Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country, with the northern half of the country being more conservative than the south. The terrain of the north is also very different than the south, consisting of mostly dry dessert heat, where as the south can be lush and humid. To be sure you're prepared for your visit to the west coast, here's our tips on what to pack!
I had the pleasure of living in Senegal, West Africa for a little over two years with the Peace Corps. It was there that I began appreciating the vibrant local patterns and colors of a new culture.
1. Cover Up:
Being more conservative, it’s best to pack lightweight clothing that will cover your shoulders and knees. Most male locals where traditional Middle Eastern garb, such as linen pants and a long tunic to their knees. This isn’t necessarily required if you’re a visitor, but locals do appreciate a little bit of modesty. For men, try packing loose linen pants and a button down short sleeve shirt or a neutral cotton v-neck and sandals.
For us women, maxi skirts or linen pants are the way to go! They’re comfortable, lightweight, and you’ll fit right in with the locals. You typically won't see women wearing pants, but for tourists there's exceptions. If you’re in the south, tank tops are okay, however in the north, a capped sleeve or a cute casual t-shirt is best. Another option to cover your shoulders if with a lightweight wrap shaw.
2. Seasonal Attire:
Although West Africa is inherently hot as hell, the “winter” seasons can get surprisingly chilly. Definitely bring a lightweight sweater for the nighttime in December. Otherwise, it’s important to be aware of Senegal’s rainy season from June to September. Rainy season means mosquitos. Lots and lots of them. Pack protective clothing thats light but will cover your skin. We also suggest packing quick drying material and waterproof shoes.
3. Embrace the Culture:
If you’re really open to it, it’s fun to go to the local market and purchase rolls of local “wax” fabric to take to a tailor and create your own look! If you’re traveling to Senegal or anywhere in West Africa, color is very much appreciated and embraced. Feel free to pack all your bright cotton colors and tropical patterns!