on the streets usually speak Wolof. The name of our neighbourhood “Ngor” translates to: honesty / sincerity. “Niokobokk” translates to: you’re welcome! / We share everything.
In Senegal you can survive by speaking French. However, if you want to connect on a deeper level with the Senegalese, you should try to speak Wolof. Wolof is the language of the Wolof people and is spoken by almost any other tribe in Senegal.
|Salamualekum||Hello (peace be upon you)|
|Malekum Salam||Hello (…peace be upon you too)|
|Nanga deff?||How are you doing?|
|Mangi fi||I am well|
|No tudu ?||What is your name?|
|…laa tudu||My name is…|
|Dama begg…||I would like…|
|Neex na||It’s nice|
Clothing and cultural tips
Try to respect the Senegalese clothing culture by wearing some towel, when you are going to the beach. Culturally it is important for women to cover their legs. Bring clothes for hot temperatures and sweaty days. If you want to avoid being stung by mosquitoes try to wear long trousers. Short trousers and T-shirts are however also accepted.
Greeting is very important in Senegal. Say “Salamualekum” or “Bonjour” to people who look at you. They will appreciate it. Greet with your right hand, because the left hand is considered dirty. You should also use your right hand when handing over money.
Dakar is not a criminal place, but some things have to be considered. You should not hold your phone next to open windows, when you are sitting in a taxi. Some people steal through windows, when cars are slow. After sunset women should not walk alone in the streets.
Senegalese people are not complicated. They will react kindly to your gestures and will appreciate every bit of Wolof you try. Senegalese like to invite strangers to eat with them. Senegal is at best, when you try to dive into its culture of happiness and hospitality.