Practical advice for Senegal
GETTING TO SENEGAL
Regular, mostly daily, flights between Dakar and Brussels, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lagos Lisbon, Paris New York, Madrid, amongst other destinations.
TRAVELLING WITHIN SENEGAL
- The traffic in Dakar is heavy by day. By night, driving can be dangerous due to poor street and vehicle lighting.
- Although many roads in Senegal are of a good quality, the rainy season (July-October) can cause difficulties when travelling in the form of possible floods and landslides.
- Monitor the local security situation before travelling within the Casamance region.
GETTING AROUND DAKAR
Cheap, safe and everywhere. Taxis do not have meters, so negotiate all fares beforehand. Back up your bargaining skills by first checking with a local what a fair price might be. Also, make sure your taxi has the right change before departing, and leave a tip only if you think the service was good.
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SAFETY AND TRAVEL RISKS
Low risk, however incidents of petty crime and sporadic violent crime do occur.
- Be wary of pick pocketing and street crime in Dakar: particularly, around Place de l’Independence, the central area of the Plateau, the Western Corniche, and at the airport.
- Take all sensible precautions i.e avoid carrying valuables and walking alone after dark.
- Credit/debit card fraud is a major concern. Credit card fraud and related scams are prevalent, and due care must be given.
- West Africa is one of the world’s major hubs for internet scams. Be extremely cautious if you have received correspondence over the internet, i.e a job offer, a business partnership, or any request for a face-to-face meeting in Senegal – including from people who claim to be victims of various Western African conflicts (notably refugees from Sierra Leone) – or relatives of present or former political leaders.
Very low risk
Terrorism Threat Level
A low risk is present in the remote regions and border areas.
Official Travel Warnings
- Border Regions: anybody planning to visit the border regions of Senegal are encouraged to exercise additional caution.
- Casamance: Avoid non-essential road travel to the Casamance region west of the city of Kolda, except for the main road from Ziguinchor to Cap Skiring, which is often used by groups of tourists, and the main road north of the Guinea-Bissau-Senegal border from Sao Domingos to Ziquinchor (N4 bis, otherwise known as Route National 4 bis)
- Civilians living and traveling in the Casamance are sometimes targets of opportunity for bandits that operate in the area.
- Landmine explosions continue to plague inhabitants of the Casamance.
Do’s and Don’ts
Learn some basic phrases and greetings in Wolof, as perhaps not everybody will speak French.
Foreign women can expect to get many marriage proposals from Senegalese men. Handle this with a sense of humour – and caution.
Pull on your running shoes and join the crowds for a jog along the Corniche in the sea breeze. Enjoy stunning views of the ocean, mosque, cliffs (and many beautiful bodies)
Drink Attaya, Senegalese tea.