(French: le Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal,
is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa.
Senegal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the
north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. The
Gambia lies almost entirely within Senegal, surrounded on the north, east
and south; from its western coast, The Gambia's territory follows the Gambia
River more than 300 km inland.
Cape Verde islands lie some 560 km (348 miles) off the Senegalese coast,
but Cap Vert is a peninsula near Senegal's capital Dakar, and the western-most
point in Africa.
Basic Travel Information by BASEM AL-GHONEIMY
Local time is GMT.
Electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs
are in use.
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
Stomach troubles are the most common complaint with visitors to Senegal,
so travellers should watch what they eat and drink; do not drink untreated
tap water. Malaria is prevalent throughout the country and prophylaxis
is recommended for all travellers. A yellow fever vaccination is a requirement
for entry to Senegal; other recommended vaccinations include Hepatitis
A and B, 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 health insurance.
Larger hotels and restaurants usually include a service charge of 10 to
15% . Taxi drivers are not usually tipped.
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 should
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. Acts of homosexuality are illegal. Greetings are
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.
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 lunch.
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. The telephone system is one of the most
developed in Africa and there are numerous telephone centres for making
both local and international calls. Two operators provide cell phone coverage.
Cyber cafes offer Internet connections in the main cities.
Free: 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; or gifts to the value of CFA 5,000. The import of spirits
is not duty-free.