Ever wonder where Senegal is located in the world map? I honestly do not know where in Africa this country is situated until I got an invitation to go.
Senegal is situated in the west coast of Africa which capital city is Dakar. The population in Dakar is approximately 1 Million. Locals can speak both Wolof and French. This country has a very rich history and culture also. So, is it a good idea to explore this country next? Definitely, yes!
I had an opportunity to travel in Senegal for a business trip. Imagining the distance of my destination from my origin somehow made me nervous. Even the requirements going to Africa gave butterflies in my stomach. The requirements and procedures are not that easy for a first time traveler in the said continent.
To those residing in Asia, expect long flights and layovers going to Dakar. It was a long flight that took us 25 hours to finally land to the city including layovers.
If you wish to visit the beautiful country of Senegal, you need to prepare weeks before your scheduled trip.
Vaccine and Malaria Tablets
One of the requirements for most African countries is a yellow fever vaccine. Keep the yellow fever certificate to present in the immigration. I am residing in Manila so I went to the Bureau of Quarantine and request for the vaccine. Fill out the form and pay for it. In few minutes you’ll get the vaccine. Honestly, I am not sure what makes it painful but it made my arm numb.
The assigned doctor will hand over the yellow fever certificate after payment. It is good as well to request for Malaria tablet prescription. The doctor instructed to take one tablet every week—for 7 weeks.
As per the consulate of Dakar in Manila, Philippine passport holders are not required to get a tourist visa for 30 days. However, I need to be sure, I still applied. Here are the requirements:
- Accomplished Application Form (call the Embassy to send it thru your e-mail)
- Passport (6 months validity) and has blank page for the visa
- Copy of Confirmed ticket
- Invitation (for business purpose)
- 2 Passport size picture
- No fees
Senegalese Honorary Consulate in Manila, Philippines
Edward Sy Go, Honorary Consul
Unit 16 A South Tower, Pacific Plaza Tower
Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila, 1634
Telephone: (+63) 2 818-6220, (+63) 2 572-3556
There’s also a Consulate office in Malaysia and in Singapore in case you’re nearer.
Before going to the Embassy, don’t forget to call first and make an appointment. I regret to do this when I got to the office because the consul was out of the country during that time. So I need to email him and ask for his returned date. I still have 4 days to process my visa but the return of the consul is 2 days after my flight. He sent an authorized representative to process mine that’s why I was able to fly with a visa. Learn from my mistake. Give at least 3 working days to claim your passport but set at least 2 weeks buffer in applying for the visa. On my experience, the consul can give you the visa immediately as long as you have the complete requirements.
If you have additional questions, please call the consulate office.
You should Bring
I bought a mosquito repellant but a friend told me that it is better to buy where you’ll be heading. My Senegalese friends shared that Malaria is very rampant there and one of the top cause of death among the locals. This is not to scare you. If you took Malaria tablets 2 weeks before your departure, nothing to worry about. Bringing a mosquito repellant is to save you not only from Malaria but also from mosquito bites and other diseases mosquitoes may bring.
Bring also over the counter medicines such as anti-histamine, anti-acid, paracetamol, etc. Always secure these things because not all corners of the street has Pharmacy and besides it will not cost you much if you buy them from your country. Put this always on your hand-carry bag.
A chemical engineer friend of mine suggested to buy a special alcohol. I am not endorsing this; just giving everyone an idea. There’s an element in this alcohol that will save you from viruses which cannot be found from ordinary alcohol we see in stores. It has 5 benefits as the label indicates.
Roaming and Local Contacts
It is very important for someone travelling far to have a roaming or local number. I am not a fan of checking-ins so others could locate me. However, I learned that it is important for your safety. Not only your family needs to know where you are but you need to have the capacity to call the hotel, office or a friend living in the city. In my case, I failed to get a roaming or local number, so I relied on my co-workers’ data. That is very inconvenient and unsafe. Always roam your phone number for emergencies and get local numbers of your hotel, nearest police station, and restaurants you wish to dine. Having a data is also a good idea especially if you are a non-French speaking tourist, your phone can be a handy-dandy translator to communicate with the locals. Not all locals can speak in English.
Even if street signs are readable in every corner, you may still consider having a copy of the city’s map or a GPS. One of our experience, since most of the people are non-English speakers, misunderstanding with the place is a challenge. Once, we told the taxi driver to drop us off in a restaurant, and we thought he understood our terrible French accent. He then led us to the road going to the airport. At first I was afraid and negative thoughts rule in my mind. Good thing my friend had a picture of the Liberty Monument so he easily divert our route going there. But the restaurant which we initially requested is too far from our location. We took that opportunity to takes pictures with the enormous sculpture and conquer the steps going up.
Know How to Greet in French
Senegalese are fun-loving and sweet people. They enjoy talking with each other. If you are a foreigner there, you’ll see how close people are with their family and friends. So when you see a local in the street, on your hotel or any place you go, always greet them Bonjour! One of my Senegalese friend shared that they find it disrespectful if foreigners do not greet them. Because locals even greet unknown person in the street. I like that tradition. If a Senegalese greet you Bonjour turn and say Comment Ca va (how are you?). They are satisfied with a simple greeting it was like acknowledging their presence.
I hope some of these suggestions and little reminders help you on your next travel in Senegal or any place in Africa. Till next time!