Is Senegal Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Senegal
Safety Index:
45
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
76
* Rated 76 / 100 based on 15 user reviews.

Senegal is a country located in Western Africa, that shares its borders with Guinea-Bissau to the south, Guinea to the southeast, Mali to the east, and Mauritania to the north, and it has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Senegal has a reputation of being West Africa’s most stable country, but that doesn’t make it a boring destination, though.

Expect to have a wild time in the capital’s dizzying atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, and then just sink into the relaxing life and serenity of nearby Île de Gorée and the beaches of Yoff and N’Gor.

In northern Senegal, the gorgeous city of Saint-Louis, known for its unique colonial architecture is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

It is also very nearby Senegal’s picturesque national parks, and this isn’t something you’d want to miss as one of the things Senegal is actually known for is its astounding biodiversity, including hundreds of bird species.

Warnings & Dangers in Senegal

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: HIGH

Generally speaking, Senegal is not the safest country to visit. It has extremely high crime rates, of both violent and petty crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something wrong happening.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: HIGH

It is advised that you avoid public transport in Senegal due to high levels of crime and armed robberies in crowded places such as bus or train stations, and on public transport as well. Always opt for hiring a taxi from a reputable company instead of hailing one on the streets.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH

There is an extreme threat of petty crime in Senegal, as in the majority of countries in West Africa. Never carry your money in a purse or a back pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, or flash your credit cards around ATMs. Many thieves have a tactic of grabbing you by your leg while the other one takes your wallet out of your pocket, so if you feel someone grabbing your clothes, focus on the person on the other side.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

As for natural disasters, Senegal is susceptible to many natural disasters like flooding, drought, land degradation, rising sea levels, and locust infestation.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: HIGH

Violent crime is common in Senegal so be extremely careful on the streets. Robberies and armed roadblocks are also known to happen. You might run into violent street vendors who will follow you for a few blocks. Be wary of people claiming that they have met you before. Many tourists have been led somewhere else and then robbed.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Senegal, as Senegal contributes to the UN peacekeeping initiative in Mali, which makes it a legitimate target by terrorist groups including Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and their associated groups. You should be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: HIGH

Be extremely careful with your cash while bargaining. There have been cases of street vendors quickly taking the cash out of your pocket and then claiming it is theirs. You have no way to prove that they're lying so this is a particularly tricky situation. Be wary of people trying to distract you in order to steal from you and of taxi drivers overcharging you for a ride.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM

Senegal isn't the safest place for a woman to be visiting alone. If you do, you should know that women are often targeted when alone on the streets or at beaches. Avoid remote streets as much as you can, both during day and night. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.

So... How Safe Is Senegal Really?

Apart from the fighting going on in the Casamance region of Senegal, between the government and the MFDC or Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance, which is why it would be wise to avoid this area, there is serious reason to be extremely vigilant on the streets of Senegal, as petty theft and violent crime are a severe issue in this country.

As for petty theft, pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and theft have been known to happen both on the street and in taxis, but you should be wary of pickpockets as such incidents can turn violent.

Violent crime is also something Senegal is notorious for and many tourists have reported being victims of an armed robbery at knifepoint.

Here, basic precaution rules apply: never flash your valuables and be vigilant in large crowds and markets.

When it comes to the places where crime is most prominent, you should be extremely careful on the streets of Dakar and the airport as well as areas such as Place de l’Independence, the Western Corniche and the central part of the Plateau.

Apart from those, Dakar’s restaurant district, called La Petite Corniche, and St.-Louis’ restaurant area, are all known for muggings and robberies.

Travelers are strongly advised against going out alone and must be extremely cautious of suspicious-looking strangers.

How Does Senegal Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Senegal45
Morocco54
Austria92
Croatia83
Italy77
Malaysia69
Finland86
Spain83
Botswana77

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Most countries don't need a visa to travel to Senegal. If you're planning on staying in Senegal for longer than 3 months, you'll need to register with the local authorities in order to obtain a 'Carte d'Etranger'. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.

Currency

Currency

West African CFA franc is the official currency in Senegal. All major towns have banks with ATMs while US dollars and euro are the most common currencies exchanged in the country.

Weather

Weather

Senegal has a tropical climate, characterized by hot and humid weather. It has a rainy season that lasts from May to November, during which you can expect strong southeast winds and a dry season that lasts from December to April, and is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind.

Airports

Airports

Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport is the busiest international airport serving Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It is located near the town of Yoff, north of Dakar.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Senegal, since it covers not only the costs medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Senegal Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 22° C
Feb 22° C
Mar 22° C
Apr 22° C
May 24° C
Jun 26° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 28° C
Oct 28° C
Nov 27° C
Dec 25° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
262525252629303031313028
Low
°C
181818192123252525252321
High
°F
797777777984868688888682
Low
°F
646464667073777777777370

Where to Next?

15 Reviews on Senegal

  1. Z
    Zhanette says:

    Senegal stop

    Our plane broke down there on a routine fuel stop. We all had to disembark with locals bringing personal pickup trucks to take our luggage somewhere. We knew not where. It was very sketchy and scary. The city folks eyeing us suspiciously as we were transported to a local hotel (which had such potential for uniqueness and beauty if only it had been clean! Yucky bathroom and spiders! ). I have to say tho … that the beach was simply gorgeous and the food very good. Getting back on our plane was a nightmare with the security folks throwing their weight around. Checked through all our suitcases two different times making us all feel like criminals. It took hours … Extorting money for fees and more. I was nervous the whole time and couldn’t wait to leave

    However, I realize If I was visiting locals it might’ve been a better experience all around.

  2. K
    Katherine says:

    Wonderful and safe country to visit

    I’m not sure which Senegal this article is about?! I’ve been to Senegal many times as a solo female traveller. I’ve never had any problems, I always felt safe. People are very friendly and helpful. I’ve walked on my own at night, taken taxis on the street – yeah the taxis are probably dangerous in that they never have seatbelts and road safety is pretty bad. But I’ve never witnessed any of this crime the article describes. The airport was also very professional, no harassment or any problems

    1. Thanks
      I really appreciate your honest input.

    2. thank you for sharing. Nice to hear a personal experience

  3. Safe and wonderful country

    Ok first of all, this website is completely incorrect and exaggerated. I am American and have been living in Dakar for 7 years and I feel safer walking around here at night than I do any city in the US. I live immersed in the Senegalese community (not the expat community) and everyone knows each other and I’ve never been mugged or felt unsafe or been out at knifepoint. This website makes Senegal look like a super dangerous country and it’s not at all. Just take basic precautions like you would in any city. I’d say the most “dangerous” thing that happens is some people take advantage of tourists who don’t understand how things work and overcharge them or pick pocket them. But I’ve never seen really violent crimes here. Watch the Anthony Bourdain episode on Senegal for a better representation of the country!

    1. Where is the best and safe place in Senegal for a first time visitor who’s an expatriate ?

  4. M
    Manadou says:

    Senegal is Not Dangerous

    This article I feel like is covering a country they know nothing about. If you know Senegal and visited, you would make it seem this bad and dangerous. People that have never been here, will automatically assume this is a bad country to visit based off this review and it’s not at all. I was born there and went back for vacation and never witnessed all of the negativity mentioned in this article. Every country has issues and stuff but I would say the U.S is far more dangerous than living in Senegal.

  5. Senegal is amazingly safe and beautiful and friendly

    This Person who wrote this is really misinformed and probably has never spent over a few days in Senegal!!! I was born and raised in the USA and lived in many states and have traveled to many countries and Senegal was the safest ive felt out of anywhere ive ever been!!! Not only are the people friendlier but literally night or day whether i was in Dakar , St Louis , Walo, Mbour , Saly , Popenguine, Nianing i was safe and the people were always so friendly!! Local bars were amazing and i even went to a few strangers houses after to smoke weed in Saly it was so much fun walking through there neighborhood at night and seeing the way they lived was an experience worth having!! This person was writing about a war torn country or something !! Maybe they mixed Senegal up with Somalia or something either way two thumbs down for whoever wrote this!!! I love Senegal its amazing and i reccommend every person go visit there and buy land there !!!

  6. z
    zhouzhou says:

    For African country it’s not that bad. crime exists everywhere in the world

  7. E
    Eddie D. David says:

    Love for Senegal

    I have never been to Senegal before but I love Senegal as my best country in Africa and the second best in the world.
    I hope to visit Senegal this December, 2022 along with my family. (Wife and daughter)

  8. S
    Stefanie says:

    Negative Experience

    It is true that crime happens everywhere but it is important to share our experiences to avoid other people going through the same situations. I have lived in Senegal for a year and, overall it has been a great time. Unfortunately, there is a high probability of getting robbed. Specially people breaking into houses. Someone broke into my house two months ago and stole all my devices, money, and other valuable things. Police did nothing. The officers themselves said that is a common crime in the city and it isn’t surprising that houses get broken in. IMPORTANT, if you are planing to travel to Senegal make sure the place you rent is secure and never leave any valuable item out of sight. Also double check that doors and windows are locked when you leave your apartment day and night.

    1. C
      Chouette says:

      That also happens in French cities too, honestly. They adapted this “lax on thieves” approach that the French have for whatever reason

  9. A
    Adja Ly says:

    I have been investigating this country for 20 years. In this country, thieves and swindlers are innumerable and some of them are protected judicially and in the media.

  10. A
    Anonymous says:

    Stay safe !

    Hello, If you are a foreigner, we advise you not to set up a company in Senegal. If you are a Senegalese or a foreigner and if your Senegalese company makes profits and if you don’t give money (in cash) to powerful politicians, you will have big problems with the tax authorities and with the justice system and with the thugs. Best regards, Iba.

  11. Be very aware and proyect your self

    I was attaked in the middle of the street in front of everyone only cause I Discover Someone that cheated me and still, he got mad at me cause I just discovered his real face.

    I went from Dakar to Cap Skirring stopping in different places. I have been cheated in most places.
    I took the bus from Dakar Airport to the centre and my couchsurfer says was 6000fca. For the time I took me to get there It was almost double price than Spain. Then, I got to know last years was a vessel, boat from Dakar to Cab Skirring for 5000 FCA so something doesnt fit.
    Zinganchor was crazy garage , bus station where they cheated me even un the Office and then, again in my way back, you said to them they are cheating you but then, they said its because you have to Pay for your backpack ( all lies )
    I was with 2 couchsurfers in Dakar with many positive references. Then, the First one that is always in the Pink lake I got to know by other Senegal person far away that he raped a Japanish girl 18 years old.. I went to his profile and then, I realized for more that I Saw all positive that he has 4 bad references despite 180 good that are Girls saying not recommend to a solo girl.
    He was interested not to show me anything but to help me to buy my card. 8000 or 7000 I cant remember but Its 1000 for the sim and every giga 1000. He says they put me 7g and It stopped in 2 days. My txt and card says 4 giga and It last nothing compared with the 2 time. I have him 3000 to buy 2 bread with omelette and chips. I did not see the change.
    2nd Cs It was fine except he was cheeky to ask me for sex at night. I thought to leave my backpack there and go for 1 day to Goree but cause of It I just left Next day with everything. After days he was asking me for a reference in Cs and I says you could do It too. He did not … As I Saw the poor room where he lived I paíd for everything. At the end I put a positive review but saying he was cheeky.
    Lately I Discover again under all his positive references he was one positive saying the same than the negatives that he was expecting the CS to pay for everything all the time and even one of the negatives says It was robbered by him.
    So for some Senegalés Couchsurfing is a way to get sex but thats internacional now because they do not care about what Cs is. And for some of Senegalés is a business with turist to get profit.
    Worst experience I had an agression in Toubakuta.
    I Contact Babacar CS. He had 4 references but one even positive was about to once more get money from Cs. I mention It and he was offended and arrogant. I was travelling at the end with a french Guy by car , another turist a met and he did not have anything booked and I spoke to him about Babacar. Still I wanted to get to know him by that wonderful reviews and to give a chance. He was giving me instrucciones about how to get there and…. the day we went going to Toubakuta I mention him the french Guy and that if maybe he could take him , too although the french Guy might be prefer a 🏨 with swimming pool.
    so everything on the Air. I say to Babacar we are getting there in 30′. He says to met him in a bar Next to him. Suddenly when we arrived he was not connected to internet. Just as well I have credit and I called him I asked him why he was disconnect if he knew I was very clóse then, he reply un rude way and the french Guy says I do not like that guy! I have to say he was a bit stress after driving during 5 hours , stopped by the police 3 times and the second time was have to Pay 10.000 cause of a corrupt police.
    We. Inter in the bar at the end to meet Babacar even if he wasnt very happy but as he did not have data he was Happy to get wifi in the bar. We Inter and the woman nice help us to get the passwords for the wifi. I asked for juice, tea and other things but … my travel partner come and says they want you to drink and the waiter appeared with 2 beers 12am. I said not and I gave It back. I did not know french! We were gonna be a few minutes waiting for Babacar so as they did not have more options than alcohol and the french was gonna drink the beer I thought was fine. The nice woman come saying angry that if I take wifi I was have to drink.
    I left saying I do not want anything and the french Guy followed me. He did not even touch the beer but It seems the waiter opened so she come as crazy saying we have to Pay outside in front of the car. People come around as we had done something. Nobody would understand me with not french and english almost nobody.
    It was in one moment a mess and we left. the french got nuts saying he is a quite person and that he wanted to invited me that It could have been dangerous for a bit of money.
    He left faster and shocked by the situation and start to say to me that in very stressful way.
    I asked him to stop the car, I got my suitcase and left as during the trip he says the police asked him for money cause travelling with a woman makes more vulnerable the man. A stupid him but he was keeping saying that no in Colombia, Favelas Brasil never happened to him , only in Perú when he was with her ex. He just made his silly stadistic so between that thing and then, saying to me I was not right that I was have to drink and not to …
    well, just when I was getting my backpack from behing appear Babacar.
    He says this Guy is unrespectful to Drive like that in my village. I explain what happened and I say well we can have a drink. He was giving the reason to the woman in the bar and took me to a place with 10 people in a circle. He was speaking his language with them and I was being a part as I did not understand anything. One was with a bottle of wine and this Guy Babacar I said to him I was leaving as he gave me such a bad impresión with his muscles and that really arrogant and stupid actitud like a completely prick. He had good English but saying I got an university and everything in rude and super arrogant way and this and the other…. It was 2 bad situations. So I found my self Alone in that town with no one knowing English.
    I went to a restaurant at the beginning of the town as soon as u get off from the main Road and I found Mamadu , the owner of the restaurant Who knew a bit Spanish.
    He helped me to get the boat I negociated It and a fisherman took me to see the nature
    +221 77 364 11 33 you can Contact him, he was fine and explain me about the places but with Google traductor.
    Next day I went to the restaurant of Mamadou, from 1 day to other he charged me double 3000 saying it was an special dish. It was the most simple thing I got in the whole trip.
    I trust of him to get me a taxi without cheating , 1000 for 10 min driving in 🛵 or less. I said to him It cant be that cause thats the price to the Gambia borders. He says yes cause Its a 🛵.
    Later on I got to know he cheated me with everything. i got a 🛵 to comeback cause I forgot something where I sleep and I wanted to buy water. It was 500 to go and comeback when the other was 1000 and he was saying it was the right price.
    of course if doesnt bother me a pair of euros but that people pretend to be helping you and being super friendly when they are ripping you off and ..
    its about some principales and respect.
    so in my way back I said to him in good manners that I knew he lied lier me with the prices.
    By the way but casuality this man, Mamadu was the uncle of the couchsurfer Babacar Who says to have had 1000 of Couchsurfers but then, why he had only 4 references. BECAUSE THEY DELETED THEIR PROFILE and start again…. to have clean references.
    so Mamadu , another snake with skin of goat. He became to say that I was crazy, that he did not cheated me , that he has much more money than me!!!! complex of inferiority.
    of course they have more money ripping off White people or turist all the time. they get a lot but the once that are poor dont get anything only this ones that have business and they get more related with turist plus with languages they manage better than others than only knows walof or french.
    He Saw me his other face and he was really bad… he says how much money I own you , get the change and … offering me to give me back but then he really did not wanted. He became so agressive talking that I said I was gonna call the police , he did not leave my driver to go with me in the back just blocking him in front of the motorcycle, then saying he was calling the police. of course in a small village , probably their Friends and other ocasión to get more money from a turist. Of course he could say whatever b4 than me and then, the police there I doubt they would speak English even one of them.
    I was tired of the crazy situation.
    Before to met him I say to the Cook why they charged me so much if because I am foreing they think I am stupid.. I was explaining the price and everything with Google and why was embarrasing I could see It. IT WAS JUST CLEAR HE REALLY CHEATED ME VARIOUS , he got 3 times business with me with different people and for sure he tales comisión too.
    They do that! Between one and the other , all they get.
    Well, I left the motorcycle and lots of people around from the neighbourhood.. I try to walk so he could leave my motorcycle Guy to leave Who It was asking him to leave me Alone and to leave him to go , same the people around.
    he come and grabbed me hangbag and pull It 3, 4 time. It got Broken then he grabbed me by the wrist. He was mád and everybody was trying to splitted Up him from me. I tried to move my arm but he was grabbing me so strong. A woman I guest his wife or sister was shouting him cause he did not leave me. He was agressive with her, and he keep me around 15 min like that with everybody trying physically to Split him from me and saying things to him… very at the end he left me cause he realized It was everybody againts what he was making me….
    People says here Its safe , well I have been in dangerous places like 3000 viviendas in Sevilla and more like that , really bad áreas but that I did not happened anything to you ,thats not mean you can Say or if safe. After being travelling all over the world, India, Irán, Israel, Palestine, Brazil, etc… the most dangerous situation I have lived was at night in Palermo and in one second could change everything.
    3 Spanish Girls were raped in Cossamance and It was with another Spanish guy. they were stopped at the Road and also they stealed lots of money.
    That was in 2018 and they were in a car , driving.
    Safe ? U have to be careful Who you trust here.
    All become really nice but They could be real assholes. See the writing of the exterior Ministery of ur country. some áreas in Spain are tagget as a very risky áreas.
    I got better impresión of the people in Gambia but still U did not have been in that beach places, lets see!
    Do not forget you are in AFRICA! Really nice people but lots of real besties and shit people.
    Senegal the country of the Taranga no, the place of the turist vampires.
    I felt the turist is totally unprotected and even police doesnt care or even worst they are corrupt lots of them.
    Also I have to say I travel as backpacker and I mix with locals. I did not go to expensive places for Turists.

Senegal Rated 3.8 / 5 based on 15 user reviews.

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