- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Senegal because of the threat of criminal activity and civil unrest. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- There is a general threat from terrorism in Senegal, after recent attacks in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso.
- Public demonstrations are common in Senegal. You should avoid large gatherings and political rallies as they may turn violent. Likely places for demonstrations, including government buildings and other public areas, should be avoided.
- In October 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Senegal had ended (WHO Disease Outbreak News).
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the Casamance region of southern Senegal, except Cap Skirring, Ziguinchor and the main road connecting the two cities, where you should exercise a high degree of caution. The security situation in Casamance is unpredictable with the possibility of clashes between separatist rebels and government forces. There are landmines in some parts of the region And armed bandits operate in the area. If you do decide to travel to the Casamance region, you should exercise extreme caution.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Senegal. The Canadian Embassy located in Dakar provides consular assistance to Australians in Senegal. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana can also assist Australians.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Senegal for the most up to date information.
Senegal is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Senegal. Failure to present a certificate can result in detention in a quarantine facility and/or mandatory vaccination at the point of arrival, at the expense of the traveller. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.
Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
Civil unrest/political tension
Public demonstrations are relatively common in Senegal. You should avoid large gatherings and political rallies as they may turn violent. Likely places for demonstrations, including government buildings and other public areas, should be avoided.
We advise you to avoid unnecessary travel to the border with Guinea due to conflict and military activity in this region, where there is a high number of displaced persons and refugees.
Casamance region: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the Casamance region of southern Senegal, other than to Cap Skirring or Ziguinchor. The security situation in the Casamance region is unpredictable. Armed clashes between separatist groups and Senegalese Government forces have occurred. Landmines have been used in the region and the ongoing conflict has resulted in displaced people and the loss of lives. Armed bandits are known to operate in the area and travellers have been attacked.
We recommend that you exercise a high degree of caution in Cap Skirring and Ziguinchor. If you travel to Cap Skirring or Ziguinchor you should do so directly by air, sea or only on the main road between the two locations. If, despite our advice, you decide to travel elsewhere in the Casamance region, you should only travel during daylight hours.
Pickpockets, bag snatchers and scam artists are particularly active in large crowds. Muggings and robberies are common in the restaurant district of Dakar (La Petite Corniche), along the Corniche d’Ouest, Dakar's Leopold Senghor International Airport and the restaurant area of St Louis. Criminals are known to target foreigners. The risk of becoming a victim of crime increases at night.
Reports of violent crime, such as robberies and muggings at knifepoint, have increased, particularly after dark along the Corniche d’Ouest. We advise you to be vigilant about your personal safety and avoid walking in isolated areas or along dark streets at night.
Commercial and internet fraud: Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity.
If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical assault from the perpetrators. Our international scams page provides more detail on these types of scams.
Bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes are operating from some African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, the Australian citizen may be asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. In some cases the relationship is terminated with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. In other cases, foreigners may be lured to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner and can become victims of crime including kidnapping, assault and robbery.
There is a general threat from terrorism in Senegal, after recent attacks in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Westerners have been kidnapped in countries bordering Senegal. While no Westerners have been kidnapped in Senegal, you should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times and avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas, particularly to the areas bordering Mali and Mauritania. For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnapping Threat travel bulletin.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Money and valuables
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels in Dakar and travellers' cheques can be exchanged at most banks. There are ATMs in Dakar but credit card fraud is prevalent.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online, or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
The standard of public transport in Senegal is poor. Ferries, in particular, are often dangerously overcrowded.
Driving in Senegal is dangerous due to poor driving standards and vehicles that are not roadworthy. Overland travel is unsafe due to poor roads and inadequate lighting, especially at night. Pedestrians and animals on the road pose additional safety risks. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Landmines are a danger in the Casamance region, particularly along the border with Guinea-Bissau. Armed bandits also operate in this area and travellers have been attacked.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Senegal.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Senegal, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Senegalese authorities can ask to see personal identification at any time. Failure to produce identification when requested may result in detention. You should carry personal identification at all times.
Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs can result in severe penalties, including long jail sentences. See our Drugs page.
Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are severe and include imprisonment.
Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include fines and imprisonment. See our LGBTI travellers page.
There are strict customs regulations and clearance required for bringing in items such as auto parts, computers and computer parts, stereo equipment and video cameras. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Senegal for more information.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in mid-June 2015. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan travel bulletin.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Senegal.
Information for dual nationals
While the government of Senegal recognises dual nationality, officials may place restrictions on the ability of Australian officials to provide consular assistance to Australian/Senegalese dual nationals if they are detained or arrested. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Australian/Senegalese dual nationals may be liable for civil/military obligations. Before travel, Australian/Senegalese dual nationals should check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Senegal.
Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities in Senegal are limited, especially outside the capital, Dakar. Most doctors and hospitals will expect immediate cash payment for medical care. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could exceed $A100,000.
Senegal is listed by the WHO as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Senegal. A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.
Malaria is also endemic throughout the year in Senegal. Other mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever, can occur in the region. We encourage you to take prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, leptospirosis, meningitis, tuberculosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
One case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was confirmed in Senegal in August 2014. In October 2014 the WHO declared that the EVD outbreak in Senegal had ended (WHO Disease Outbreak News).
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
Tourist police can be contacted by calling (221) 33 860-3810. The numbers for the general police hotline are 800-00-20-20; 800-00-17-00 and 33-821-2431.
To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly.
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Senegal. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy located in Dakar, provides consular assistance to Australians in Senegal. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The address is:
Canadian Embassy, Dakar
Corner of Gallieni and Amadou Cisse Dia Streets
Telephone: (221) 33 889 4700
Facsimile: (221) 33 889 4720
You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana:
Australian High Commission, Accra
2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Telephone: (+233) 302 216 400
Facsimile: (+233) 302 216 410
See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Senegal, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above Embassy or High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season is July to September when flooding may occur and road conditions deteriorate.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: