Senegal country information and facts for travelers.

SENEGAL

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Senegal is a developing West African country. Facilities for tourists are widely available but vary in quality.

Passport and/or Visa 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 Consulate.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: U.S. Government personnel are subject to restrictions on travel to the Casamance area of southern Senegal due to incidents involving Casamance separatists. U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Casamance area are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar for the latest travel and security information.

Road travel between Mauritania and Senegal is restricted to several designated border crossing points, and long delays at the border are normal.

Political gatherings and street demonstrations have been known to occur. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and maintain security awareness at all times.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Street crime in Senegal poses moderate risks for visitors. Most reported incidents involve pickpockets, purse snatchers and street scam artists. Wallets, jewelry and other valuables are subject to theft, especially during times of international meetings or events that draw large crowds. 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: Medical facilities are limited, particularly in areas outside the capital, Dakar. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses 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's 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 only during daylight hours. Paved roads link most major cities but are often in poor repair. Drivers should anticipate stretches of 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 should use caution in using public transportation, particularly if the vehicle appears to be overcrowded and/or poorly maintained. Visitors who drive should take the time to learn local traffic rules and drive defensively.

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 Senegal9s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet Home Page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.

Air Afrique operates direct commercial service from Dakar to New York three times a week. Every summer, the Embassy receives reports of travelers, including U.S. citizens, who are denied boarding due to overbooking on their scheduled Air Afrique flights back to the United States. We recommend that travelers on Air Afrique flights during June through September make flexible travel plans, particularly if they are traveling on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties. They may wish to consider taking practical precautions against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer phenomenon. Monitor the homepage of the Department of State for updates on Y2K issues. See also the Government of Senegal's French language Internet home page on Y2K issues at http://www.primature.sn/an2000/.

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.

CHILDREN9S 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 or telephone (202) 736-7000.

EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens 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. The mailing address is B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal. The telephone number is (221) 823-4296.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated December 3, 1998 to update information on Areas of Instability, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Y2K Information and Children's Issues.

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