Helpful Food Delivery App: Jumia Food


Jumia Food is a phone app/website, similar to Grubhub or Doordash that allows you to order food from restaurants through them that will deliver directly to your house. It can be downloaded in the Play Store on Androids or the App Store on iPhones. You can also log in to your account on their website:

Most of the delivery men are not fluent in French, and most of them tend to speak in Wolof. In this case, many Americans give their phones to the Embassy guards to speak to the driver and give them directions to the house.

Packing for Dakar – 2018

Packing for Dakar – 2018

Congratulations on your assignment to Dakar, Senegal!

Please use the following checklist as a guideline for your packing and shopping preparations as you embark on your adventure. Dakar has grown in size and diversity over the past several years and provides most everything you may need. New hotels, shops, and restaurants are opening every day – your choices in Dakar for goods and services are on the rise!

Please feel to contact the CLO Office in Dakar should you have any questions whatsoever – We are looking forward to meeting you!

Air Freight:

Pack an adequate supply of non-breakable cooking utensils, small kitchen appliances, tableware, basic linens, pillows, hangers, an iron (220v, if possible), and a battery-operated or wind-up clock.  Families with children should bring toys and books. Be sure to pack everything that you will need for the first 2 to 3 months.

Clothing – Women:

Lightweight, durable cotton clothing is best for the hot season, from June through November.  Bring cotton or linen dresses, skirts, short – sleeved or sleeveless blouses, T-shirts, lightweight slacks, jeans, shorts (for home, pool, sports), lots of underwear (100% cotton recommended), bathing suits, hats, visors, sportswear, comfortable low-heeled shoes, slip-ons, sandals, and athletic shoes.

For the cool season (and air-conditioned offices), you’ll need scarves,  long-sleeved blouses and dresses, lightweight sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets, and a small selection of heavy clothing for travel to the U.S. or Europe in winter. Pantyhose are rarely worn here and are not available locally, so bring a supply if you can’t do without them! The cool season is the only time you will be comfortable in synthetic fabrics or lightweight wools. Bring a formal or cocktail dress for the Marine Ball, held in early November.  You can also choose to have one made locally; there are some amazing fabrics here!

Clothing – Men:

Lightweight, durable, cotton clothing is best for the hot season (June – November). If you normally wear suits or sports jackets to work, look for lightweight materials. For casual wear, bring slacks, jeans, shorts, short – sleeved shirts and T-shirts, lots of 100% cotton underwear, lightweight sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets, sportswear (including hats), bathing suits, sandals, tennis shoes, softball shoes (if you have them, bring them; we have an active softball league), and a small selection of heavy clothing for winter travel to the U.S. or Europe.

Clothing – Children:

Again, lightweight, durable, cotton clothing for the hot season.  School-aged children will need sports clothes for gym days, and bathing suits.  It is very difficult to find sport accessories (e.g. goggles and shoes) in Dakar.  During the winter, longer pants and/or sleeves and a light jacket are useful, especially in the mornings and evenings.  Kids’ swimwear also tends to wear out very quickly, so it’s good to have a couple in rotation, and then have the next size up on-hand, too, just in case.  Swimming season can go year-round for the more hardy kids (embassy pool is now heated, so even the more faint of heart can brave a swim in the cooler months), and finding swim wear online during what would traditionally be considered ‘winter months’ can be challenging.

 What to bring?

It is very easy to find everything you need (or a very good substitute) for your pantry in Dakar. Some notable exceptions: Sour Cream is replaced by crème fraiche, local peanut butter is very different than what you might be used to in the U.S., and cereal is very expensive. We highly recommend setting up an account at an online grocer, such as NetGrocer or Amazon and shipping the things you love instead of worrying about expiration dates during packout.  Just note that aerosols cannot be shipped through DPO (and likely not in your shipments, either) due to shipping regulations.  Shelf-stable items are always good to have on hand but there is a large selection in Dakar and online. Fresh fruits, vegetables and canned goods are found all year long and are very good.

Bringing a selection of toys and gifts to have on-hand for the numerous birthday parties you (and your children) will be invited to is a good idea.  Toys and wrapping supplies are available locally, but they are very expensive.  A Gift closet is a sanity saver and no child will care that you bought the lego kit you are gifting them months earlier.


Most items are available locally, though brands and quality may be unfamiliar. It is best to bring as many bulk paper items as possible in your shipments. Bring kitchen appliances and utensils you normally use. The Embassy only supplies about 3 transformers per household, though you can request one or two more; if they have them on-hand they will bring them. Bring enough of your own to operate your 110v appliances.  You can buy 220-volt appliances often cheaper in the States than here.

Per the recently updated 6 FAH-5 H-513.2-2  Standard and Supplemental FAP Items, Washington will no longer allow posts to issue certain items now deemed to be the personal responsibility of the occupant.  This means employees are now responsible for bringing or purchasing their own vacuum cleaners and garden and yard equipment (hose, sprinkler, trimmers, etc.).

Once You Arrive In Dakar:

Due to the amount of time it takes to receive your shipment, you will want to consider mailing a few boxes of dry and any other special items which will make your first days more comfortable prior to your departure.  Ask your social sponsor if you can mail it to them and if they could get it to your home.  It really helps for making the transition. Definitely bring or mail any items you will need for kids, especially if they will be celebrating a birthday soon after arriving at post.  Consider sending pet food and supplies ahead, too, as this will ease their transition to their new home.  Your shipment can take up to two months to arrive and you will want to be prepared.

Save Money! In general, nearly everything can be found in Dakar but usually at a price.  Therefore, if you’re below your weight allowance on your shipments, you’ll save money by sending anything that you use in large quantities or any specialty foods and liquid cleaners you like and use often (remember: food, liquid or glass items are not allowed through the pouch; many items can be sent via DPO, but not everything) . Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised by the fact that certain items and services are quite inexpensive when compared to prices in the United States. For example, labor, framing, tailors and jewelry amongst others. Shop around – you may be surprised by what you find here in Dakar!!

On top of your regular list, may we suggest?

Plastic containers (various sizes) with tight fitting lids to control pest!

Kitchen trashcan (you can get bags here)

An oven thermometer

Ice cream maker/bread maker

Drawer organizers

Shelf paper for cupboards

Paper towels (very different quality here but ships easily)

Toilet paper (same as above)

Paper plates with US themes

Steel wool pads

Dust mops and sponge mops (with lots of extra sponges)

2 or 3 heavy – duty brooms


Laundry basket

Wastebaskets for bedrooms and bathrooms

Plastic countertop dish dryer (no dishwashing machine)

Extra cookie sheets and serving platters

Pressure or slow cooker (comes in handy for those tough meats, 220v is best)

Aluminum foil

Ziplock bags

Oven bags

Plastic wrap

Wax paper

Laundry detergent – the local stuff is VERY expensive

Fabric softener – sheets and liquid

All your bath needs:


Soap (Excellent French soap is available here)

Hair items




Lotion/ cold cream

Dental floss, toothpaste, toothbrush

Feminine Hygiene Products – very expensive here and limited

Make up, nail polish, nail polish remover (Note: you cannot ship nail polish or remover through the mail, and most packing companies will not pack it)

If you wear contact lenses, ship a supply of rinsing/storing solution as it is not available here and is difficult to ship in the pouch

Laundry washing bag for delicate clothes

Shower curtains and hooks – for the number of bathrooms plus extras (note: a lot of the bathrooms have extremely tall rods for shower curtains; you might need a special size)

Clothes hangers

Towels, washcloths, bath mats, tub mats, beach towels

Bed linens (queen and twin sheets)

Lightweight blankets


Bed pillows

Cedar blocks for storing winter clothes

Small sewing kit

Sanitizing wipes

Pet Supplies:

Pet food and supplies can be ordered from on-line grocery sites, or you may consider including some in your consumables.  Just remember that most houses have ant and/or mouse issues at one time or another so food storage may become an issue.  It works well to set up a regular supply/shipment through pet websites’ subscription services.

Flea and tick shampoos

Heart Guard Heartworm medication and Frontline -helps to prevent the dogs from getting Mango worms (shots are available from the local vets)


Liquid pet stain remover

Medical items: Be mindful of expiration dates.  You can generally restock through online sites.  You can find French alternatives for many of these.

Cold medicine

Flu meds

Headache meds

Fever meds

Diarrhea meds

Pepto Bismol

Toothache meds

Rubbing alcohol



Bug bite meds

Allergy meds

Sun block – you will use this daily

Mosquito spray, cream – daily use

Put together a small med kit for the car and for the house


Band-Aids and compression wrap bandages in a few widths

Antibiotic ointment and other medicated creams


Any kids’ medicine

Office Items:

Envelopes – letter, legal, brown for mailing photos and videos home

Stamps – not available, get some larger denominations $5, $1, as well as your regular postage (note: you can use for postage for packages and buying more stamps)



Birthday and other candles

Gift-wrap and ribbon

School supplies (get list ahead of time on school website; French schools and ISD 9-12th grades are require to bring supplies)

Pencil sharpener


Magic markers

Glue, construction paper

Cards – any you will want to mail home for special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, etc.

Tape (packing and scotch)

Special printer paper and labels

Printer ink cartridges

Camera – video and regular.

Digital photo paper

Smartstick or other portable data storage device

Batteries for digital items (like watch batteries)

Personal Entertainment:

DVD/Blu-Ray – A must – not much on regular TV and it is expensive. But bring a multi-system so you can watch PAL and SECAM dvds, too

Musical instruments (we do have a piano tuner in Dakar); Music books and musical instrument accessories (strings)

Paperback books, magazines (keep subscriptions current)

Extra fuses for appliances that use them

Voltage regulators for sensitive electronic equipment (dual voltage models for 90 – 150v and 210 – 270v are best)

Radio and/or short wave radio (It is possible to pick up the BBC World Service as well as a wide range of stations if you have a short-wave radio

Plug adapters

Note: The RTS (RadioDiffusion Television du Senegal is the national radio and TV network. Radio broadcasts take place in Wolof, Diola and Pulaar but French is the official and the most-used language. Satellite TV is available in English from DSTV South Africa. Also, there is French Canal Horizon and TV5.

Other things:

Holiday decorations – Fake Christmas tree is recommended

Wrapping paper

Small hostess gifts – boxed cards, candles, smelly stuff

Board games, cards (for adults!)

All your sports equipment for softball, running, fishing, swimming, croquet, badminton, horseback riding, basketball, frisbee, bicycling, scuba diving, golf, basketball, yoga, pool and beach, scuba, tennis

Sewing equipment: The markets are full of beautiful material

Extra bobbins

Sewing machine needles

Machine oil and a spare belt for your sewing machine

Variety of thread, trims, buttons, seam binding, elastic, zippers, etc. Sewing notions are available but expensive

Cooler – small and large.  Especially helpful if it has wheels!

BBQ Grill – if you have a gas grill, you can use it here. You will have to have an adapter made for the tanks here, but that is easy.

Battery-operated alarm clocks

Swiffer sweeper and replacement sheets (your housekeeper will likely not use these, but good for quick clean-ups when on the weekends and vacations days)

Area rugs

Couch covers – some of the fabrics on the issued furniture may not be to your liking and may not match each other. They can also be ordered online once you arrive or made locally.

Candles – very expensive here


Electric drill, power tools, any hardware (tools, nails, hooks)

Concrete nails if you are the sort that likes to hang their own pictures and wall-hangings.


Kids’ party supplies and decorations, goody bag items

A small inflatable or plastic pool for the yard

Baby food – runs about $1.50 a small jar

Baby thermometer

Diaper cream

Prepared baby food (also available locally, but expensive)

Plastic bottles, nipples, bottle sterilizers

Formula (if you want to use American brand; French brands are available and inexpensive)

Toilet seat or potty



Car seat

Sturdy stroller

Mosquito nets for crib and playpen. (Mosquito nets can be ordered locally from Ameublement Gandour, 59, Avenue General Pompidou, telephone number 822-1438)

Waterproof pads

Crib and crib linens

Pajamas for air‑conditioned bedrooms or cool nights

Training pants

Diaper wipes

If you plan to use disposable diapers, be aware that they are very expensive locally

Any special washing aids

Bring 5 – 6 dozen cloth diapers if you plan to use them

While some baby clothes and supplies are available locally (at high prices) it is best to pack adequate supplies of everything that you will need!  Often families restock through end-of-season sales from on-line retailers, too.

Crayons, non – toxic paints, other arts and crafts supplies

Games, toys and other amusements

Clothing needs:

Sneakers, play shoes, sandals, cotton socks, flip flops, pool shoes, slippers

lots of underwear

Shorts, jeans, T‑shirts

Lightweight sweaters or jackets, windbreaker


Some dressier clothes

At least 2‑3 bathing suits


Pajamas suitable for air-conditioned bedrooms or cool nights,

Small selection of heavy clothing for colder-weather travel to the U.S. or Europe.

Halloween costumes (remember that Halloween here occurs during the hottest month, so costumes should be as light as possible)

Books (reading and coloring)

Inexpensive gifts to give friends at Christmas and birthdays (at least 10 or 15 for small children)

Lunchbox, water bottles and non-breakable thermos

Consider bringing:

Tricycle or bike

Sleeping bag

Beach toys and sports equipment

Air mattress

Toys, float, swim rings for the pool

Big play equipment like swing sets, slides, playhouses, sandboxes or inflatable swimming pools – the things you can’t mail order.  Wait until you have your housing assignment, though, before purchasing large items for your yard, as there might be limited yard space.


Lawn umbrella or garden sunshade

Mosquito coils and citronella candles

Folding sports/lawn chairs

Gardening tools – the Embassy does not provide yard tools. You can find some tools locally, but they are expensive and not of good quality.  Bring small garden tools and seeds. You will want to consider growing some of your own veggies/fruits due to drought and we do not always have things available at the market

Watering hose

Seed starting trays

Look into bringing a supply of auto parts, such as oil and air filters, belts, shocks – they are very expensive and could save you bundle!

Sunshade for car

Good jumper cables for car

Any camping gear (tents, lanterns, etc)

Remember:   You can buy most items here, but the costs are often much higher due to import costs.

Happy packing!!

FAQ’s for Dakar 2018

FAQ’s for Dakar 2018

Frequently Asked Questions DAKAR 2018

Things to bring in HHE

All of the post reports suggest shipping liquids, liquids, and more liquids.  What high volume liquids do you recommend we put in our sea shipment (cooking oils, bleach, etc.)?

Bleach is available here! Do not ship! What you need in quantities in your HHE is your favorite shampoos (probably not available here), ketchup (Heinz is available but more expensive; local ketchup is more like tomato sauce), yellow mustard, pickle relish, pancake or maple syrup, peanut butter, etc.  If you prefer a particular brand, bring it, especially if it is in a glass jar or bottle. Oil is 4,000 cfa/$3 a liter (equivalent to a quart) at minimum for Senegalese brand. Olive oil is about 5,300 cfa ($9.50) a liter. Check the shelf date before you ship too much.  You can typically find nonstick sprays at the American Foods Store. Which is especially good to know, as your packers will not pack aerosols.  You can find most things here in the supermarkets or from online grocers; the problem you run into with online grocers is the liquid/packaging issue with pouch and having to factor in the shipping time.  DPO has more flexibility for what can be shipped, but you still have the shipping time.  Locally available cleaning supplies are acceptable, but if you have a brand you love, bring some with you.

Per the recently updated 6 FAH-5 H-513.2-2  Standard and Supplemental FAP Items, Washington will no longer allow posts to issue certain items now deemed to be the personal responsibility of the occupant.  This means employees are now responsible for bringing or purchasing their own vacuum cleaners and garden and yard equipment (hose, sprinkler, trimmers, etc.)

What would you recommend we pre-ship to ourselves (toilet paper, paper towels, linens, pet food, etc?)

It is becoming easier and easier to find American brands in Dakar.  The supply is not consistent, but with patience, it can be found.  That said; if there is an item/brand that you cannot live without, bring it.  Most items you can find a similar version but it may be more expensive.  It’s a good idea to pre-ship pet foods and (especially) litter and/or litter box.  Your kitty will thank you for it.  You can get pet supplies locally but they will not be the sort your pet (nor their tummy) is familiar with.


What restrictions are on DPO mail?

Please consider restrictions to USPS mail.  No alcohol, items used to make or brew alcohol, firearms, explosives, pork products or other dangerous items may be shipped. If you have specific questions on what may be shipped to Dakar’s DPO, contact CLO, the Mailroom, or visit the following website:

Can you ship tobacco products into the country?

Via the DPO, yes. Check  for pouch regulations.


What kind of car should I bring to post?

High clearance is a good suggestion, but not a requirement.  If you wish to visit outside Dakar on a regular basis, a 4×4 might be a good investment.  In Dakar, majority of the main roads are paved, but many residential roads are not, so having a vehicle with higher clearance is hulpful.

Can I ship my vehicle to Dakar which is older than 5 years and can I sell the car at the end of the tour?

The government of Senegal does not permit importation of POVs which are more than eight years old. However, a diplomat may import a car over eight years old provided the vehicle is shipped to the next post, back to the US when current tour is completed, or sold to another diplomat.  The process for selling a vehicle at post must be initiated six months prior to departure (see below for more details).  Vehicles with original tinted windows are allowed.

Mission personnel are permitted up to two duty-free vehicles (depending upon the number of drivers), which can be either purchased at or shipped to post. ‘Vehicles’ includes cars and motorcycles.  Anything above two of the above, the Government of Senegal will assess full customs and duties charges.  However, mission personnel must pay the shipping costs and related customs clearance fees for the second vehicle.  The Government of Senegal considers a motorcycle or a boat engine as a mode of transportation.  These are required to be registered and are counted the same as a POV.

In Dakar, it is possible to purchase both new and used vehicles. Used vehicles are often available from mission personnel and those in the extended expatriate community as they leave the country. The prices of these vehicles are often somewhat higher than similar vehicles sold in the U.S.

Mission personnel must register their vehicles with the Senegalese Government and pay a one-time fee of approximately $20.00 for the license plate. Diplomatic personnel with two cars will receive green diplomatic plates for both cars. A local driver’s license is not required when you have a valid U.S. driver’s license. Local automobile liability insurance is required in Senegal. GSO motor pool helps you get a local insurance upon arrival (you usually arrive before your POV),  it costs between $160-$200.Theft, fire, and collision insurance policies are also available from several companies but are very expensive locally. Many employees obtain comprehensive coverage from U.S. companies that offer such service.

Parts and service can be difficult to obtain for American-made vehicles, and repair service capabilities for some electronic ignition equipped vehicles may be limited. Parts are also not always available for foreign-made cars such as Honda, Toyota, and Mazda sold with U.S. specifications. Mission personnel often include car parts, such as spark plugs, points, rotors, condensers, electronic-ignition control units, fan belts, wiper blades, and oil and air filters, in their HHE shipments since these parts are not always readily available on the local market. Tires are available but are very expensive locally.  You can get tires through DPO.

Selling your POV:

Employees should plan accordingly if their vehicle surpass eight (08) years of age at the end of their tour. Employees must either re-export their vehicle (into permanent storage or to their next post), or sell their vehicle to another diplomat who enjoys customs exemption status. Transferring titles takes several months and should be initiated as soon as an employee knows that he/she will leave the POV at post.

In order to sell a POV, all employees must complete the following steps:

Six months prior to departure from post, complete the “Application to Sell Property and Convert Proceeds” and submit it to the Management Office.  This form is available on the Mission’s Intranet site.

After receiving approval from the Management Office, contact GSO/Motorpool at least 3 months prior to departure from post.

GSO/Motorpool will then contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and formally request permission to sell your POV.  Once the sale is approved, GSO/Motorpool will receive an official letter from the MFA.

If the buyer has duty-free status (e.g., a diplomat), GSO/Motorpool will finalize the paperwork once the seller notifies GSO/Motorpool that the POV was sold.  Please note that if the POV is more than 5 years old, the vehicle may only be sold to a buyer who has duty-free status.

If the buyer does not have duty-free status (and the car is less than 5 years old), the seller must ensure that duties are paid and customs formalities are completed.  The buyer must give the seller and GSO/Motorpool a letter confirming that the applicable customs duties were paid in full.  GSO/Motorpool will then help complete the final paperwork.

How much does an oil change cost?  It was advised we bring air filters, cabin filters, oil filters and windshield wipers.  Should I bring motor oil?

It is cheaper to bring motor oil whether or not you will change it yourself. The garages are not that expensive so having an oil change is very reasonable. Other spare parts for your car can be ordered online or brought with you to post.

Do I have to take my catalytic converter out of my car before I arrive on post?

No, you can find unleaded gasoline in Dakar. (called ‘super’)

Internet/ Cable/Telephone

Do you have cell phones and if so, what do you use and who do you buy your coverage through? Approximate monthly cost? And internet is there a local company you get internet through? Is it fast and reliable? Monthly cost?

Officers have an official phone/Blackberry with Tigo. Many EFM’s buy an Orange (Sonatel) SIM card to get a number and then cards of 1,000 to 10,000 CFA ($2-$20) to use for minutes (both for phone and data usage). It is a good idea to wait for one of frequent promotions to buy these cards, as you will get 50-100% more time.  There are other providers as well, but Orange tends to have the best coverage and most consistent service.

We cannot use Expresso as it is a Sudanese company (embargo).

You need a tri-band phone to use the same in Senegal and in the US. You can buy unlocked iPhones here; however, an unlocked phone from the US will work well (and cost a LOT less).

Is High Speed internet available?

Yes.  Faster connection + home phone = about $150 a month; every residence has landline phone.  For long distance calls most families use Skype, Vonage or Magic Jack services.

Does Embassy Dakar have AFN?  Are there restrictions for placing the dish on the buildings?

GSO has AFN boxes for use during your tour. However, it is up to the renter to set up the satellite connection. Dish and installation cost around $300, but the dish is yours to keep or sell to the next person living in your house.  If you will be living in a house, check to see if the current tenant has a dish already installed which you can buy from them. If you are in an apartment, you can share the cost of the dish with your neighbors and split the signal. There may already be a dish on your roof.  Check with GSO Housing to confirm.

In addition, there are local Cable providers to choose from with English and French speaking channels.  It cost about $50 a month.

Clubs, Pools and Beaches

There are many great options for enjoying the beaches and pools in Dakar. Prices range from 5,000 – 15,000 CFA ($10 – $30 per person) depending if it is a private hotel beach/pool or part of a restaurant.

Additionally, we have a pool located at the embassy.


What kind of stores are available in Dakar?

There is a mall, Sea Plaza, which has L’Occitane, Mango, United Colors of Benetton, Aldo Shoes and more stores.   Orca has house wares, furniture and toys.  It is limited and some items can be expensive but you can also have quite a few things made custom and of course, there is online shopping.

More and more, you can find most items you would be looking for in Dakar.  The only question is how much you want to pay for it, as everything is imported, and therefore has the imported price tag.  That said, there is a growing selection of clothing, toy, decorations, gift and luxury shops in Dakar.  If you need something urgently, you can probably find options.  If you can wait, it might be best to buy it online and wait for it to arrive.

Welcome to Dakar: Cheat Sheet for groceries (from Dakar Eats)

Shared with permission by our friends at Dakar Eats (
*Side note – this is a great resource for food and restaurant questions in general in Dakar!

January 1, 2018
2018 Dakar Eats Cheat Sheet for new arrivals

I order chicken thighs (hauts de cuisse) from Marché du Poulet les Alliés, which is based at Kermel market so they butcher fresh daily. Mmm… delivered warm. 🙂 Their prices are unbeatable and they deliver the same day.

For whole chickens or chicken breasts, I buy from Sensa Agri (organic!) at the American Food Store in Almadies or chicken breasts from La Boucherie Nouvelle (free delivery to some areas!). The only reason I don’t buy chicken breasts from Alliés is that their cuts aren’t as clean as I’d like. I don’t notice it much for thighs that will go in soup, but for chicken breasts I want prettier cuts.

There are only two Dakar beef options in my book: BeerSheba organic beef, which is available in the freezer section at the American Food Store in Almadies or at the monthly Dakar Farmers Market. They have ground beef, 100% beef hamburger patties, stew meat, beef sausage, steak or roasts… Or I order ground beef and stew meat from La Boucherie Nouvelle (free delivery to some areas!).

Again, the same two choices for me.La Boucherie Nouvelle does amazing thick-cut pork chops and also ground pork for making your own loose sausage. Also a huge fan of their smoked poitrine fumée, my go-to bacon source. BeerSheba organic pork sausages are incredible. Bratwurst, Italian sausage in spicy or mild and also breakfast sausage links. You can also get other pork cuts, but I’m mostly just in it for sausage varieties.

For years I ordered filets de lotte and shrimp from Abdou, who delivers all over Dakar. Always fresh and very punctual. The only reason I changed was that a new vendor knocked on my door one day and came highly recommended by the neighbors on a day that I happened to want seafood. Mr Sarr’s prices are lower and the quality and freshness are excellent. However with Abdou you can order a specific quantity of filets and he will bring them bagged and ready to go. With Mr Sarr you buy a whole fish and then he filets it for you in your kitchen. He’s fast and good and clean up is spotless, but if you don’t want someone in your kitchen, call Abdou.

Mr Sarr: 775408378
Abdou: 773106093

Pantry items
For canned and baking goods, I go to the little Supermarché Utile in Ouakam or Leader Price in Almadies because they carry 80% of what I want…and without that funky smell from Hypermarché Exclusif, although they do have a wide selection of spices and items I haven’t found elsewhere. Casino is generally most expensive, but a decent selection if you need a one-stop shop. I want to love Auchan (and I do love the prices and their generic brand), but some of them just feel like the aisles are really crowded in, making it hard to see items up high, and the “lines” require busting out your elbows to hold your place.

Be sure to check out your local buutik too! You’ll be amazed…

Fruit & Veggies
Mr and Mme Ba come by each week selling from their car. They have all I need at good prices (and they sell all around Dakar). Or go to your nearest stand and get to know the vendors there. Ask lots of questions. Some of the produce you will never have seen before, but some of it is just a different variety, like the little Charentais melons that are so delicious but are 1/4 the size of a cantaloupe!

Watch the Dakar Farmers Market Facebook page for updates on their monthly market. It’s THE best place to get organic produce from various farmers, including Taaru Askan which is launching its CSA program soon!

Frozen fruit is at larger grocery stores, like Casino and Auchan.

Tip: If you’re new and want to know what’s available and in season in Senegal, go to marché Kermel.

For home delivery of fresh milk and artisanal plain and vanilla yogurt, you will love Club Dolima. (I do!)

For supermarket shopping we buy Laitcran brand powdered whole and skim milk and prefer Ardo brand lait caillé (non-sucré). I use it to make ‘Greek yogurt’ and sour cream. Labneh, the Lebanese cream cheese made from yogurt, is so yummy too.

The best selection of European cheeses is at Casino supermarkets. Gouda nature is a good all-around mild cheese that works for everything from cheeseburgers to tacos to omelettes. Some people prefer Mimolette, and the orange color does make your brain think it tastes kind of like cheddar… Mozzarella can be found at most supermarkets, or fresh from CIBUS (disclaimer: new owner, haven’t tried it yet).

Bakery goods
You probably already know about Eric Kayser bakery and La Graine d’Or. But beyond these, Dakar has some amazing breads!

Baked-to-order whole wheat tortillas, English muffins, pizza crusts, panini bread, bagels, banana and apple breads… Marie’s Kitchen delivers. And I am so, so glad!

Everyday baguette: Ask for tapalapa at your local buutik. Freezes well, makes good sandwiches and great garlic bread.

Whole wheat sandwich bread, sliced: Shady Shack. It’s delicious and exactly what I want in a sandwich loaf. They also have white bread, if you prefer.

Organic goodness
Go to the Dakar Farmers Market to browse, or in grocery stores, look for products marked ‘bio’.

Gluten-free options, restaurant reviews, a comprehensive list of what to find where… All on Dakar Eats! Just use the search bar. Happy browsing and eating!

Updated Pet Shipping Info for leaving Dakar with pets


Shipping pets is a traveler responsibility, but the information below should help you understand your options for shipping your pets out of Dakar.  Please note that these options are current as of June, 2017. Check directly with the airlines and the cargo companies, as things seem to change frequently in this arena. Please also remember to inform Travel of your pet plans and have the information in your reservation.

No matter what method you use to travel with your pet out of Dakar, you must have the proper paperwork. The following items are required if traveling to the states with your pet. If you are moving to EU countries, there may be different requirements, so please do your research. Your pet must have –

  1. Proof of microchip;
  2. Proof of rabies vaccination within the past year;
  3. Valid Health Certificate issued within a week before travel;
  4. Pet Passport record book of immunizations and health issues.

You usually have three options to travel with your pet, based on its size and what is allowed by the different airlines.  Currently, you actually have two

  • Cabin Carry

If your pet is small (see airline websites for exact weight and carry size restrictions, but usually less than 17 lbs, including crate), you can carry it in the cabin. It should be booked as a cabin carry pet when you reserve your ticket. Cost is approximately $125, dependent upon pet and airline.

  • Travel as Excess Baggage:

Your pet should be booked as accompanied excess baggage with your ticket. Information about the pet should be added to the traveler booking file (kennel dimensions, weight of the pet, etc) and once confirmed by the airline, the pet should be checked along with traveler’s bags. Cost is approximately $200, but will depend on size of dog and crate. (Dog plus crate must weigh less than 165 pounds. Max crate size 45x24x28 cm). This option is NOT advised if you are changing carriers (Air France/Delta) in Paris.

  • Travel as Cargo

For your pet to travel as cargo, you will need all of the necessary medical documentation listed above, and also the dimensions of the kennel and the weight of the pet. Based on this info the cargo carrier company will give a quotation with the cost (Approximately $1,200) and create an airbill. Owners are required to put enough food and water to feed their pets at transit points. There are different cargo companies and contacts (listed below) for each airline, and each company has its own procedures and requirements. Most companies will require you to come to their office 2-3 weeks prior to your flight with your pet and crate for payment and airbill.

Air France

All forms of pet carry are available on Air France: in-cabin, excess baggage and Cargo pets. The excess baggage option is VERY difficult however, if you are changing to another carrier in Paris.

For general pet travel info 800-237-2747

If you are sending your pet Cargo, the Contact is

Mr Lamine Diallo (Tel: 33 869 38 80/Cell: 77 537 26 01)


Brussels Air

Brussels Air allows in-cabin (pets less than 8 kg) and Cargo pets only. No pets as excess baggage.

For general pet travel info call US number 866-308-2230

For Cargo Contact:  Mme Manga (Tel: 77 450 31 77)


Delta Airlines

General Delta pet travel contact – Sidoine Rodrigues (

Please read through link below, before contacting.

Delta does not allow in-cabin carry from Dakar.

No excess baggage travel May 15-Sept 15. Cargo is allowed on the Wednesday and Sunday flight during this period, as long as temps are never forecasted above 84F.

Contact Mme Yacine Ndiaye for Delta cargo instructions

(70 605 44 63 /


Cargo services only

Contact at Lufthansa: Mr Aliou Niang (tel: 33 820 10 10) or

Requires a Shipping Certificate. Pets are taken to an Animal Lounge.


South African Airlines

Only Cargo shipping available on SAA. You must contact Anicet Boissy at 775082003 or to coordinate Cargo shipping AT LEAST 2 weeks before departure to coordinate Air Bill, payment etc. Will need weight of animal plus crate, crate size and dimensions.

TAP, and Iberia – Currently not allowing any pet shipping.

Milk, dairy and other bio products delivery: Passion Nature

(This is in French but you can google translate if it helps you to understand.)

Some of the best fresh milk we’ve had has been from Passion Nature.  We get it delivered to the door, once a week, and the family loves it.  If you want to try, or enjoy some of the bio fruits, veggies, dairy products and meats, please see below.

(This is in French but you can google translate if it helps you to understand.)

Née d’une initiative personnelle en 2002, la ferme BIO “PASSION NATURE”, après
quelques années d’installation, a progressivement développé une gamme de fruits,
légumes, salades et herbes aromatiques dans une voie alternative de production
privilégiant qualité et santé : la production BIOLOGIQUE.
Ce mode de production naturelle, sans usage de produits chimiques (ni engrais,
ni pesticides) rend parfois les récoltes aléatoires mais la diversification des
cultures a permis la viabilité du projet.
Le volet ELEVAGE de la ferme s’est progressivement développé selon le même principe
extensif et qualitatif.

Vous trouverez ci-jointe la liste remise à jour des produits proposés en livraison à
domicile pour le mois de Mai.
Certains produits sont soumis à la disponibilité du moment, fonction des récoltes
et du volume des commandes.
Pour une organisation optimale, l’idéal serait de recevoir les commandes de la semaine
durant le WE qui précède mais nous tachons cependant de traiter au mieux les commandes
plus tardives.

Notre gamme de produits laitiers a évolué vers des emballages 100% recyclés : yaourts, fromages
blancs, crème fraiche et plus récemment lait sont désormais en récipients verre.
Cela nous impose d’avoir une clientèle fixe, sous forme d’abonnement hebdomadaire : nous passons
chez vous pour vous livrer votre livraison suivante et procéder à l’échange des consignes : vous nous
restituez les pots verres vides de la semaine précédente. La consigne n’est donc payée qu’à la première
Ces pots sont ensuite désinfectés et soigneusement lavés jusqu’à leur prochaine utilisation.

Concernant nos produits laitiers, ils sont fabriqués dans notre mini-laiterie à base de lait frais
La fraicheur du lait (traite du matin) et l’absence de poudre de protéines ajoutées sont les deux
différences majeures qui nous distinguent des yaourts DOLIMA qui nous copient depuis 2 ans environ.
Retenons que DOLIMA reste une façade de ‘bonne conscience’ de la grosse multinationale DANONE
dont les moyens sont quasi-illimités. Ils sont très loin de l’image idyllique diffusée dans les
publicités de la Laiterie du berger.
Par ailleurs, le lait que nous utilisons provient des vaches de notre ferme et d’une ferme voisine
qui nous approvisionne. On est donc sur un produit de proximité, qui limite également le coût CARBONE
lié à son élaboration (C’est une différence supplémentaire avec les produits DOLIMA provenant de
300 km au nord de Dakar alors que nous ne sommes qu’à 30 km).
Enfin, le lait est systématiquement pasteurisé par une technique douce de pasteurisation permettant
de préserver les qualités organoleptiques du lait.

La ferme PASSION NATURE vous incite donc à goûter sa gamme unique et naturelle de produits laitiers,
issue d’une expérience de 15 ans dans le domaine.

La livraison à domicile de nos produits est gratuite (au delà de 6500fcfa/10€) et hebdomadaire,
la date est fixée selon votre secteur de livraison et selon la date d’envoi de votre commande.
Nous souhaitons recevoir vos commandes entre Vendredi et Dimanche afin de planifier les récoltes
de la semaine et les tournées de livraison.
A titre INDICATIF, les jours de livraison selon les secteurs sont les suivants :
Lundi : (livraison des grosses commandes de lait frais)
Mardi : Hann-Maristes, Hann-plage, Plateau, Fann Hok
Mercredi : Fann-résidence, Corniche, Point E, Mermoz, Fenêtre Mermoz, VDN, Nord-foire et Ouest-Foire
Jeudi : Ouakam, Mamelles, Almadies, Ngor, Yoff
Vendredi : Possibilités de livraisons complémentaires.
Samedi : Saly (chaque 15 jours)

La disponibilité des produits évoluera au fil des saisons et la liste mensuelle pourra vous être
envoyée à votre demande.

APPROVISIONNEMENT EQUITABLE : une filière de type coopératif qui profite à tous !

Notre ferme s’inscrit dans un schéma d’approvisionnement équitable avec les autres producteurs
agricoles qui nous entourent de manière à pouvoir étoffer notre gamme de produits proposés
en livraison à domicile et pour que vous puissiez composer votre panier au mieux.
Les produits BIO, fermiers sont clairement indiqués sur la liste, les autres produits ORDINAIRES
ont été soigneusement sélectionnés pour vous.
Nous nous sommes également rapprochés de producteurs régionaux de miels de qualité
(dont la maturation et le conditionnement des produits se font dans nos locaux),
ainsi que de pêcheurs traditionnels de la Petite Côte (dont les produits sont nettoyés
et préparés soigneusement avant d’être congelés pour la vente).
A travers ces nouvelles collaborations, nous souhaitons promouvoir les produits de qualité
issus des terroirs du Sénégal et vous en faire profiter…à domicile.


List of products (currently available, May 2017):

Liste Produits PASSION NATURE – Commande Mai 2017  :  77 569 88 59
Nom   –  Prénom –  Date de livraison Adresse + numéro de contact domicile
Produits laitiers à base de lait frais consigne contenance prix qté Total
Lait frais entier pasteurisé (1200) 1 L 1600
Lait frais 1/2 écrémé pasteurisé (1200) 1 L 1600
Fromage blanc fermier 25% (mg) (500) 400 g. 2500
Fromage blanc fermier 0% (mg) (500) 400 g. 2500
Crème fraiche épaisse (500) 375 ml 2800
Beurre fermier artisanal (selon disponibilité) 180 g env. 3000
Yaourts étuvés méthode artisanale :
Yaourt nature (500) 125 mL 500
Grand yaourt nature (500) 375 ml 1200
Yaourt vanille (500) 125 mL 500
Grand yaourt vanille (500) 375 ml 1500
Yaourts à boire YAB :
YAB nature (1200) 0,5 L 1500
YAB vanille (1200) 0,5 L 1500
YAB mûres BIO (1200) 0,5 L 1500
Salades et herbes aromatiques BIO unité prix qté Total
Mesclun BIO barq. 2000
Pourpier BIO barq. 2000
Roquette BIO barq. 2000
Epinards BIO (jeunes pousses) barq. 2000
Feuilles de laitue verte (en barq.) barq. 1200
Basilic BIO botte 500
Celeri branche BIO botte 700
Coriandre BIO botte 500
Estragon BIO (peu disponible) botte 800
Fenouil BIO en branches botte 700
Oignons verts botte 500
Menthe spéciale BIO botte 500
Persil BIO (plat) botte 300
Légumes et fruits prix/kg qté Total
Aubergine kg 700
Carottes moyennes kg 900
Chou pommé kg 600
Citrons (hors saison) kg 1500
Concombres kg 1500
Courgettes selon disponibilité kg 2000
Fraises BIO (1er choix) barq. 2000
Fruits de la passion (peu disponible) kg 2000
Mangue rouge BIO / maturité naturelle (1er choix) kg 800
Mûres BIO (1er choix) barq. 2500
Navets blancs kg 600
Oignons rouges ou jaunes mini 2 kg 600
Oranges Maroc kg 1200
Pamplemousses kg 1200
Patates douces chair blanche kg 700
Poireaux BIO kg 2000
Poivrons verts kg 1000
Pommes de terre nouvelles mini 2 kg 800
Radis rouge BIO (en botte) botte 500
Tomates ordinaires fraiches (culture raisonnée) kg 1200
Tomates cerises BIO (selon disponibilité) bq 250g. 1200
Tomates cerises ordinaires (selon disponibilité) bq 250g 900
Basse-cour unité prix qté Total
Œufs frais fermiers-élevage traditionnel sur paille (30:2500f) 12 œufs 1000
Canard d’élevage fermier (2,5 à 3 kg environ) dispo debut avril au kg 5000/kg
Poulet fermier d’élevage extensif / longue durée (1 à 1,2 kg) 3000/pièce
Poulet (emballé, surgelé) (1.5 kg approx.) 1,5 kg 3500/pièce
Confitures artisanales aux fruits BIO de la ferme
(allégées en sucres (30%) et fraichement réalisées) grand pot 400g qté Total
Confiture de Fraises BIO 500 f + 2500
Confiture de Mangues BIO 500 f + 2000
Confiture de Mûres BIO 500 f + 3000
Miels d’exception 100% naturels (consigne) petit pot 120g qté Total
Miel d’Eucalyptus origine Sénégal (120 g.) 500 f + 1000
Miel de forêt origine Sénégal (120 g.) 500 f + 1000
Miel de savane origine Sénégal (120 g.) 500 f + 1000
Miel naturel de forêt origine Guinée (120g.) 500 f + 1000
Produits de la pêche artisanale de la petite côte
(pêche du jour, traitée et congelée le jour même) pièce qté Total
Daurades (pièces 250 à 300 g. environ) 800 à 900
Filets de lotte (pièce de 500 à 750 g) 2000 à 3000
Filets de capitaine (pièce de 500 g) 2500
Frais de livraison (si total 1 inférieur à 6500f / 10 € ) 1000
La consigne vous est restituée lorsque vous rendez les pots.


Getting Around Dakar


GREETINGS and manners:

Greetings in Senegal are extremely important. Take the time to greet people before any transaction. It is considered extremely impolite to begin talking without first exchanging pleasant conversation about family and friends.

  • Greet everyone in the group, not just the person you know or need to talk to. Ask about their family and mention any family members that you know by name.
  • Never call someone by saying “Hey.” It’s considered rude.
  • Avoid a direct “No,” if possible, and avoid saying, “That’s not true.” Never imply that someone is lying.
  • When talking to elders, avoid eye contact. Lower your eyes if you wish to show respect.
  • Never pay special attention or stare at a pregnant woman. You should never ask a pregnant woman, “When is the baby due?” as this is considered to bring bad luck to the mother and child.
  • Use the right hand when handing something to someone or when shaking hands.
  • Avoid pointing at people or counting people by pointing.
  • Never take a person’s picture without first asking their permission.
  • Trying out a few words in Wolof, even if they aren’t perfect, will also show immense respect for Senegalese culture. Page 63 has a basic language guide for both.


Senegal is a predominately Muslim country. You will often see men in prayer, as Islam requires that prayers be said five times a day. Never walk in front of someone who is praying or interrupt him or her, and never touch a person’s gris-gris. (This is a small leather pouch that is often worn on the arm or around the waist. It contains written pages from the Quran and is meant to protect the bearer). They are considered to be very private and are never shared.


Given the international flavor of Dakar, you will see people wearing everything from the latest Parisian fashions to traditional African clothing. In general, most Senegalese men and women dress modestly in both western and traditional clothing, yet more western compared to that of Muslims living in other predominately Islamic countries. For women/girls, this consists of a long skirt and blouse called a Boubou or TayBaas, and for men/boys a loose fitting pair of pants and a long loose fitting shirt also called a Boubou. Women are not required to cover their heads; however, many women wear a scarf over their hair, or a cloth headdress, which matches their Boubou. You will rarely see a Senegalese woman, even in the city, wearing shorts as it is considered inappropriate for women to expose their thighs. Men (and sometimes women) will wear shorts when engaged in athletic activities but will not wear them for anything else. In general, Senegalese take great pride in their appearance and as such, will dress up for public functions in finely-pressed clothes. In an effort to dress in a culturally appropriate manner, some American women wear knee-length skirts or dresses, long pants and Bermuda-style shorts when in public. The exception being, however, when they are at the beach, where it is acceptable for women and young girls to wear swim suits. In public, American men wear long pants or shorts with a shirt. When visiting villages outside of Dakar, it is generally expected to observe more traditional norms, and dress more conservatively.


People with first names such as Georgette, Odette, George, Pierre and Elizabeth are usually Catholic. “Di” is pronounced “j” in these typical last names: Badiane, Dia, Diagne, Diallo, Diaw, Dieng, Diop, and Diouf. “Th” is pronounced “ch” in the following names:  Bathily, Thiam, Thioune, and Mathiam. In last names beginning with N, the “N” is pronounced “en” ‑ NDao, NDaw, NDiaye.  Some FSNs are called by their first names, some by their last, which, in addition to being confusing, makes them difficult to find in the phone book.



“Culture Shock is an occupational disease for most of us.  And although we may develop some immunity to it, the ailment does not disappear after a certain number of exposures… Culture shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse.  All of us depend for our peace of mind and our efficiency on hundreds of these cues and when an individual enters a strange culture, all or most of these familiar cues are removed… ” (Dr. Kalervo Oberg, 1954).

Some suggestions:

  • Cut yourself some slack. Don’t degrade yourself because everyone else at post seems to be so well adjusted and you feel like you’re a mess, have made a huge mistake coming here, can’t cope, won’t be happy, etc. Most of us have experienced these feelings and come to enjoy our lives here a great deal.  Acknowledge that an at‑home spouse is going to suffer from the disorientation and loneliness more and differently than the working spouse in most cases.  So talk to other spouses early and often.  A stiff upper lip is good, but an understanding ear is better.
  • Talk to us! Reach out. You are one of us now too. You are wanted here. We don’t know you well yet, and maybe you haven’t established any friendships yet, but you will. Come to the CLO’s office or hang around the cafeteria.  You are bound to meet other new arrivals who need a coffee date with a new friend as much as you do!
  • Get around. Take the time to go to a local restaurant, or visit a nearby tourist attraction. Treat yourself. You can meet a lot of nice, new people by doing so. Taxis are cheap, and they can keep you from feeling stranded without a car. See our section on taxis for more info.


  • Africans want to know what kind of a person you are, first and formost. This is important to their working culture. This is different from the States; no matter how good you are at your job, if you are rude and disrespectful, you will not be able to get work done efficiently.
    • They also want you to show respect for them – no matter their station in life.
    • Take the time to say hello to everyone, and ask them about themselves a little BEFORE asking them for something. It is important, and the time spent is worth it.
  • Most decisions in Africa are made by forging a consensus, and all have to pass through many hands and hurdles. This takes time, sometimes more time-and patience- than you think you’ve got. But decisions arrived at in this manner are rock-solid.
    • Make lots of copies of your proposals, emails, etc.  When one paper gets lost, pull out another and start over. The same applies for emails – file them carefully so that you can always re-send a message that was “mysteriously” undelivered or deleted.
    • It is unlikely that just one person will be able to give you the go-ahead.  Even the Head of State usually has to forge a consensus of his peers.  Everyone who counts has to get a piece of the action, or it won’t get done.
    • Sometimes, two sides are unwilling to compromise. In such a case, you will need to be able to recognise the issues and identify for each side a winning proposition in order to gain support from both sides.
    • Your most precious asset will be someone who can guide you through this labyrinth and, most importantly, who can tell you when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.
  • Always keep in mind that you are not dealing with individuals alone, but rather with individuals who have duties to their families and friends.
    • When an African is successful, his family and his village will expect to share in the new good fortune. It is expected of him to keep his house open and his pockets deep.
    • An African cannot refuse to help a kinsman, and therefore will always be trying to get a cousin a job, a visa, etc. It is his duty.
  • When one of your colleagues who you know is intelligent suddenly can’t seem to grasp a simple point, watch out; there is more involved than you are likely to be able to understand.
    • You have probably stumbled into something that is threatening to them culturally. Your plan, while utterly sensible in Western terms, probably undercuts an important African custom or profitable loophole. When this happens, you have to decide how important your objectives are and how much you can compromise, if at all.  Two fundamentally different approaches to life and business are in play, and someone is going to lose. Be patient.
  • Never say no outright. It is considered abrupt and poor manners.
    • Africans rarely say “no,” for the reasons adduced above. Therefore it is important to know how to recognize an “African no” (an evasivereply that is less than a “yes” but not an outright “no”).
    • But you cannot say “yes” all the time, so what do you do? Do what Africans do. Listen carefully. Try to be helpful (not necessarily agreeing to the request) and explain your own constraints. Suggest alternatives.  In short take your time to give an “African No,” rather than a quick and easy “Western No.”
    • If you say “yes,” understand that you may be incurring subsequent responsibilities beyond your capacity or desires. Anywhere from a sick baby, to the need to properly fund a funeral, to securing the education of a cousin.
  • Understand that friendship is different in Africa.
    • Asking for money is not as taboo as it is in America, and sometimes even someone you just met or is working for you will ask you for money sometimes. You are free to say yes or no.
    • We tend to invite friends over at a specific time, and lateness is considered rude. Over here, sometimes people will show up to two hours late, for one reason or another. If you really want to be friends, keep an open door, an open mind, and loosen up your sense of privacy, as sometimes someone brings along an extra cousin…or four.
  • You represent America.  Africans will expect you to play the part.
    • If you are invited to an important event – like a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a dinner or cocktail party by invitation, or an event where there is a guest of honor, speeches, etc. – DRESS UP.  The Africans will be decked out in their most expensive and colorful attire.
    • If you aren’t good at giving speeches, toasts, etc.– LEARN.  Public speaking, storytelling, good jokes, and social graces are prized and practiced in Africa. As the guest of honor at any event, it will be your part to address the gathering, so you should always be prepared to say a few words.
    • If you have a title, use it. Always carry plenty of business cards, as titles are important in African culture.
    • Serving American food is fine and you should be proud to show off our specialties (the spicier the better), but if you really want to throw a good party, include some African dishes and music; even if these are from a different African country to the one you are in.
  • Be prepared to endure criticism of American policy, society, and values.
    • Be more prepared to agree to disagree rather than to stubbornly stand your ground, as the tendency to engage in no-win arguments will isolate you. In addition, it is American custom to argue for the sake of being right, and in Africa this can lead to insulting someone very easily. Do not challenge their cultural beliefs, especially if they are someone of high status. Proving a superior “wrong” challenges their authority in ways that most Americans miss.
  • There is no free lunch, literally; when you’re invited to a party, you’re supposed to contribute.
    • At a minimum, you will be expected to tip musicians and dancers if present.  You may be put in a position where you have to “bid” in a raffle, or otherwise make a contribution to an unspecified pot.
    • When you go to a village, take something which can serve a lot of people.  A bag of rice, sugar, tea, candy, and where appropriate lots of kola nuts, or drinks (soda, not beer!).
    • Feel free to speak to people even if you’ve never met them before. Talking to strangers is not a taboo. You will also gain considerable popularity by joining in when any group-dancing takes place.


Markets are an integral part of African life, and bargaining is expected and necessary when shopping in them. You can bargain with just about any purchase besides food, which usually stay around the same price. However, when shopping for art, clothing, souvenirs, etc., bargain and bargain hard, especially at artisan shops. A couple tips:

  • Don’t point or touch objects or articles when you have zero interest in them. Indicating at a certain object gives the impression that you are interested in it, and the vendor will come over and start asking you questions, or even show you seven more like it, even if you didn’t care about it in the first place. “Looking with your eyes,” will make your shopping go faster and you won’t get hassled as much.
  • Decide what the item is worth to you, and whether you’re in the mood to spend time bargaining BEFORE you ask the price. Ask the vendor for the first price and then start at about 1/3 to 1/2 of what YOU are willing to pay.
  • There are two price brackets: one for Senegalese and one for tourists. Many vendors feel justified in asking for more from tourists, as not all westerners are familiar with bartering, and most just go with the first price that they give to them. Prices may vary from day to day depending on the vendor’s mood, your approach, whether you speak French or English, or whether a major holiday is approaching.
  • Try to keep your sense of humor in the process and be constantly aware of your surroundings.
  • If you feel something is too expensive for you, don’t feel obligated to buy it! You can walk away, even if you spent a long time there bargaining the price. (sometimes pretending to walk away will make them lower the price more!) However, there is a point at which a vendor will go no lower and become unyielding if you persist.

Learning to bargain well comes with time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you get overcharged your first time. A lot of people dislike bargaining, but it can actually be fun if you talk and joke with the vendors and aren’t in a big hurry.


Americans are often surprised by the number of beggars in Dakar. However, remember that almsgiving is one of the pillars of Islam and an important part of Senegalese culture. No stigma is attached to begging and it is even required of children or adults who are studying in Quranic Schools. The children you see begging with empty cans are called “talibes” and are begging to earn their daily bread. You will also see “bifals,” young men dressed in brightly colored clothing. They can be quite aggressive and will step in front of you jingling the money in their bowls. If you are not inclined to give, just step around them and walk on. There are two Wolof phrases that may be useful to you:

  • Sarax sa agg na (I have already given today)
  • Ba benen yohn (next time)

Upon hearing these phrases, beggars will usually wave or nod and back away.


Newcomers often have problems with taxi drivers and the rates they are asked to pay. Negotiate the price BEFORE entering the taxi! To help assure that you are not “taken for a ride,” the following list will give you an idea of a fair rate:

  • Airport to Downtown 3,000 – 3,500 cfa
  • Les Almadies area to Downtown 3,000 cfa
  • Les Almadies area to Ebbets Field/Mermoz 2,000 cfa
  • Mermoz area to Downtown 2,000 cfa
  • Mermoz area to Point E 1,000   1,500 cfa