Located on the most western point of Africa, Senegal is one of the most popular tourist destination in Africa. While most college students in the U.S. choose to study abroad in Paris or London, I chose to spend several months living in the bustling city of Dakar. Throughout my stay I was consistently taken aback by the richness and complexity of Senegalese culture. Here are some of the best things I’ve discovered about living in this unique West African nation.
Teranga-the Wolof word for hospitality- is a hallmark of Senegalese culture. But Teranga is much more than just hospitality; it is an intrinsic set of values and morals that hold true for every situation. Most aspects of Senegalese culture center around Teranga; whether it be eating Ceebu Jen around the bowl or greeting your neighbors with Salaam-alaikum, Teranga is everywhere.
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If there was one food that could describe Senegal, it would be Ceebu Jen. This national dish shows off Senegal’s finest seafood in a delicious stew of rice and fish. The best part about Ceebu Jen is that it is shared and eaten communally around a large bowl, so nobody gets to miss out on this delicacy.
There aren’t very many places where I’ve experienced waters as warm as the ones I’ve seen in Senegal. Not to mention, Senegal is known for its authentic and fresh seafood. Some of the best seafood restaurants I ate at during my stay were located on the beach.
Senegal is home to a wide array of culture and art centers. Goree Island is a popular tourist destination and is known for its role during the 15th and 19th century Atlantic slave trade. Dakar is also home to the Renaissance Monument- although the statue has garnered controversy over the large amount of funds that were used to build it.
It may be extremely humid at all times, but for the most part, Senegalese weather consists of sunshine and tropical temperatures year-round. And the best part about it is that you can access the country’s stunning beaches all year long.
What is your favorite thing about Senegal? Comment below!