Fast Facts:

1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 34th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Dakar, the westernmost point of continental Africa.

3. Major languages: French (official), Wolof (most widely spoken), Serer, Pulaar, Diola, Arabic

4. Major ethnic groups: Wolof (41%), Fula (18%), Serer (16%), Mandinka (14%), Diola (4%)

5. Major religions: Islam (90%), Christianity (5%), Traditional and other religions (5%)

6. It gained independence from France in April 1960.

7. It is well known for its griots, storytellers who have kept West African history alive for thousands of years through words and music.

8. Its most popular sport is wrestling (La Lutte: French). But Senegalese wrestling includes gris-gris, in which veneration of traditional amulets, the use of magic potions, and hypnotic drumming, song and dance form an integral part of the wrestling match.

9. Its newest museum, the 40,000 sq ft (3,700 sq m) Museum of Black Civilizations, showcases art, history and culture from across the continent and the African diaspora.

10. It is home to Africa’s tallest statue, the African Renaissance Monument, which symbolizes the triumph of African liberation and the unity of the Black family

11. It has 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Goree Island, Niokolo-Koba National Reserve, the island of Saint-Louis, Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Stone Circles of the Senegambia, Saloum Delta and the Bassari, Fula and Bedik Cultural Landscapes in southeastern Senegal.

12. Its annual religious pilgrimage, The Grand Magal, brings nearly 4 million Muslims to the holy city of Touba to celebrate the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba.

13. Tourism is a vital part of Senegal’s economy and centers around beaches, nature, history, and culture. Popular places include the beaches of the Petite Coast, Sine-Saloum Delta, Lompoul Desert, Touba, Saint-Louis (the former French colonial capital), and Casamance.

14. Things to see in and around Dakar include: Goree Island and the House of Slaves, African Renaissance Monument, Museum of Black Civilizations, Village des Arts, IFAN Museum, Mosque of the Divinity, Our Lady of Victories Cathedral, Ngor Island, Pink Lake, markets and beaches.

Map of Senegal
Map of Senegal
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: Epic Senegalese Wrestling Channel