Senegal travel advice

We advise against road travel in the Casamance region to the west of Kolda, other than on, the main road from Ziguinchor to Cap Skirring which is often used by groups of tourists.

Safety and Security

Pick pocketing and street crime (including in taxis), occasionally involving violence, are common in parts of Dakar, particularly around Place de l'Independence, the central area of the Plateau, the Western Corniche, and the airport. You should take sensible precautions, avoid walking alone in the late afternoon and after dark and avoid carrying valuables in public.

The Casamance region of south-western Senegal (between the southern border of Gambia and the northern border of Guinea-Bissau) remains affected by incidents involving armed separatist groups and by incidents of banditry, particularly though not exclusively in the regions of Bignona and Sindian.

You should exercise caution if travelling in areas of Senegal near the border with the Republic of Guinea as there remains an increased military presence. Although the newly elected President of Guinea was sworn into office on 21 December 2010 and has formed a new government, this remains a volatile political period.

While some main roads are of good quality, other roads can be poor especially during the rainy season from July to October. Torrential rains can cause floods and landslides. You should monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season.

Driving standards are unpredictable. Some taxis and public mini-buses (“car rapide”) would not be considered roadworthy by European standards.

Traffic in the Dakar area is heavy and you need to take particular care and attention to avoid accidents. Driving after dark carries added hazards because of poor lighting both of streets and other vehicles. If you do have an accident you must contact the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene. In more remote areas outside of the main cities you may need to go direct to the nearest police station to report the incident there.

The political situation in Senegal is generally calm and stable. Strikes and demonstrations do occur, particularly around the University on Route de Ouakam and around the areas of Colobane and Medina. Recent demonstrations against planned amendments to the Constitution have also taken place in Central Dakar, including the Place de l’Indépendence where many banks, airline offices and restaurants visited by tourists are located. Some demonstrations, notably on 23 and 27 June have turned violent and resulted in the police using tear gas to break up groups of protesters. Demonstrations are usually announced a day or two in advance in the local newspapers and on local radio stations but they can also start at very short notice.

In the run-up to Presidential elections in February 2012 the regularity of demonstrations - both in Dakar and regional towns - may increase. You should be alert to this risk and avoid all demonstrations and protests.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws reflect the fact that Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Most Senegalese are Muslim. There is a strong tradition of tolerance of other customs and religions, but it is a generally conservative society. You are advised to dress and behave modestly in public outside the main tourist areas. Bars and restaurants usually serve alcoholic drinks but drunkenness is considered offensive. Kissing as a greeting is acceptable but kissing romantically in public is not.

There is no gay scene in Senegal and article 319 of the penal code states that “an indecent or unnatural act with an individual of the same sex is punishable by 1-5 years imprisonment”.

Entry requirements

UK passport holders do not need a visa to enter Senegal for periods of less than three months. Travellers should be aware of reports that European airlines have refused boarding to passengers travelling to Senegal who have not had either a return ticket to leave Senegal within three months or a longer-term Senegalese work/residency permit.

Passport validity - You must hold a valid passport to enter Senegal. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. However, it is always sensible to have a short period of extra validity on your passport in case of any unforeseen delays to your departure; we suggest six months. You do not have to wait until your old passport expires to apply to renew it. Any time left on your old passport when you apply will be added to your new passport, up to a maximum of nine months.


Health facilities in Dakar are reasonable but are limited in the rest of Senegal.

Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in Senegal, especially during the rainy season (July-October).

There are occasional outbreaks of cholera but if you take sensible hygiene precautions you are unlikely to be affected. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Senegal you should seek immediate medical attention.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Senegal and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.


You should take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling. This should include cover for medical treatment and evacuation, accidents, cancelled flights and stolen cash, credit cards, passport and luggage. Check for any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.

Credit cards are accepted in larger establishments that cater for tourists. You should be aware that a commission is added for their use. There are ATM facilities in Dakar, but banking facilities are sporadic in the rest of the country.
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