Information & Facts
In Senegal, it is expected of the visitor to dress formally.
Greetings are very important in Senegal and the visitor must ensure
that every member at the meeting is greeted and acknowledged at
least once. The shaking of hands is the standard greeting for men
and women in business. It is a good idea to be punctual even if the
host is not. Meetings can often take longer than anticipated and
patience may prove a virtue. Business is usually conducted in
French and a translator may be needed, although many Senegalese
businessmen will know some English. It is important to find out
beforehand how the contacts are to be addressed. Business hours are
generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over
The weather is generally hot and humid all year. There are two
seasons: the rainy season from June to October and the dry season
between November and May. Humidity is highest during the rainy
season and sea temperatures are warmer during this period. Rainfall
varies from 12 inches (300mm) in the extreme north to 59 inches
(1,500mm) in the far south, and although showers don't last very
long they can cause disruption to transport. Dry season
temperatures average between 72°F and 86°F (22°C and 30°C). Dakar
temperatures average 75° F (24°C) from January to March, 77° F to
81° F (25°C to 27°C) in April, May and December, and 86° F (30°C)
between June and October.
The international dialling code for Senegal is +221. The
outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g.
0027 for South Africa). No city/area codes are required. Senegal's
telephone system is one of the most developed in Africa, and there
are numerous telephone centres for making both local and
international calls. Mobile phone operators provide GSM 900 cell
phone coverage. Cybercafes offer Internet connections in the main
The majority of the population is Muslim and it is generally a
conservative society where dress and behaviour should be modest,
especially outside the main tourist areas. Public displays of
affection between men and women should be avoided, and acts of
homosexuality are illegal. Drunkenness is offensive. Religious
customs should be respected, particularly during the holy month of
Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited by the
Muslim faith; visitors should avoid eating and drinking in public
during this time.
Travellers to Senegal over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco or tobacco products;
perfume for personal use; gifts to the value of CFA 5,000. The
import of spirits is not duty-free, but travellers are able to
import one bottle of wine.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin
attachment plugs are in use.
Stomach troubles are the most common health concerns for
travellers in Senegal. Visitors should watch what they eat and
drink: do not drink untreated tap water. Protection against
mosquito bites is essential as malaria, dengue fever and
chikungunya fever occur; malaria is prevalent throughout the
country and prophylaxis is recommended for all travellers. A yellow
fever vaccination is a requirement for entry to Senegal if coming
from an infected area, but all travellers should be vaccinated
against yellow fever as a precaution; other recommended
vaccinations include Hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and typhoid.
Outbreaks of meningococcal infections occur and vaccination is
recommended for travel during the dry season (November to May).
Outbreaks of cholera also occur. There is a risk of bilharzia, and
visitors should avoid contact with stagnant, fresh water. Medical
facilities are good in Dakar, but are limited in the rest of the
country, and travellers should ensure they have comprehensive
The official language is French, but there are six other
national languages spoken, including Wolof, which is the most
widely used, as well as numerous other dialects.
The official currency is the West African CFA Franc (XOF), which
is divided into 100 centimes. The CFA franc is fixed to the Euro at
a rate of 1 Euro = 655.957 CFA francs, or 100 CFA francs = 0.152449
Euro, and only currency issued by the Bank of West African States (
Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest)is considered
valid. There are ATMs in Dakar, but banking facilities are limited
in the rest of the country. Credit cards are only accepted by major
establishments catering to the tourist trade, with American Express
being the most widely accepted; commission is charged. Travellers
cheques can be cashed in Dakar.
All visitors must either hold a return or onward ticket, or pay
a deposit to the airline approximately equal to the fare of a
ticket from Senegal to their country of origin (refundable on
request to the local Treasury before leaving Senegal) and all
documents for next destination. Passports must be valid for at
least three months on entry. However, it is highly recommended that
passports have at least six months validity remaining after your
intended date of departure from your travel destination.
Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated
by travel agents and official sources.
Most visits to Senegal are trouble-free, but street crime and
pick-pocketing, especially in Dakar, are common. Visitors are
advised to conceal valuables from the public eye. Travel by road in
the Casamance region west of Kolda is unsafe due to the activities
of separatist rebel groups and bandits, and should be avoided.
Local time is GMT.
Larger hotels and restaurants usually include a service charge
of 10 to 15% . Taxi drivers are not usually tipped.