What documentation do I need to travel with?
Traveling internationally from the US, UK or anywhere else require a valid passport. Your passport should not be nearing its expiration date before your intended date of return. In addition international travelrs to Senegal are now required to purchase a Visa to enter the country. This can be done ahead of time or onsite at the airport in Dakar. Visas cost about $76 USD.
How much do flights usually cost?
During regular non-peak season flight tickets from the US to Senegal range from about $500 - $1000 one way and we have seen round trip airfare ranging from $900 - $1900. Flight costs are based on date of travel, seating and the number of stops between destinations. From the US you may be able to find the cheapest and shortest flights from New York's JFK Airport.
Where will I stay while in Medina Baye?
Most short term international visitors will be accommodated with lodging at the homes and guest houses of Imam Shaykh Tijani Cisse, Shaykh Muhammadou Mahy Cisse and Imam Muhammad Cisse. These homes are up to date with modern amenities, room service, free meals and round the clock security. CLICK HERE FOR A TRAVEL/LODGING APPLICATION See below for long term options. Those interested in staying independently during a short term visit may CLICK HERE TO VIEW LOCAL HOTELS.
Is it ok to visit with small children?
Here in Medina Baye it is absolutely permissable to visit with small children. In fact children under the age of ten would benefit most from the beautiful Islamic culture, the multiple languages taught and spoken, the wisdom of the Shaykhs and the all around experience of this spiritual place.
Is it ok to visit as a single woman?
Yes, we welcome all believers male and female to visit and experience our city. Single sisters are accommodated with the utmost care and privacy within the guest homes of the Shaykhs or within the quarters of their wives. Sisters are always welcome to attend the Mosque for prayer and other services and we make every effort to accommodate any special needs you may have.
Who takes care of un-escorted children?
Year round we care for hundreds of un-escorted children from around the world who come to Medina Baye for Quran school and other academic programs. These children are cared for by the Shaykhs and the institutions of Medina Baye. Based on the family's desires children are lodged with other student roommates at the Shaykhs' homes or within our AAII Boarding School.
What health conditions should I be worried about?
Travelers to Senegal are advised by international health professionals to receive all required shots and immunizations before visiting. During your stay you may experience traveler's diarrhea, heat rash and minor cases of Malaria. These illnesses can all be treated easily within our on-sight clinic, Shifa Al Asqam. We recommend visitors bring preferred medications from home as well.
How much money do I need to bring for expenses?
It is recommended that short term visitors lodging within the Shaykhs' homes be prepared to spend $100 per week for expenses such as laundry, snacks, bottled water, taxi rides etc. This amount may vary based on your desire to purchase clothing, keepsakes, and other miscellaneous items. For a full list of our detailed travel packages please CLICK HERE.
What long term lodging options are available?
For those looking to stay in Medina Baye longer than 6 months and would like to live independently, we may be able to assist with the finding of apartments, houses, and land on which you can build a home of your choice. Apartments and rental homes with modern amenities cost on average between $175 and $350 a month. For a full list of relocation costs CLICK HERE.
What is the best time of year to visit?
Medina Baye is beautiful and fully functional all year round. Our slowest time of year is during rainy season which runs from mid June to early September. Our busiest times of year include Eid Al-Fitra, Eid Al-Adha, Ramadan and the Mawlid Al-Nabi, all of which are calculated based on the Islamic calender with sliding dates annually. There is never a "bad" time to visit.
Do people in Medina Baye speak English?
Medina Baye is a diverse melting pot of students and scholars alike from all over the world. Even though Senegal is a French speaking country with many tribal languages including Wolof, there are many English speaking residents and visitors in Medina Baye as well. Currently Medina Baye has English speaking residents from Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and over 2 dozen students and volunteers from the United States of America.
What kinds of leisure activities should I expect during downtime?
During down time our visitors, guests and residents spend time playing soccer, training at local facilities, studying Quran, Arabic and Fiqh in groups, shopping in one or more of our 3 local markets, visiting the local beach or relaxing on the peaceful ranch known as Cosi "KOSSY" Atlanta. In addition our program offers shuttled tours of the city's sites and landmarks for you convenience.
Do I have to be Muslim to visit Medina Baye?
No, Medina Baye welcomes visitors from all faiths and backgrounds to experience our city and learn from its scholarly teachings. However we do ask that all visitors respect the Islamic way of life here and adhere to a modest dress code in and around Medina Baye, particularly the Mosque and homes of the Shaykhs. We encourage you to ask questions for clarity on anything you don't understand.
What kind of clothes should I pack to wear?
The best clothing for the climate and lifestyle of Medina Baye is actually clothing made and sold here and we encourage you to patronize our local tailors and merchants for appropriate local attire. Otherwise we advise visitors to pack light weight, loose fitting items for comfort in the heat. Sisters should pack less pants and more modest skirts and dresses. Adult brothers and sisters should avoid wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, ball caps, sheer or see-through materials and anything with derogatory images or text on it.
EXPERIENCE MEDINA BAYE
The city of our (spiritual) father