Overland Senegal Travel
Currency to display:
- 1 Visiting Senegal
- 2 Entering Senegal with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Senegal
- 4 Gas price in Senegal and Diesel price in Senegal
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Senegal
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Senegal
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Senegal is a spectacular country that many Overlanders fall in love with. Many people feel the Cassamance area, South of Gambia, feels like a different country as is well worth a visit for some quality beach time.
NOTE: Vehicles older than 8 years CAN be driven through Senegal with a Passavant that you get at the border - the 8 year old rule ONLY applies to vehicles being permanently imported into Senegal, which as a tourist does not apply to Overlanders.
While the above is technically true, lots of overlanders in the last years have been heavily bribed at the northern border (rosso + diama) attempted to drive a vehicle older than 8 years into Senegal. Many have waited days and argued and argued without success, and wound up having to pay. At this stage, there is no clear way to avoid this.
Entering Senegal with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: July 2016
(To check if you need a travel Visa for Senegal, application instructions and fees see: Senegal Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
- Passport of registered owner.
- Drivers license of registered owner.
- Original vehicle registration.
- Proof of vehicle insurance - they might not ask for it, but it’s better to have it.
- (OPTIONAL) Carnet de Passage
(no copies are required)
Rules about the age of a vehicle DO NOT apply to temporary permits for tourists.
Here is the relevant part from the page of the senegalese customs: 
1- véhicules de tourisme
le non-résident peut importer un véhicule automobile à titre temporaire sopus le couvert d'un carnet de passage en douane (A.T.A) en cours de validité. il peut également bénéficier pour son véhicule automobile d'un passavant de circulation circulation à son entrée sur le territoire sénégalais. Le passavant est alors établi par le Bureau ou le Poste des Douanes d'entrée, pour une durée n'excédant pas dix (10) jours. Ce passavant ne peut faire l'objet, au maximum, que de deux (02) prorogations de quinze (15) jours chacune, accordées par la Direction des opérations douanières. En tout état de cause, à l'expiration du délai de séjour temporaire, le véhicule doit avant toute cession, être déclaré en détail :
- pour la réexportation;
- pour la mise à la consommation, avec paiement des droits et taxes exigibles; - pour l'admission temporaire, au cas où le nouvel acquéreur bénéficierait de ce régime suspensif; - enfin et par mesure conservatoire, pour la mise en dépôt d'office.
Process at border
- Get yourself stamped in at immigration.
- Go to Douane to get a temporary import for the vehicle. Using the vehicle registration the officer will write out a Passavant.
See Extension of Stay immediately below for information about extending the 48 hours.
Cost of entry
- Passavant cost: CFA2,500.00 XOF and an official receipt will be stapled to the Passavant.
Customs, police and immigration are increasingly demanding unofficial fees for stamp, permits and inspection. Not big amounts, perhaps CFA2,000.00 XOF here and there. Its annoying and illegal, refuse to pay anything more than the Passavant fee.
Permitted length of stay
Starts at max.10 days, can be extended twice for 15 days(each), to a max. total of 40 days (according to the rules and regulations page from the senegalese customs https://www.douanes.sn/fr/node/92 )
If you really want more time, you can just leave the country, and come back and get a brand new Passavant.
Extension of stay
To extend this 10 days, you can go to Douane in Saint Louis, but they are known to be very corrupt and will demand hundreds of Euros to do so. DO NOT GO THERE! ( and because of this corruption at the northern borders you may not get 10 days, or not even a passavant at all without a hefty bribe)
Go instead to the head office of Douane in Dakar - it’s on the Place de Independance downtown, N14'40.128w 17'25.894.
Enter the door between “AXA” and Senegal Tours, go up the stairs to the 4th floor, and start asking for “Passavant” - even with basic French I had no problem getting it extended for 2 weeks completely free. When that two weeks expires you can get it extended for 2 more without problem, but not more than that.
The process is very simple and free in Dakar.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Unknown, likely possible if using a Carnet de Passage
Exiting with a vehicle
- Hand in your Passavant to Douane.
- Get yourself stamped out at immigration.
All should be free, do not pay for this.
Driving in Senegal
Recommended books for Overlanding in Senegal
Travel insurance for Senegal
Vehicle insurance requirements
Liability insurance is mandatory and can be bought at the border, but it’s not the cheapest way.
If you travel through more west African countries get a 'carte Brun' which is valid in most west African countries at no extra cost.
Cost of vehicle insurance
Expect to pay CFA10,000.00 XOF to CFA20,000.00 XOF per vehicle per month, depending on engine size and vehicle age (newer costs more)
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
If you are coming in from Mauritania (Diama border), just after the Senegalese border on the left side there is a small wooden shack/restaurant. The lady sells insurance, she has not really reasonable prices,but no other chance at the border, (better get the insurance before at nouakchott for example, ask at the auberge where you stay, they will call a seller, or get it at city center at the office) she even changes your money, just watch cause she gives bad exchange rates, usually little better exchange rate at the shop on the mauretanian side just opposite the custom office.
Any valid drivers license will do.
Driving side of road
RHD vehicles are allowed but ensure you have correct paperwork, because it’s a good chance for bribery.
Mandatory items in vehicle
You need two safety triangles, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher. They even checked the expiry date on this, but I had heard this in advance so I removed the date since it was expired and told the police officer it was a new kind which would never expire. He believed me.
General Road quality
Senegal has reasonable roads. Some stretches have potholes, specially if the roads have heavy truck traffic. But in general its not to bad.
There are some signs, but don't expect many. Those that are there are readable.
There is one toll road on the way into Dakar - it has 3 or 4 tool booths, you pay around CFA500.00 XOF at each one. It saves a huge amount of time getting into and out of Dakar, so it’s worth it.
Bribery in Senegal
Bribery is common in Senegal, but not nearly as much as other West African countries. Be polite, and don’t pay. See the bribery tips page for general advice.
There are a few checkpoints where Police will check your paperwork, but they are not nearly as common as other West African countries.
Traveling with pets
Gas price in Senegal and Diesel price in Senegal
Last updated: July 2016
Currency and unit to display:
|Unleaded (called Essence)||CFA695.00 XOF per Liter|
|Diesel (called Gasoil)||CFA600.00 XOF per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Service stations are very common, with big brands like Shell having stations in most large towns. Shortages are not common, gas is always available along with diesel.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Gas and diesel appear to be good quality, buy from large stations that get a lot of traffic.
Sulfur content of diesel is unknown.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is not recommended due to hazards on the road, vehicles without lights and bad roads.
Vehicles seem safe enough on the street during the day, secure overnight parking is recommended in the big cities, especially Dakar.
Special driving considerations
As in all of West Africa, expect hazards on the road around every turn - animals, children, pot holes and speed bumps!
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Senegal - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Senegal
There are quite a few campsites in Senegal, some really nice. Around most touristy spots they are available, but none in Dakar anymore.
Expect to pay between CFA2,000.00 XOF and CFA5,000.00 XOF per person per night.
Wildcamping is possible in Senegal, specially in rural areas. Try to camp away from villages unless you don't mind lot of attention and lot of demand for ‘Cadeaux’ which means gift.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
Drinking water is generally not considered safe to drink for visitors who are not used to it.
Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Senegal
GPS Maps of Senegal
- Garmin Open Street Maps has excellent coverage of all roads - highways and cities.
- Tracks4Africa is an SD Card for Garmin GPS, and contain Routable turn-by-turn maps with 809,000 kms of roads and over 129,000 points of interest.
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Senegal
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Special Overland Travel interests
List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Senegal
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.