The CFA Franc :
Senegal is part of the Franc zone, where there is the CFA which is fixed at the following rate : 1 FF for 100 CFA or 0,15 euro.
1 euro = 655 F CFA
Since 1994, the banks are authorized to take a 2% commission while changing French francs into CFA francs.
It is sometimes possible to obtain CFA in certain banks with a checking account and identification.
- Banks : The BICIS accepts checks from the BNP, end the SGB those of the Société Générale.
Avoid changing money in hotels where commission sometimes reaches 5 %. Most Western European and American currencies are accepted in banks. It is however the french franc that is the most appreciated.
Travelers checks are only accepted in banks and some hotels. This formula is recommended while traveling in senegal as it remains the safe and dependable.
- Bank Cards :
The banks accepts Visa, Maestro, and they have an ATM.
Western Union, which has been here two years is quick and efficient, although rather expensive.
- Hotel Budget :
- The price of a double room in most hotels range from 15 000 CFA (25 euros) to 30 000 CFA (60 euros).
- Saint-Louis is a great city for eco-tourism (sleeping locally). A key word of the town is "Téranga" : hospitality in Wolof. You can easily find a family willing to put you up and feed you, for free... Nevertheless, be careful, and always use common sense. Be careful of accaintances that invite you over, treat you well, only to rob you. . Don't forget that families here are very poor, and mostly live day to day. Be clear from the beginning and offer to compensate for the lodging and the food. 5000 F for the night and breakfast, and 1 000 CFA for a senegalese meal are reasonnable prices.
- Food Budget :
- A sandwich : less than 2 500 CFA (3,80 €)
- Resto-cantine : from 2 500 to 5 000 CFA ( 3 to 7,50 €)
- Restaurant : from 5 000 CFA to 10 000 CFA ( 7,50 to 15€)
Originally, the bakchich was a welcome present, a symbol of hospitality and friendship. Today, the bakchich is unfortunately used in many different ways.
The best solution is to give a bakchich to the village chief or to the schoole teacher (crayons, stylos, cahiers...) that they can then distribute equally.
In Saint-Louis, especially when one is toubab (white), many kids approach to ask for money or a "cadeau" (present). In this case it is not useful to see the neighborhood chief, but use common sense! To my opinion, It's better to buy a baguette of bread and to share it with the children, so you are sure that your gift will go to the child.
Be Careful! concerning drugs : only distribute them to health units or hospitals ... never to individuals.
In the shops, you will find cigarettes, aspirin, butter and other necessities at fixed prices. The same goes for taxies.
When peurchasing artesanal goods, of course, you have to bargain. It is sometimes fun, and surely a good way to learn the ways of the country. In the beginning, make a round, ask for different prices, then determine how much you are willing to pay. Start the process with a very low price. In th market you can divide the price by two or three (sometimes even more, but it is hard to know!). Elsewhere, you can substract 50 %.
Another principal is never to set your price first. Before going shopping, use different pockets to store your money, so it is not necessary to take out a large bill fold every time.
Don't forget that a large number of vendors are superstitious. Be there early, the first client is always treated indulgently, it means good luck for the rest of the day.
Finally, don't forget that you sometimes get suprises in the market, such as semi-precious stones or recently made antiquities...