Kaolack is a large market town in the Kaolack region of Senegal. Kaolack has a population of 172,305 people (2002 census) on the north bank of the Saloum River and the N1 road in Senegal. It is the capital of the Kaolack Region, which borders The Gambia to the south, and is located 95 miles from the Capital, Dakar.
Kaolack hosts its own culture which includes a culture rich in food and hospitality. Due to its proximity to the Saloum River, fish comprised an important part of the diet with one of the most popular traditional dishes, Tchepujen. This fish and rice dish comes in two forms; red and white, with the red traditionally containing more tomatoes and spice. Ataya is also a vital part of culture in Kaolack, due to the heat many people prefer to stay outside and prepare traditional Senegalese tea which is a mixture of green tea, mint and sugar. The preparation of which is a spectacle in itself and tea is taken very seriously.
Kaolack is an important regional market town and is Senegal’s main peanut trading and processing center. Peanut production and harvesting forms a majority of business in the Kaolack region as well as the market. The market is the largest covered market in West Africa so regardless of what you’re looking for Kaolack market with probably have it somewhere amounts its narrow roads and tightly packed stalls. There is a peanut oil processing plant with its own port facilities in the downstream suburb of Lyndiane, while Salt pans across the Saloum River constitute the city’s only other major industrial activity Kaolack market is the largest covered market in West Africa. Even after the end of the slave trade in Senegal Kaolack maintained its role as an important trading point for goods but nowadays is more well known for its peanut and salt production.
As the center of Ibrahimiyya branch of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order founded by Ibrayima Ñas, it is also a major center of Islamic education. Kaolack like many parts of Senegal plays host to many Maribous and is home to many Talebei who are young boys that study the Quran under the guidance of the Maribous. The Talebei boys are an integral part of the Kaolack community as they share meals with local families and can be found on any given street. Religion isn’t only reflected in the social community of Kaolack but also plays a vital role in local architecture with a range of mosques with their own character and styles an example of which is the Medina Baay mosque in Kaolack which is one of the largest and best known in Senegal.