Senegal - Consular Information Sheet
August 17, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Senegal is a developing West African
country. Facilities for tourists are widely available, but they
vary in quality. The capital is Dakar.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is
not required for stays of less than 90 days.
Several types of items -- including computers and computer parts,
video cameras and players, stereo equipment, tape players, auto
parts, and various tools and spare parts -- cannot be brought
into Senegal without clearance by Senegalese customs officials.
Airport customs officials will hold such items if brought in as
baggage or carry-on luggage.
Travelers should obtain the latest information on customs and
entry requirements from the Embassy of Senegal, 2112 Wyoming Avenue
N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008, telephone (202) 234-0540. Overseas
inquiries should be made at the nearest Senegalese embassy or
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Dakar advises
U.S. citizens to defer travel to the Casamance region of southern
Senegal due to incidents involving Casamance separatists. There
has been an increase in fighting between Casamance separatists
and the Senegalese military, and a number of Senegalese military
personnel, separatists and civilians have been killed. U.S. Government-affiliated
personnel near the affected areas have temporarily relocated out
of the area pending further developments. U.S. Government personnel
are subject to restrictions on travel to the Casamance area. U.S.
citizens contemplating travel to the Casamance area are urged
to contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar for the latest travel and
Road travel between Mauritania and Senegal is restricted to
several designated border crossing points, and long delays at
the border are normal.
Due to the potential for violence, U.S. citizens should avoid
political gatherings and street demonstrations, and maintain security
awareness at all times.
CRIME INFORMATION: Street crime in Senegal poses moderate
risks for visitors. Most reported incidents involve pickpockets,
purse snatchers and street scam artists, who are especially active
at events that draw large crowds or when international meetings
occur. In Dakar, there has been a relatively high incidence of
purse snatchings and muggings in a popular restaurant area known
locally as "La Petite Corniche," located along a three-kilometer
stretch of coastal road in the southeastern part of the city.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. The pamphlets, A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa, provide useful information
on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on
travel in the region. Both are available from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Several hospitals and clinics in
Dakar can treat major and minor injuries and illnesses. There
is inadequate inpatient psychiatric care, though there is very
good office-based psychiatry. Public hospitals do not meet U.S.
standards, but several private clinics are at the level of small
European hospitals, and approach U.S. community hospital standards.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of physicians and other health
care professionals who may see U.S. citizen patients. The Embassy
does not guarantee their services or recommend any of the physicians.
Medical facilities outside Dakar are limited.
French medications are far more readily available than American
drugs, and the limited selection of American drugs in stock are
often listed under the French trade name. Medications may be obtained
at pharmacies throughout Dakar and in other areas frequented by
tourists, and are usually less expensive than in the United States.
Travelers should carry a supply of any needed prescription medicines,
along with copies of the prescriptions, including the generic
name for the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide for payment of medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you
incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including
overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's international traveler's
hotline at tel. 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the CDC
Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions, which differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Senegal is provided for general reference only
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Road conditions in Senegal range from adequate to poor. Travelers
should remain on the major hard-surfaced routes and drive during
daylight hours only. Paved roads link most major cities but are
often in poor repair. Drivers should expect to encounter stretches
of roadways with potholes and other obstacles. Rural roads range
from well-maintained dirt and gravel routes to sand tracks. Traffic
accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in Senegal.
Visitors who drive should take the time to learn local traffic
rules and drive defensively. Visitors should be cautious when
using public transportation, particularly if the vehicle appears
to be overcrowded and/or poorly maintained.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Senegal's Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Senegal's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 618-229-4801.
Air Afrique operates direct commercial service from Dakar to
New York four times a week. Every summer, the U.S. Embassy receives
reports of U.S. citizen travelers and others who are denied boarding
due to overbooking on their scheduled Air Afrique flights to the
United States. Air Afrique passengers, particularly those traveling
on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, should make flexible travel plans
during the months of June through September. Occasionally, checked
baggage is delayed significantly. Travelers should include essential
items such as medicines, toiletries and a change of clothing in
their carry-on luggage.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Senegalese law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Senegal are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR NOTIFICATION AND ACCESS: The U.S. Embassy does
not always receive timely notification by Senegalese authorities
of the arrest of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens are encouraged to
carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so
that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and
U.S. citizenship are readily available. If arrested, U.S. citizens
should always ask to be allowed to contact the U.S. Embassy. (Please
see the section on Registration/Embassy Location below.)
CURRENCY ISSUES: Travelers cannot obtain cash from ATM
machines in Senegal. Travelers can obtain cash and/or traveler's
checks through international credit cards, such as MasterCard,
Visa, and American Express, by presenting their credit card at
a local financial institution sponsoring their card.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption of children, international parental
child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues,
please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens living in
or visiting Senegal are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy
at Avenue Jean XXIII, Dakar, and to obtain updated information
on travel and security in Senegal. During business hours, U.S.
citizens should call tel. (221) 822-4599. The mailing address
is B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal. The telephone number is (221) 823-4296;
after-hours (221) 823-4604.