Senegal is a welcoming country (La Teranga - the land of hospitality) but as in any large urban centre, robberies, assaults and burglaries can occur, day and night. These criminal acts mainly target property. During your stay, it is advisable to take all necessary precautions to keep travel or identity documents and cash in a safe place.
It is therefore recommended that you:
- not carry objects that could attract attention (jewellery, luxury watches, PCs, valuable smartphones, cameras, handbags or shoulder bags, especially in the city centre and during cultural or other gatherings);
- refrain from driving with open windows and unlocked doors;
- not walk at night in poorly lit or little frequented streets;
- not get involved with an unknown person who has a friend in Belgium and asks for your help;
- make a copy of your passport rather than carrying the passport itself;
- prevail good manners in all circumstances. It is strongly advised not to make derogatory comments even if you feel you are the victim of a misdeed. Under no circumstances should you verbally or physically assault someone.
In the context of the recent attacks that hit certain countries in the ECOWAS zone, the regional terrorist threat to West African countries, including Senegal, must be taken into account. Road and identity checks by the gendarmerie or police have been stepped up, particularly on the main roads in Dakar and in tourist areas. It is recommended that you carry identification and a copy of your passport (including the entry stamp) and that you comply with these controls with the strict respect due to the police. In general, it is advisable to submit to all controls at the entrance to public spaces.
In the event of assault and/or theft, it is recommended that you file a complaint with the local police or gendarmerie, have a doctor look at any injuries and inform the Embassy of Belgium.
It is essential to wash your hands well several times a day (think about this when you pick up bread, biscuits or any food with your hands). Tap water should be considered generally undrinkable. Always protect yourself from mosquitoes (use a mosquito repellent with DEET, sleep under a mosquito net, wear long clothes).
Medical facilities are of variable quality and usually do not offer the same level of services as in Belgium. All modern hospitals are located in Dakar, which does not mean, however, that they are equipped for all medical interventions. Find a list of recommended hospitals, pharmacies and dentists in the subtab 'Hospitals and doctors'.
It is strongly recommended that you take a travel insurance which also covers medical repatriation. Take copies of your contracts and make a separate note of all your policy details and important call numbers.
Vaccination against yellow fever (at least 10 days before departure) is required for all travelers, especially for travelers from countries where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission. However, given the existence of active circulation of the virus, it is recommended to be up to date with the yellow fever vaccination. Hepatitis A vaccination is also recommended for all travellers. Please read the guidelines given by the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp before departure (see download document at the bottom of this page).
In practice, checking of the vaccination booklet upon arrival at Blaise Diagne International Airport is rare. If you have a booklet with the vaccine, it is always better to have it with you.
Medicines commonly used in Belgium may not always be available or will be sold under a different name. If you are in poor health and need to take a large quantity of medicines or single-use syringes with you, ask your doctor to draw up a list, preferably in French. This will avoid difficulties at customs. Finally, keep your personal details, including your blood type and possibly a document specifying the substances or medicines to which your are allergic, with your identity card or passport. If you wear glasses, it is best to bring a spare pair with you, as well as a prescription from your ophthalmologist.
Current COVID-19 measures
The health control measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted as of 10 November 2022.