Checklist for Dakar Travelers

Here is a checklist for your Senegal trip. You might have things you want to add, let me know. Because you will be staying together, you might decide, as a group, to share some of the items in order to keep packing to a minimum and costs low (i.e. throat lozenges, first Aid Kit, etc.).


  • Passport (please make a copy to carry around as well)
  • Vaccination Card
  • Visa (for non-US citizens - make a copy of this document)
  • ATM cards (there are plenty of machines in Dakar) or Traveler Checks (AAA provides cheques at no charge)
    Note for New Yorkers: you might be able to buy some CFA’s before leaving at CBAO or BICIS in NYC
A Note on Gifts: Gifts are not necessary but always useful for wedding and naming ceremony invites, or appreciation gifts. Acceptable and cheap gifts might be T-shirts (NY, USA); Mini Bath and Body Works stuff; any Dollar store items; Costume Jewelry; candy – something light and American.


  • Tennis shoes or comfortable sandals
  • Couple of t-shirts/tank tops
  • Cotton summer dresses
  • Loose skirts (you can buy a few batik boubous on-site for ~$5 each)
  • Cute outfit (for club/social events/mass)
  • Light sweater
  • One pair of jeans (not hole-y ones)
  • Pair of sunglasses
  • Shampoo/conditioner

Travel Notes

The current exchange rate is $1=520CFA. What does this mean? A cab ride from Mermoz to downtown will be 1500CFA. Bus fare is 200CFA. A breakfast of croissants and café au lait will cost 300CFA. Lagos/African printed cloth is 1300CFA/yard. A meal at a nice restaurant will probably run you 5000CFA. Ice cream sundaes at my favorite restaurant will cost 3000CFA.  Concerts will not exceed 5000CFA. Photocopies are 100CFA/sheet. Theaters and movies cost about 3500CFA. DVDs of popular music are 5000CFA each. A candy bar is 500CFA. American imports are more expensive. High quality gifts (instruments, paintings by professional artists, quilts, real gold) will cost you more. You may check daily rates at

  • Please limit unnecessary items.
  • Consider whether you will need a laptop.  You will have access to a computer lab at ELI.
  • For linen/towels, you might want to bring those that you would not mind leaving there or giving away at the end.
  • I believe a backpack (carry-on) and another suitcase is sufficient; if the suitcase is small, consider bringing an empty duffel as well; or keep one of the suitcases relative light so you can bring back your presents/purchases. There are often surprisingly weight requirements on travel from Dakar-Paris – you do not want to be stuck with extra baggage charges.  In your carry-on, please keep a change of underwear and important toiletries/medicines.




  • Towel and washcloth
  • Linen for a twin bed
  • Shower shoes/Flip Flops
  • Shampoo/conditioner/Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Lotion
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Face/baby wipes
  • Aspirin


  • Throat Lozenges (the air is dry!)
  • Diarrhea medicine
  • Anti-mosquito sprays and/or creams
  • Condoms
  • Anti-Malarial drugs most often have to be taken weeks in advance.
  • Please see your doctor know about the different options.

Snacks and Gifts

  • Granola/power bars
  • Trail mix


  • Camera
  • Fanny pack/travel wallet


November 25, 2013

Senegal's new prime minister

Aminata Toure is Senegal's second female prime minister

Though people often question the role of women in Muslim and African countries, Senegal's two women prime minister in its 50 year history is remarkable.