Senegal Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Senegal
How safe are Senegal?
Threat level: High
COVID-19 Situation in Senegal
Cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Senegal. International flights have resumed but land and sea borders remain closed until further notice, excepting the Senegal-Gambia border which has re-opened. International travellers must present a negative PCR test result on entry, taken no more than 4 days prior to travelling. As a result of the outbreak, wearing a facemask is mandatory in public transport, government buildings, private sector workplaces, shops and markets. To avoid contracting the disease, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, avoid public gatherings and unnecessary travel. For more information, please refer to our healthcare section.
Security in Senegal
The terror threat in Senegal is significantly high. The overall travel advice for Senegal is to not travel to the country without Close Protection. Intelligent Protection International Limited provides its clients with Security and Bodyguard services across Africa. If you are interested in these services for your travel to Senegal, please see our page: Bodyguard services in Africa.
The wider Sahel region of Senegal is particularly at risk from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other dangerous terrorist organisations. The country shares a border with Mali, where Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is principally based in the Sahara Desert. Boko Haram has also been known to recruit militants from the Senegalese population.
Senegal also has a high crime rate. This can range anywhere from pick pocketing to armed banditry. Overall it is a very high risk country and it is essential to take the recommended security measures during travel.
Recent security events
On the 7th of January 2018, an armed band killed 14 youth in an attack in the Casamance region of Southern Senegal while the victims were collecting wood in the Bayotte Forest.
On the 5th of August 2018, 4 Senegalese went missing in Boussoloum forest, Zinguichor while the victims were collecting wood.
Senegal has experienced some political unrest in recent years that has led to violent protests and rioting. You should avoid large gatherings and monitor the local media regularly.
Street crime is most common in Place de l’Independence in Dakar. Cases of pick pocketing and violent assaults of foreign nationals have increased in recent years. It is highly advised you do not walk alone at night as well as avoid travel by at night if possible. Foreigners are often attacked for their perceived wealth so keep expensive jewellery out of view.
The Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance often ambush cars along the Casamance region to the west of Kolda. The best overall travel advice for Senegal is that you should avoid travelling to this area after dark. The N4 and N5 roads in the Casamance region are closed each night from 18:00 to 06:00. Land mines and other unexploded ordinance also present a serious risk in this region - foreign nationals have been killed in isolated incidents involving land mines in the past.
Armed banditry is an issue in many areas of Senegal. Ambushes can be indiscriminate, but foreign nationals are thought to be high priority targets. Avoid travelling at night and travel in a convoy if possible.
Senegal's International Relations
Senegal enjoys excellent relationships with the United States, France and China. It is a member of the International Criminal Court, West African Economic and Monetary Union.
Travelling around Senegal
Torrential rains during the rainy season which runs from July to October can cause floods and landslides. It is important to consider this risk as it often leaves roads impassable or dangerous. Roads can be of poor quality at the best of times.
You can drive in Senegal with most national driving licenses. The license policy is very relaxed in the country as is the standard of driving required to get behind the wheel of any vehicle. Be cautious of unsafe drivers who do not consider other road users.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in Senegal
Police emergency: 17
Fire emergency: 18
Medical emergency: 15
Religion: Islam and Christianity
Currency: West African CFA franc
Time now in Dakar:
Consular information for Senegal
Route des Almadies,
Telephone: +221 33 879 40 00
Telephone: +221 33 823 73 92
Visa requirements for Senegal
Visas for Senegal are not required by nationals from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and EU members. A passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all nationals as well as a return plane ticket. You may also require a yellow fever vaccination certificate depending on what country you’ve entered from.
Cultural advice for visiting Islamic countries
If you have never visited an Islamic country before, you maybe have some unanswered questions the culture, what you can wear and general dos and don'ts. Intelligent Protection International Limited is highly experienced at working in Islamic countries and has done so for the past decade. We have written a guide that will help you understand what is culturally acceptable and hope you find it useful. See our page: Guide to Islamic culture for travellers.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Senegal are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get a Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.
There is a risk of Yellow Fever across the country so travellers may want to consider the vaccination. If you are arriving from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will have to provide a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
It is highly advised to take antimalarial medications during any travel to Senegal, even if it isn’t the rainy season as the risk of Malaria is high. Take further preventive measuress to avoid mosquito bites, such as using a mosquito net and a mosquito repellent spray, as there is a risk of Dengue and Zika virus transmission in Senegal with no vaccination or medication against both diseases.
Health facilities in Dakar are reasonable but are limited in the rest of Senegal. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance, in case you require evacuation.