Welcome to Dakar, a city of one million stretched out along Senegal’s Cap-Vert Peninsula, where the traditional culture and colourful local garb meet urban life and sharply tailored suits. Here, French mixes with Wolof and other native dialects. And visitors will soon discover that above all, it is the city of “teranga,” the traditional Senegalese term for hospitality. Dakar is the closest major centre to Teranga Gold’s Sabodala mine and just 150 kilometres from TiZir’s Grande Côte mineral sands project.
Where to stay
The best hotels line the waterfront in the upscale Fann Corniche neighbourhood. These include the Radisson Blu in the embassy district which is 13
kilometres from the airport. The hotel has access to the beach and features an Olympic-sized pool, a poolside bar and an underground shopping mall. Four
kilometres further from the airport, the Terrou-bi Dakar is also in the Fann Corniche and features a private beach. The waters off Dakar boast marlin and
sailfish, and the hotel concierge can help you arrange a day out on the water.
Where to dine
There are plenty of good dining options in the plateau neighbourhood, a 10-minute cab ride from Fann Corniche. Traditional Senegalese food takes advantage
of abundant fish but also offers many types of meat stew, usually served with rice or couscous.
(4 rue Parent) combines French, Asian and Mexican cuisine. Here, a sushi or sashimi starter can be followed by a chilli main. Meals from $29 to $60
Toukouleur (122 rue Moussé Diop) features ample patio seating, dark red interior and an open-plan kitchen, so you can watch as dishes like carpaccio of
thiof (white grouper) and shoulder of lamb with aubergine are prepared. Meals from $21 to $26.
(101 rue Moussé Diop) is a historic downtown Dakar eatery, where you find local fare in generous portions. Sample everything from Cape Verdian to
Senegalese and other African dishes. Meals from $4 to $15
(at the corner of Boulevard des Madeleines and rue Carnot) is a Canadian-owned coffeehouse that serves the tastes of home.
How to get there
Delta, South African, Air Canada, KLM, United, and Air France fly to Dakar from Canada, with one or more stops. The trip is between 14 hours to 27 hours in
length, and ranges from about $1,600 for economy to around $8,400 for first class.
Where to explore
Discover Senegal’s history at L’île de Gorée, just a 30-minute ferry ride from Dakar. Here, the pace is slower and the handsome streets are lined with
pastel-coloured colonial buildings. La Maison des Esclaves, one of the oldest buildings on the island, is a museum that recounts the story of the notorious
slave trade that haunts the island’s past. L’île de Gorée is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes “the Castle,” a fortress originally built
by the Dutch in the 17th century. The stunning Botanical Gardens, planted by the French in 1667, and the Hostellerie du Chevalier de Boufflers, a quaint
hotel and restaurant named after the first French governor of Senegal are both worth the visit.
Start by purchasing a small phone and get a local number to avoid expensive charges. Use Wi-Fi and Skype wherever possible. Check with your Canadian
provider to get the best package for Africa.
Cash is king. However, credit cards are accepted, and ATMs usually work, although not always. Although the euro is the most commonly exchanged currency,
you can exchange both Canadian and U.S. dollars. It is wise not to take more than 50,000 XOF (West African CFA francs – about C$100) out of the country. If
customs officers threaten to confiscate your cash, simply ask for a minute to call your friends at the Canadian Embassy.
At the airport, most people must take a shuttle bus to customs. Lines can be long, especially if the plane is landing in the evening. Try to be last on the
bus, so you can be first out! Ensure your customs form is completed.
The customs process is fast – you will be asked for an electronic fingerprint of your right index finger, and your photo will be taken.
Pre-reserve a shuttle to the airport with your hotel concierge.
The best way to get around is by cab. Many are in need of repair but can still be safe. Use good judgement.
The cab ride from the airport to the Radisson Blu should not be more than 5,000 XOF, or about C$10. A trip into town should be about 2,000 to 3,000 XOF.
How to fit in
Some general tips for business communication:
If you are handed a business card, study it for a moment before tucking it away.
Avoid writing on your or someone else’s business card.
Eye contact, especially with elders, can be seen as arrogant.
Business meetings are quite formal, especially at the outset.
The Senegalese are non-confrontational and may avoid an unpleasant topic for as long as possible.
Senegalese business-people may agree to unrealistic deadlines in order to close a deal.
Who to contact
Canadian Embassy | Rue Galliéni x Amadou Cissé Dia, +221 (0)33 889 4700, email@example.com
U.S. Embassy | Route des Almadies, +221 (0)33 879 4000, dakar.usembassy.gov
Léopold Sédar Senghor International AIRPORT | +221 (0)33 820 07 80, +221 (0)33 820 10 41
Clinique du Cap Hospital | Avenue Pasteur BP 583, +221 (0)33 889 0202