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Moving to Dakar

The city is most famous for the Dakar Rally, but actually it is an underrated pearl of Africa: it has a vibrant music scene and a multicultural atmosphere, which all expats will enjoy from the very first day. Moreover, it is strategically located on the Atlantic Ocean. Check out more with the InterNations Expat Guide!

About the City

The Senegalese are a proud people. They have an internationally renowned reputation for "teranga", or hospitality. As a result, expect a warm reception from Dakar locals, most of whom will be absolutely thrilled to see you there. Furthermore, Senegal is among the most stable governments in Africa, which is great for commerce, safety, and family life. If you’ve always fancied an exotic, international lifestyle, look no further than Dakar. 

Dakar is the capital of Senegal and boasts a population of roughly one million people (2011). It possesses a unique mix of clean-cut contemporary architecture and historical houses from its rich and colorful history. The place is filled with vibrant culture, including beautifully chaotic markets, quaint cafes, a diversity of hotels, as well as an outstanding local music scene, and all the incredible nightlife that goes along with it.

And if that wasn’t enough, Senegal prides itself on a stunning coastline, multiple big game parks, and an almost endless supply of outdoor, adrenaline-fueled activities. In that sense, it provides the perfect blend of cultural and outdoor experiences.

The Climate in Dakar 

Love the sun and heat? Dakar won’t disappoint. For the majority of the year, Dakar has a very pleasant, manageable heat. But from July to October, the heat really kicks in - it’s roasting hot and highly humid. Some love it, others find it too intense, but nevertheless, you won’t need to bring a jumper during these months. From November to April however, it is drier warmth, and the humidity dissipates considerably before returning in May and June, with the approach of rainy season. It’s also important to note that for some expats, the refuse on the streets and the Saharan sands can become a little too much. So it’s good to bring lots of water with you and take regular breaks when exploring the city.

Finding Accommodation

Crucially, before signing any forms and agreeing to rent a place, demand the end-of-contract receipts from the former tenant. This is the only concrete way to make sure the final utility bills have been successfully paid off. Sadly, there are certain unscrupulous individuals who will attempt to take advantage of you as an expat. Don’t fall for it!

In recent times, Dakar has undergone something of a property boom. The cost of accommodation has risen substantially; in just a decade, prices have as much as quadrupled. For expert advice on this topic, use the services of an estate agency, of which you’ll find many located in Dakar.

The western part of Dakar has many districts that are considered safer and more appropriate for expats. These include places such as Mermoz, Ouakam, Fann, Ngor, Sacré-Coeur and Amitié. Make sure you have signed a contract and received the full inventory of fixtures before paying your deposit. 

Daiki Saito

"Only a motorsports rallye? As an expat, I learned a lot about Senegal's green energy sector: InterNations lets me share my knowledge. "

Lastri Sasongko

"As an expat in West Africa, I appreciate Dakar's contemporary art exhibitions -- I love making discoveries with my InterNations friends. "

Global Expat Guide