COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Senegal travel advice
Latest updates: Editorial change.
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
SENEGAL - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Senegal due to levels of crime.
Safety and security
Casamance and border areas
The conflict in Casamance is historically characterized by clashes between the military and rebel groups. Periods of relative calm are followed by periods of conflict fuelled by mine explosions, direct or indirect attacks, robberies and attacks on businesses or villages.
Rebel groups operate sporadically on roads (often closed at night) and in areas close to the borders with Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, as well as unexploded explosive ordnance are found in many areas (North Sindian, Niassya, South Oussouye, Niaguis).
- Only travel overland during daytime
- Stay on the main roads
- Travel in a convoy when you can
- Hire reputable carriers or tour operators
Areas close to the borders with Mauritania and Mali, where jihadist groups are active, are at risk, as they may harbour external elements due to the porosity of the borders.
Senegal has not suffered any recent terrorist attacks. However, in the context of the regional terrorist threat to West African countries, including Senegal, attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, including:
- metal detectors
- security cameras
Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations are not completely free of risk.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are sometimes committed by thieves on motorcycles. The Gorée pier is a favourite spot for pickpockets. Remain vigilant when travelling, ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times, and avoid displays of affluence.
Don’t walk alone. Avoid walking along the Corniche road in the evening, especially on East Corniche (Petite Corniche) and on West Corniche. Avoid also lingering along the beach at the end of the day.
Home robberies and armed robberies occur frequently. In general, assaults take place early in the morning and after dusk.
Demonstrations and strikes
Strikes and demonstrations are common in larger cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
You must carry photo identification, as well as a certified copy of your passport, as authorities may conduct identity checks at any time.
Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated.
Main roads are in good condition, but travel after dark can be difficult because of poor lighting. Most secondary roads require a four-wheel-drive vehicle, particularly in the rainy season.
The presence of pedestrians and animals, bad driving habits and poorly maintained vehicles contribute to make local driving conditions difficult.
If you are involved in a road accident, stay at the scene and don’t move your vehicle until a police officer authorizes you to do so. However, if you do not feel safe or if there is a large crowd gathering, leave the scene and report to the nearest police station in order to avoid any conflict between the parties involved. The police may keep your documents for a few days, until the file is closed. It is therefore recommended that you carry certified photocopies that will be accepted by police.
- Avoid driving at night between cities
- Keep doors locked and windows closed
- Do not leave valuables in the vehicle
Taxis are often poorly maintained and the drivers may have poor driving habits.
- Use only officially marked taxis (yellow and black)
- Taxis do not have a meter. Negotiate fares in advance
- Avoid boarding a public transit vehicle if it appears to be overloaded or in poor condition
The Grand Magal of Touba
The Grand Magal of Touba is an annual pilgrimage that attracts a large number of pilgrims each year.
The next event should take place on September 3, 2023.
Before and during the pilgrimage, you can expect:
- higher volumes of traffic
- street closures
- transportation delays
- limited available accommodations
Be alert at all times if you travel to Touba during the pilgrimage.
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Cases of Internet fraud are reported. Be extremely vigilant, especially if someone:
- sends you an electronic request for funds
- makes you an online job offer
- offers you a business opportunity by email
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.
Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.
- Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
- Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Senegalese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Senegal.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days
Student visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days
Canadians can enter Senegal without a visa for stays of less than 90 days. A traveller arriving in Senegal without a visa who wishes to extend his or her stay will have to leave the country and re-enter afterwards or contact the Foreigner’s Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security to obtain a long-stay visa.
Canadians planning on staying in Senegal for more than 90 days must apply for a visa at the nearest Senegalese embassy or consulate. The visa allows the holder to stay in Senegal for 90 days so that steps can be taken to obtain a “carte d’identité d’étranger” (foreign national identity card) before the end of the period.
Foreign national identity card
To stay in Senegal for more than 90 days, you must obtain a foreign national identity card from the Direction de la Police des étrangers et des titres de voyage.
Direction de la police des étrangers et des titres de voyage – Ministère de l’Intérieur et de la Sécurité Publique (en français)
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 8 September, 2022
- Polio: Advice for travellers - 21 March, 2023
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 28 June, 2022
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Polio - Proof of vaccination required
Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are adequate in the capital, Dakar, but are limited elsewhere. Medical evacuation is often very expensive and may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.
It is prohibited to photograph government buildings, airports or other official facilities.
It is illegal and dangerous to cross the Senegal River by private pirogue.
Child sex tourism
Canadians travelling to Senegal for the express purpose of having sex with children or prostitutes should know that such activities are punishable with fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years.
Child Sex Tourism: It’s a Crime
Possession and importation of pornographic material is forbidden.
The laws of Senegal prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Senegal.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Dress and behaviour
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Senegal.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Senegal, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Senegal.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Senegal by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Senegal to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Some items are subject to strict customs regulations, including:
- auto parts
- computers and computer parts
- stereo equipment
- tape players
- video cameras and players
These items cannot be brought into the country without clearance by Senegalese authorities.
You must carry an international driving permit.
The currency in Senegal is the CFA franc (XOF).
Avoid exchanging large quantities of CFA francs for foreign currency at other than reputable exchange bureaus.
ATMs are widespread and reliable in Dakar, although withdrawal limits may be quite low.
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy season extends from July to October. Heavy rains and tropical storms during these periods can make roads impassable. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 17
- medical assistance: 15
- firefighters: 18
Dakar - Embassy of Canada
Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Senegal in Dakar and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
- Date modified: