“Business and conference tourism” activity in Senegal represents close to one third of tourist nights. Dakar’s strategic position makes it the ideal location for conference tourism. Business hotels are concentrated in Dakar. They represent 35% of the capacity and offer four-star services to businessmen.
The Abdou Diouf International Conference Center was inaugurated in 2014. It can host global events, including the 15th Summit of La Francophonie in 2014. The center is located on the future biggest urban hub in Africa.
The Centre International du Commerce Extérieur Africain (CICES) is five minutes away from Dakar’s Leopold Sedar Senghor airport and ten minutes away from downtown. This integrated conference center has over twenty offices, rooms with 500 and 1200 seats and parking lots that can take over a thousand (1000) vehicles at one time.
The King Fahd Palace has a convention center with a surface area of 5000 m2, dedicated entirely to congresses, conferences and exhibitions.. The amphitheater can sit 650 people and there are forty other meeting rooms with ultra-modern sound, video and lighting equipment, simultaneous interpretation facilities in six languages, and an electronic voting system, among other things.
Depending on the region and tribe, it is quite possible to attend prodigious traditional ceremonies that are always tied to the main events of life: the harvest and the rains, fishing, marriages, circumcision ceremonies, rites of passage for young boys and young girls transitioning from adolescence to adulthood...
Each village decides when it holds such ceremonies, depending on the rains, progress towards the harvest...but some events are held at specific times every year.
The traditional ceremonies to keep an eye on include: traditional wrestling events, the sham lion dance, the rites of passage in Bassari land (April/May), and boat races (July, August in Dakar and Saint Louis),
Scuba diving is practiced all year long in Senegal and particularly in the Dakar Peninsula.
The rocky beds, covered with sea fans and shipwrecks (Dakar is recognized as one of the largest boat cemeteries) are one of the attractions of diving and bring large numbers of enthusiasts.
The water temperature varies between 16°C in March/April to 30°C in August/September. The fauna varies greatly from one period to the other. From June to December, when the water conditions are warm, there is a dominant presence of Pelagics: sharks, tuna, kingfish, barracuda, and manta rays, sometimes...etc. From January to May, the species that thrive in more temperate water conditions flock in abundance towards surface waters. As for the colored species of tropical waters, parrot fish, angelfish, or butterfly fish, they accompany divers throughout the year.
With 500 kilometers of beaches, Senegal is one of the biggest seaside resort destinations closest to Europe in the winter season. An immense sandy beach of over 200 km stretches from the mythical Lac Rose to Saint Louis. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but the water is not so warm. Apart from N’Gor Island and Goree island, Dakar offers several beaches in the city and the suburbs. With the white sand on those beaches, it is very safe to swim there. Lastly, the beaches in Abéné and Cap Skirring, in Casamance, are among the most beautiful beaches in Africa.
Senegal’s waters are known worldwide for their fish wealth. They fall among the richest on the planet, because of a phenomenon called “upwelling”. Therefore, Senegal is one of the most popular “fishing” destinations in the world.
For big game fishing, there are about fifty species. Twenty-two of these species are recognized by the International Game Fish Association in Florida. Senegal also holds several world records.
But there are many other fishing techniques also, such as: handline fishing, casting, trolling, rappala fishing, etc. For those who intend to go for underwater fishing, they need authorization for snorkeling and insurance coverage as well.
The wildlife in Senegal is extremely varied with about 169 mammal species, including 23 that can be hunted, 625 bird species, including 45 that can be hunted or captured. Senegal is a signatory to several conventions on wildlife protection. Several tourist camps have their own leased areas and offer hunting trips.
The hunting season opens generally from December 14 to May 1st and, exceptionally, from November 15 to June 30 for waterfowl. The dates for each year are set by decree.
There are three formalities to fulfill, usually with the help of a hunting camp that takes charge beforehand of: the authorization to bear arms (for people to bring their own arms – for a period of 1 month – importation of cartridges is not allowed), acquire a hunting license (issued by the department of water and forestry resources) and to buy insurance (against all the risks of hunting ). There are 3 types of licenses: the small hunting license, the big hunting license, and the special license for hunting waterfowl, each with shot quotas to comply with.
In the areas where hunting practice is under proper management, there has always been an exceptional density of bird game (waterfowl, partridges...) although warthogs also have a dense presence in some of the areas.
Senegal is a country of craftsmen and their creative genius is boundless. In Dakar and other small communities, the markets or crafts villages sell under-glass paintings and paintings with sand, fabric (batik, loincloths, boubous, embroidery), traditional attires, jewelry (made by the Moors and Wolof), traditional drums, basketry, leather, wooden sculptures (rectangular plates and dishes are a local and an original specialty).
Senegal is a country that tourists can visit by their own means: in terms of security, material resources and organization, the country is ready for tourism.
As for accommodation, it is preferable to book in advance: to be sure rooms will be available in the peak season; and to check whether the facilities are open during the low season.
In terms of transport, visitors can hire a vehicle from several car rental agencies. Bush taxis, able to carry 7 passengers, are available at all motor parks (in all towns and villages). Domestic flights can also be useful for long trips. Canoes are a very pleasant and useful means of transport in Casamance and Sine Saloum.
Senegal is a destination that is perfect for young and older visitors to Africa. The health and safety conditions are generally very satisfactory. Accommodation and leisure activities are quite suitable and some hotels offer specific activities for children. Children will also be pleased to be in contact with nature (watching wildlife and birds in the national parks), landscapes, water and land sports, and to meet with the Senegalese people (during traditional ceremonies, for example, and in their day to day lives).
Because children are more sensitive, parents should therefore be particularly vigilant in protecting them from the sun and against mosquitoes, and in making sure they drink enough water.
Accor, with 3 hotels in Dakar: Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis. The Club Med, Sheraton, Radisson Blu. Other international groups are also running major hotel projects.