Threat level: High
The terror threat in Senegal is significantly high. 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
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. 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 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.
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.
Official languages: French Religion: Islam and Christianity Currency: West African CFA franc
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.
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.
Other health risks
It is highly advised to take anti malarial medication during any travel to Senegal, even if it isn’t the rainy season. 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.