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