Senegal : Travel Information before you go!
Count on a flight time between 6.5 and 7 hours to Dakar which is 2,718 miles from London.
Leopold Sedar Senghor Airport is located 10 miles from the centre of Dakar. There is a shuttle service from the capital which will cost around 500 XOF. The taxi ride will cost you about 3,500 XOF by day and 5,000 XOF by night.
Senegal is generally a safe destination, except for in the region of Casamance. To get to Cape Skirring, which is also safe, the only advisable way to travel is to fly. In Dakar, beware of pickpockets while in the nature reserves, don't walk too far away from your vehicle and don't forget appropriate clothing for hiking.
French is the official language and while more than 10 languages are spoken, Wolof is the most common dialect.
Required travel documents for
British citizens require a passport valid at least 6 months after leaving the country, plus proof of onward journey.
92% of the population is Sunni Muslim. The traditional religions (animism) constitute only 6% of the population and Catholicism only 2%.
The currency is the CFA franc (XAF). Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted in larger hotels, while there are also a few cash machines (at the airport and in the larger cities) where you can withdraw cash. Euros, but not pounds can also be used as a means of payment, but remember to bring CFA francs in small denominations for daily expenses. Travellers cheques and cash can be easily exchanged. Banks are open during the week from 8:30am to 11:00am and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm.
Flying is a good way to save time on long distances (Dakar-Tambacounda or Dakar-Ziguinchor air links are available). If you take the train (to Saint Louis or Tambacounda), allow time for delays as the trains hardly ever keep to the scheduled times. You can also use coaches and 'bush-taxis' but be aware that you will not leave until the vehicle is full. If you want to visit the reserves, opt for a rental car (4x4). All you need is a national driver's licence. Most international rental companies are represented locally. Tarmac roads are of good quality and most mud tracks won't be a problem in the dry season. Watch your speed, which is limited to 15mph in the national parks.
The ferry shuttle between Dakar and Ziguinchor in Casamance was reopened in 2005. This service had been interrupted after a ship sunk there in 2002. It is now operated by the "Willis", a 462 passenger ship, on a rotation of two weekly return trips (departures from Dakar on Tuesdays and Fridays, and returns from Ziguinchor on Thursdays and Sundays). Allow 16 hours for the trip.
You must be vaccinated against yellow fever and have had anti-malaria treatment. Senegal is now listed in zone 3 for malaria, which represents the most severe. Get advice from your doctor before travelling. Vaccines against typhoid and hepatitis A and B are recommended. Do not swim in rivers and only drink sterilised or bottled water.
220 V, an adaptor is required.
Senegal welcomed approximately 500,000 visitors in 2009.
Taxes and tips
Most products and services are taxed at 20%. It is not the custom to leave a tip, except for luggage porters in hotels.
To call Senegal from the UK, dial 00 + 221 (country code) + 8 (Dakar and outskirts) or 9 (other regions) + number of the person you are calling. To call the UK from Senegal: 00 + 44 (country code) + number of the person you are calling (excluding the initial 0).