Bars and pubs are usually open until midnight, while nightclubs stay open into the early morning.
Ask your Local Griot
Like an African Confucius, Griots act as the community sage, storyteller, wisdom-keeper and therapist, answering questions and singing ancestral epics. And though it’s not a well-paid position, it does earn a well-respected place in society. Griots take a dynastical approach to succession, so unless your family’s in the business, it’s not really something you can intern for.
Dakar has modernized in many ways, but the city’s infrastructure is still catching up, and issues like power outages aren’t uncommon. Likewise, as Senegal’s growing economy is evident in new building developments, shanty towns along the city’s borders are also growing as migrants look for new opportunities.
Women in Senegal
The majority of Senegalese households remain firmly planted in patriarchal and Islamic traditions. Men can have up to four wives, and women move from their family home to their husband’s home. Progress is being made, however, and almost half of women have jobs outside of the home, and an increasing number of women are being elected into parliament.
On a continent where football (soccer) reigns supreme, it’s refreshing to see another sport dominate. In Senegal’s case, it’s wrestling. Professional wrestling is a multi-million dollar industry in Senegal, and young boys spend much of their recreational time practicing and aspiring to athletic stardom. The pursuit likely originated in rural villages where farmers wrestled and onlookers placed their bets. Keeping tradition alive, wrestlers today still don the traditional loincloths and compete in sand-covered arenas, accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing.
Feel the Rhythm
Drumming is huge to Senegal’s cultural heritage, and the traditional sabar and tama drums still play the country’s homegrown Mbalax sound, which draws inspiration from music throughout Africa as well as Cuba. Also popular are reggae, hip-hop, salsa, jazz and pop, especially in Dakar’s.
Begging is a common practice in Senegal, especially in tourist areas, and foreigners are the main targets. Exacerbating the issue are Islamic schools that send out children to collect money for the religious leaders. Try to resist giving money directly to beggars, or sweets to begging children, as it becomes detrimental in the long-term. If you want to make a donation, consider make making a contribution to an established charity.
Greet others with a firm handshake & slight bow.
Never touch a person's head, as it considered sacred.
Smoking in public, jaywalking, littering, PDA & chewing gum can all carry harsh penalties.