Senegal (i/ˌsɛnɨˈɡɔːl/; French: le Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, IPA: [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa. It owes its name to the river that borders it to the east and north and that originates from the Fouta Djallon in Guinea. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds The Gambia, namely on the north, east and south, exempting Gambia’s short Atlantic Ocean coastline. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 14 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, is located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cap-Vert peninsula. About 500 kilometres (300 mi) off the coast, in the Atlantic Ocean, lie the Cape Verde Islands. During the 17th and 18th centuries, numerous trading posts, belonging to various colonial empires, were established along the coast. The town of St. Louis became the capital of French West Africa (Afrique occidentale française, or AOF) before it was moved to Dakar in 1902. Dakar later became its capital in 1960 at the time of independence from France.
The local climate is tropical with well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast winter winds and southwest summer winds. The dry season (December to April) is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind. Dakar’s annual rainfall of about 600 mm (24 in) occurs between June and October when maximum temperatures average 30 °C (86.0 °F) and minimums 24.2 °C (75.6 °F); December to February maximum temperatures average 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) and minimums 18 °C (64.4 °F). Interior temperatures are higher than along the coast (for example, average daily temperatures in Kaolack and Tambacounda for May are 30 °C (86.0 °F) and 32.7 °C (90.9 °F) respectively, compared to Dakar’s 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) ), and rainfall increases substantially farther south, exceeding 1,500 mm (59.1 in) annually in some areas. In the far interior of the country, in the region of Tambacounda, particularly on the border of Mali, temperatures can reach as high as 54 °C (129.2 °F).