The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
Senegal is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located in western Africa along the Atlantic Ocean, its climate is tropical.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
An official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary. Vaccination is usually recommended if you’ll be traveling in areas where there is risk of yellow fever transmission.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 9 months coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. Note: This applies to airport layovers in these countries.
- Official Status: listed by WHO as a country where YF transmission risk is present.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2016) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the whole country. There is less risk from January to June inclusive in the central western regions.
- Recommended prevention: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: All.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: High.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum >85%, P. ovale 5%-10%, P. vivax rare.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
African trypanosomiasis, chikungunya, dengue, leishmaniasis, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick-bite fever, West Nile virus and Zika may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to ongoing security concerns, Australia (DFAT) advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to Casamance Region (except the towns of Cap Skiring and Ziguinchor and the main roads between them). U.S. (DOS), U.K. (FCO), and Canada (GAC) have no current warnings.
Risk of attack by transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in areas bordering Mali and Mauritania. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
Risk of kidnapping by terrorist groups exists in areas bordering Mali and Mauritania. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners).
Risk of violent crime (armed robbery and home invasion) and petty crime exists throughout the country, especially in Dakar (particularly in areas surrounding the Place de l'Independence, Petite Corniche, Corniche d' Ouest, and at Leopold Senghor International Airport) and in other cities.
Scams involving ATMs, credit cards, and false identity (such as criminals posing as prearranged drivers at Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport) have been reported.
Protests and demonstrations frequently occur throughout the country and have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities.
Senegal shares a northern border with Mauritania, and most of that border is unmanned and porous. Terrorist attacks involving member of Al-Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM) have occurred in Mauritania in recent years. The risk of kidnapping is significant for Western travelers in remote parts of the country. It is best to avoid unnecessary road travel in such areas.
Banditry occurs on main highways after dark, particularly in the central and eastern area of Senegal (including around Tambacounda and Matam), and also in the Casamance Region. Bandits often target RN2 (National Road) between Ndioum and Kidira and occasionally target RN1 between Kidira and Tambacounda. Travelers should avoid road travel in the Casamance Region to the west of Kolda, other than on the main road from Ziguinchor to Cap Skirring.
Aside from banditry, the Casamance Region of southern Senegal is dangerous due to the risk of clashes between separatist rebels and government forces, the presence of land mines in some parts of the region, and the unpredictable security situation.
Roads near the border with Gambia are not safe. There is also tension near the border with Guinea-Bissau.
Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators. Scuba dive only with personnel certified by PADI or NAUI, and use equipment only from PADI- or NAUI-certified dive operators.
Other Safety Threats
Bribe requests from border officials have sparked violent incidents at Diama, one of the official land border crossings into Mauritania. Travelers should not cross the Senegal River by private pirogue; to do so is illegal and dangerous.
Significant risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is > 24 per 100,000 population, the highest risk category. Carefully assess the safety of transportation options before any road travel. Speed laws are poorly enforced. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
The rainy season is from July through September. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Senegal
- United States: [+221] 33-879-4000; sn.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+221] 33-889-4700; senegal.gc.ca
- United Kingdom: [+221] 33-823-7392; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-dakar
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Senegal.
Senegal's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: ambasenegal-us.org
- In Canada: ambsencanada.org
- In the U.K.: [+44] 020-7938-4048
- In Australia: [+61] 03-9348-0466
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.