Senegal is a West African country that borders Mauritania, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and the Gambia. The capital city is Dakar. Senegal is the westernmost country of the African continent. It covers over 76,000 square miles and has a population of approximately 15 million. The country was named after the Senegal River. Senegal has managed to remain relatively peaceful in a region that is marred by political conflicts and coups. Poverty, unemployment, poor education and health facilities are the major problems facing Senegalese. Nevertheless, Senegal is a beautiful country with a rich history. The following are some interesting facts about the country.
The Door of No Return
Senegal is reputed for welcoming strangers, but between the 15th and 18th centuries, it was a notorious gateway for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Millions of slaves were shipped out of Africa through Senegal, and whoever left the country through the ports was never seen again. A third of the slaves never made it to their destinations. A visit to the coast is humbling as you experience the point at which slave traders subjected Africans to despicable conditions.
Senegalese Are Excellent Hosts
Senegal is often referred by the demonym “Terenga.” The name was adopted from the local lingo and translates to helping a person visit and settle down on your land. The Senegalese people are welcoming and are among the most peaceful in Africa. The country hosts millions of refugees from across West Africa, some of whom have settled and integrated with the local population.
Sacred Griots Keep Tradition Alive
Griots are traditional singers, storytellers, musicians, poets, and oral historians. They are the moral compass, the repository of knowledge, and the philosophers of the nation. Griots are considered sacred beings and often advice political and religious leaders. They are so revered in society such that when they die, they are buried in giant baobab trees rather than the ground.
One Of The Most Peaceful West African Countries
Senegal is the only West Africa state that has not experienced a violent military coup. West Africa is notorious for its many military coups, but Senegal has managed to remain relatively peaceful. The country spearheads peaceful negotiations in addition to hosting thousands of refugees from the ECOWAS region.
Senegal Is A Twitcher's Paradise
Birdwatchers flock the shores of Senegal, especially the UNESCO-listed Saloum Delta, which is among the best places to go twitching. Fish leap out of the water, while the kingfishers, Goliath herons, pink-backed pelicans, and several other birds wait eagerly and hungrily above the water to pick them off. Other popular sites include the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary and the Isles des Madeleines National Park.
Taxis With Goat Tails
Cab drivers in Senegal believe that goats bring good luck and therefore attach goat tail to the back of their vehicles. It is common to see such cars in towns and cities, and the practice should not be confused for witchcraft. Due to congestion and poor roads, it is common for vehicles to be involved in minor accidents, which are never a big deal for the drivers.
Senegal Has A Pink Lake
There is a pinkish lake in Senegal. The unusual appearance of Lac Rose is not a result of a chemical spill but a natural phenomenon caused by high salinity in the lake. The high salt content attracts non-harmful algae that produce a red pigment that gives color to the lake's waters.
African Renaissance Monument
The African Renaissance Monument on Collins des Mamelles hills is the tallest statue in Africa. The 161ft tall monument overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It was designed by Pierre Goudiaby and constructed by Mansudae Overseas Projects. The statue symbolizes the resilience of African societies to slave trade.