Foreign nationals are not subject to entry restrictions when entering Senegal. You should still check with your airline before travelling what documentation you will need to carry with you.
The Senegalese Embassy has now stopped issuing letters of support for foreign nationals to enter Senegal, as they are no longer required. You will be asked to fill a ‘Public Health Passenger Locator’ and a Public Health form at check-in or on board the flight. Airlines request passengers to fill in a locator form at check-in.
To enter Senegal individuals over 2 years old must provide either a negative PCR COVID-19 test dated no more than 72 hours earlier, issued in the country where you started your trip and authorised by that country, or a recognised health organisation or a vaccination certificate with QR code issued by the health authorities of the country of vaccination. For those who cannot prove vaccine status, including children over 2 years, a negative PCR test remains necessary for entry into Senegal.
Senegal’s Ministry of Health have said the vaccination certificate, also called a “Pass Sanitaire”, should certify that the individual has received the required doses of vaccine at least 14 days before the date of travel. Only vaccines approved by the World Health Organization are accepted. You should arrange to take a private test.
Demonstrating your COVID-19 status: Senegal will accept the proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. Your appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
Internal Restrictions :
*Travel in Senegal: There is currently no restriction on travel between regions, and authorisation is not needed to travel between regions. Internal flights have also restarted. All interregional bus services have resumed. No restrictions are expected in the short term.
Masks must be worn at all times in public areas and when travelling, including in a private car if there are two or more people in the car.
*Accommodation: Hotels are open. (accommodation information)
*Public places and services: Masks must be worn in all public areas throughout Senegal, including in supermarkets, on public transport (which is still operating with reduced capacity), in taxis, and when on public streets.
*If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there. (covid-19 information)
As of May 1, 2015, the biometric visa fee has been eliminated by the state. Only a valid passport will be required in addition to airline tickets. Click Here for more information.
How to get there ?
Major airlines offer direct flights from Europe, count on 500 € round trip, price varying according to the period of the year. Several charter companies also serve the destination, with stopovers.
You can also come to Senegal by road, through Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. The route is safe, but be sure to respect the administrative formalities required in each country.
When to go ?
All year round, if we consider that Senegal has more than 330 days of sunshine per year. However, there are two seasons:
The dry season (November to May): between November and February, temperatures are mild, even cool in January and February (Saint-Louis and Dakar), this is also the case for the ocean. From March to May, the climate remains dry but temperatures increase significantly, reaching more than 30 degrees on the coast (and more inland).
The rainy season (paradoxically called « wintering »). The temperature is the highest with a high level of humidity. This is the monsoon period, with more rainfall in the south than in the north of the country (but which generally only lasts a few hours). It is the best time to see green landscapes (especially in Saloum and Casamance), but some roads may be difficult to drive and some people will have to endure humidity levels unknown in European latitudes.
Currencies and exchange rate:
Senegal is a member of the African financial community (CFA). The CFA franc has a fixed parity with the euro.
1,000 FCFA = 1.524 €uros
1 €uro = 655.957 FCFA
You will be able to use your euro checkbooks and bank cards to withdraw money in almost all banking institutions.
Telephone and internet :
Phone code : +221
Senegal has an excellent telephone network. You will easily find telecenters for your phone calls or faxes and emails.
Similarly, cell phone networks cover most of the country and are of good quality, having allowed the country to considerably reduce the digital divide by adopting 3G and now 4G in urban areas. Three operators share the market, Orange, Expresso and Tigo, with offers by subscription or à la carte.
You will also find many cybercafés, both in the city and in the bush, with low-cost connections. Today, almost all hotels offer a free Wi-Fi connection.
Postal service and money transfer:
Senegalese postal services are reliable and you will find agencies throughout the country. The offices are open from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Additional services such as express mail or money transfers are offered.
Other money transfer organizations such as Wari, Western Union or Moneygram are present, you will even find them in the bush villages.
In addition to the recommended vaccinations and an anti-malaria treatment to be provided before departure, it is advisable to bring a first aid kit including the following items:
Intestinal antiseptic and antispasmodic treatments: Intestinal or gastric disorders are quite common and generally not serious, especially for the first few stays. Without becoming paranoid, be careful about what you eat and drink, demand capped drinks for example. Also avoid swimming in stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for bilharzia.
The basic kit: aspirins, disinfectants, bandages, tweezers (spines, sea urchins…) etc…
Note that as long as you are in the cities and tourist areas, it is very easy to find pharmacies in Senegal. They have the same products and medicines that you usually buy in Europe. For more choices, take advantage of your presence in Dakar.
As before every trip, make sure that your insurance policy covers your stay. In Dakar, there are agencies representing the main French companies.
Time difference :
Senegal is on GMT, which is one hour difference with France during winter time and two hours during summer time.
The Senegalese electrical network operates on 220 V and the plugs are with two round pins, as in France.
Haggling and tipping:
It is customary to leave a tip in a « modern » restaurant. This is not the case in the gargotes.
It is common and even essential to haggle, depending on the purchase to be made. It is important to see haggling as an act of exchange and social interaction, beyond the economic aspect. The more you discuss the price and the more time you take, the more you will get the respect of your interlocutor. One will haggle willingly with street vendors and small stores, like in the markets.
In the same spirit, a cab ride will be an opportunity to haggle (ask locals for an estimate of the « real » price). On the other hand, public transportation and long distance trips in a 4 or 7 seat cab have a fixed price.
Uses and customs :
Here are some elements of understanding that will allow you to have a successful stay:
Greetings : They are very important in Senegal. Generally speaking, the Senegalese are very courteous and friendly people, they expect nothing less from you.
We say hello all the time and to everyone, even to complete strangers. They will say « Hello, how are you? » or « Nanga def? (to which we answer « Mangi fi rekk ». It’s a good idea to use the famous « Salamaleikum » (to which one answers « Aleikum Salam »).
It is also customary to ask about family members (even though you do not usually know them). Also, the elderly are highly respected in Africa, so greet them with all due respect.
Meals: If you have the opportunity, share a meal with a Senegalese family, you will honor your host. First, wash your hands. The meal is usually eaten on the ground, on a mat (it is important to remove your shoes beforehand), with people gathered around the common dish. You can ask for a large spoon or a fork, no one will hold it against you. The right hand is used exclusively (the left hand is reserved for a completely different use…).
We start eating when the host says the famous « Bismilahi ». We usually drink only after the main course. If you are offered the best pieces, or the bones are removed from a piece of fish before serving it to you, it is a sign of respect for the guest.
It is noted that men usually eat before women and children.
Tea: The ceremonial of the famous Senegalese tea (Ataya) is very important. If you are invited to drink tea, it would be highly inappropriate to refuse. It consists of three successive glasses, which can take at least an hour to prepare. It is said that « the first is as bitter as death, the second is as sweet as life and the third is as sweet as love ».
Islam and its pillars: 95% of the population is Muslim, so Islam has a lot of influence on the way of life. Don’t be shocked when you see a person doing his ablutions in the street.
The five daily prayers punctuate the day. You will certainly hear the first call to prayer from the muezzin, relayed by loudspeakers, at 4:30 / 5 am. It is also not uncommon to have to wait for a salesman to finish his prayer before closing a deal. Similarly, if your cab driver, while driving, does not answer your questions and seems to be talking to himself in a low voice, it is simply that he is praying. In any case, be patient and respectful, never interrupt someone during their prayer.
As almsgiving is one of the five pillars of Islam, you will see many beggars, especially in the city. Do not hesitate to give a small coin when you can.
Dress code: You are going to visit a country where Islam is omnipresent, so it is advisable to respect certain rules of etiquette in matters of dress.
The fact of showing your legs (boys or girls) is not well seen by Muslims, so have outside the swimming areas a decent and not sloppy dress. Avoid shorts and mini-skirts.
Many Senegalese living in the big cities (Dakar, Saint-Louis…) are dressed in the Western way (especially those of Catholic faith). But the traditional dress remains in the majority, whether it is the boubou or the loincloth. To summarize, we can say that the dress, the hairstyle and even the wearing of jewelry respond to codes and are symbolic of the social class and age.