Senegalese Dress Code Explained
What Should You Be Wearing When Travelling Around Senegal?
When you’re traveling around Senegal, remember that this is a mostly Muslim country. While many Senegalese show unbelievable tolerance for other religious backgrounds and practices, it is still a conservative society which advocates for modest dress codes for both men and women.
Women should really avoid short skirts and shirts. Likewise, men should not wear shorts. Just as a warning, Muslim Senegalese may also be offended by public drunkenness and public displays of affection. So make sure that you keep it to a minimum.
There’s Really No Need to Cover Up
As we said in the introduction to this article, Senegal is a majority-Muslim country, however you don’t have to worry about covering your knees, head or shoulders in most areas of Senegal. In larger villages and cities, most of the local women don’t wear a hijab. You won’t be demonstrating any disrespect by not covering up as you may in parts of India, Malaysia or the Middle East.
In actual fact, many local women prefer to wear traditional Senegalese dresses — which expose their neck and arms — or modern clothing. When ladies do cover their heads, it’s usually not for religious purposes but rather to shield them from the intense African sun.
Watch The Weather
In Senegal, there are two aspects which you should consider when you’re packing:
- The time of season which you arrive, and
- The areas you’ll be staying in.
There are just two weather seasons (dry and wet seasons). The dry season is by far the longest and usually runs between November and April. Wet (or monsoon) season goes from May to October. For those who love moderate weather and don’t expect any drastic changes in temperature, think about visiting during the dry season – in December, ideally. We recommend that you don’t pack clothing that is out-of-season and check your weather app for consistent updates.
Clothing items that you can think about packing are:
- Comfortable shoes with socks (to be used only in Dakar),
- Sandals (can be worn wherever),
- Shower sandals (you will be able to buy a pair in Dakar from between 2 000 and 10 000 CFA),
- Long pants (wear lighter colour pants if you can),
- Skirts (as long as they reach below your kneecap),
- Shorts (see the previous point in this list),
- Tank tops (if it is very hot at night),
- Tank tops for ladies (as long as you have a shawl which covers the exposed areas of skin),
- T-shirts (as long as there are no obscenities on the t-shirt),
- Long sleeves (when it is the dry season and at night),
- A light jacket, as well as
- A hat.
Other Things You Need To Know When Travelling In Senegal
By law travellers are required to carry identification with them at all times. They are also subject to questioning by police. Authorities are allowed to question suspicious behaviour. They are also allowed to ask you to produce documents that prove your identity, just like when you play bingo online for money.
You are not permitted to take photographs of some buildings. These include government institutions, military structures, police stations and embassies.