Travelling to Senegal
Travel, transportation and traffic
The best time to travel is in the cooler months from November to May. The tourist infrastructure is well developed and a large number of European airlines and charter flights (these primarily from France) land in Dakar.
The Au-Senegal site should be mentioned again as a French-language treasure trove for hotels, restaurants and general tips, information in English is available, for example, in Lonely Planet.
Traffic and driving style take getting used to. The traffic in Dakar is loud and chaotic and traffic rules are rarely observed. The endless traffic jams that were the order of the day for many years have fortunately become rare thanks to the new road infrastructure built under ex-President Wade.
The condition of the interurban roads is often poor, even if in recent years increased efforts have been made to expand the road network. Unfortunately, the renovation and maintenance measures are often of poor quality. It is not advisable to drive overland during the night: accidents often occur due to unlit vehicles or donkey carts.
Traveling by land to Casamance via Gambia is not recommended, and also from all non-essential journeys via the N4 (Transgambienne) to the west of Casamance. In June 2009 the governor of Casamance issued a night driving ban (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) for the N4 and N5.
There are numerous car rental agencies. A large selection of used cars (private sales) can be found here.
The public transport is used mainly on the street instead: in Ndiaga-Ndiaye (32 seats) or in sogenannten 7-Places, converted Renault 504. Drive until when they are full, the departure points are located in cities to the “gares routières “- for the gares routières in the larger cities, travelers need good nerves to defend themselves from all the helpful hands, intermediaries, guides and hawkers. The fares are fixed. The days of the popular minibuses (“cars rapides”) traveling on fixed routes are numbered. These should give way to the more modern bus system.
The vehicles are often in a pitiful condition – West Africa was and is the junkyard of Europe – and in August 2003 a law was passed prohibiting the importation of vehicles over 5 years old. Macky Sall has announced, however, that this regulation will be abolished again.
Does everyone get a place too
Buses are also slowly becoming more common.
The only notable railway line is the Dakar – Bamako connection, which is currently closed.
Today the Casamance is again connected to the rest of the country with a regular ship connection, which incidentally was set up with German help. The “Aline Sitoé Diatta” (after a heroine of the anti-colonial resistance from the Casamance) connects Dakar and Ziguinchor twice a week.
There are also daily flight connections Dakar – Ziguinchor.
An original way to get to know the country is by bike, there are occasional guided bike tours by a small German tour operator.
With children in Senegal
The Senegalese are very child-friendly and it is very pleasant to live in the country with children.
Although there is no German school in Senegal, the range of kindergartens and schools in Dakar is diverse and of high quality. There are French and American schools in international school systems.
The security situation for foreigners
The security situation in Senegal is generally quite good and you can move around very freely. You should of course observe basic safety precautions and not wear valuables and jewelry openly on your body. An increase in armed robberies and break-ins can be observed in the capital. The security situation in Casamance is a special case. Before traveling to this region, you should definitely inquire about the current security situation.
In any case, European citizens should register in the crisis prevention list of their home country, such as Germany.
The travel and security information from the Federal Foreign Office and the US Department of State provide information on the current situation.
Telecommunications and internet
Cyber café in Dakar
In Senegal, the telecommunications sector was revolutionized by the introduction of mobile communications. While the expansion of the fixed network is stagnating, today you can be reached by mobile phone even in the most remote parts of the country and Senegal has one of the highest mobile phone user densities in Africa. In addition to the largest provider Orange, these are Tigo (24% market share) and Expresso (22%).
In 2007 the telephone numbers were changed, the previous seven-digit numbers were prefixed by two numbers, depending on the provider. If you come across old phone numbers, you just have to put the corresponding digits in front.
For calls from Germany it is worthwhile to compare cheap call-by-call providers.
As one of 16 countries located in Western Africa according to historyaah, Senegal was also a pioneer in terms of internet use in West Africa. The number of users has undergone rapid development: while 0.1% of the population was specified as users in 2000, it was 15.7% in 2011 and almost 60% of the population at the end of 2019.
The density of Internet cafés, so-called cybercafes, in the cities is high, the prices per hour are around 250 FCFA. In Dakar, the spread of internet cafés is even decreasing again, since internet access through mobile internet is becoming affordable even for less well-off sections of the population. In the cities you can easily get a house connection via ADSL.