Senegal at a Glance
Moving to Senegal
The Land and Its People
The Republic of Senegal is a West African country with an estimated population of around 13,6 million people in 2014. At one time a French colony, Senegal gained independence in 1960 and has since developed its own national identity.
Like many West African countries, Senegal is home to a wide variety of ethnic groups and minorities, each with its own particular language or dialect. The largest of these groups is the Wolof people, who make up nearly half of the population, followed by the Fula at almost a quarter of the population.
Senegal also has a significant European, African, and Asian expatriate community, with large French, Lebanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese communities concentrated mainly in the urban areas, and Dakar in particular.
The official language of Senegal is French, however, most people speak the ethnic language native to their particular area or people. A number of these other languages have legal status, including Balanta-Ganja, Hassaniyya, Mandjak, Noon (Serer-Noon), Soninke, and Wolof.
The most popular and widely spoken of these is Wolof, and many Senegalese people are campaigning to integrate Wolof alongside French as the main language of the country. In some areas, a Portuguese creole is also spoken, and Portuguese proper is taught in schools as a second language.
The Climate in Senegal
Expatriates that want to move to Senegal from colder climates will be pleased to hear the country's tropical weather means it is hot all year round. The rainy season, lasting from May to November, commonly features average temperatures of 30°C, although it can receive up to 610 mm of rain during its peak between June and October.
In the dry season, from December to April, expatriates living in Senegal can expect similarly hot temperatures but with far less rain and more wind. Coastal regions, like the capital city Dakar, are much cooler than those on the interior, where temperatures can reach 32.7°C during the rainy season.
Getting to Senegal
In recent years, getting to Senegal has been made easier by the construction of a number of new airports in the country. Senegal now has 10 airports with paved runways, the largest of which, Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport, is located near Dakar and offers flights to and from a number of international destinations. This airport also has transport links to many other major African cities, and most of the flights are operated by Delta Airlines, South African Airways, and Emirates, as well as smaller African airlines. Another new international airport is currently under construction in Diass.
The capital city Dakar is also home to the largest deep water port on the West African coast, and its location near Europe and South America means it is a major stopping point for many shipping companies, which makes moving to Senegal with furniture or other large possessions easier.