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Senegal Driving Guide

Senegal is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-02 · 15. min

Hectic, colorful Senegal is one of the most popular destinations in West Africa and one of the region's safest countries. Dakar, the capital, is a vibrant town renowned for its lively markets and rich musical culture. Senegal has stunning colonial architecture, secluded beaches blessed with world-renowned surf breaks, and wildlife-filled remote river deltas.

Senegal is surrounded by various countries such as Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania. It is a member state of the African Union, Community Sahel- Saharan States, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the United Nations. Senegal's name comes from the label "Zenaga," also known as the "Sanhaja," and the country's name is linked to the word "gal," which means the body of water.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Going to a foreign country without being familiar, even with little information, can lead to a misadventure. This article will provide you the essential information you need to remember before traveling to Senegal. This guide includes the thing you can do inside Senegal for a road trip or even a long term stay. As for driving in Senegal updates, this article also includes news on International driver's permit in Senegal.

General Information

Senegal is a country situated in West Africa. It is near the North Atlantic Ocean. The country houses over three million people in its capital, located on the Cap-Vert peninsula's seasides called Dakar. The country's official language is French, and many of its people have more than thirty indigenous languages as their lingua franca. Islam is the dominant religion in Senegal. Almost 95.9% of its people are Muslims. It promotes a country with an ambiance of progression and diversity.

Geographic Location

The Senegal River bounds Senegal to the north and northeast, which separates it from Mauritania, Mali to the east, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south Atlantic Ocean to the west. The westernmost point of the African continent is Cape Verde (Cap Vert) Peninsula. The Gambia consists of a narrow strip of land that stretches along the Gambia River from the coast east into Senegal and isolates the southern Senegalese's Casamance district.

The nation as a whole is divided into three structural divisions:

  • The headland of Cape Verde
  • The western tip
  • The southeastern and eastern parts of the country
  • The peripheries of ancient massifs

The Fouta Djallon massif is the highest point, reaching an elevation of 1,906 feet. The Atlantic coast of Senegal is full of sand and surf-beaten, washed by the Canary Current. Like most of the country, it is low except for the Cape Verde Peninsula, home to Dakar, one of Africa's finest ports.

Languages Spoken

Approximately 39 languages are spoken in Senegal, including French (official language) and Arabic. Linguists divide the languages spoken in Africa into two groups: Atlantic and Mande.

In the western half of the country, the Atlantic coast has the most widely spoken languages in Senegal— Serer, Wolof, Diola, and Fula. Languages of Mande are found in the eastern half, including Bambara, Malinke, and Soninke.

Land Area

The country's total area is 196,190 km2, of which 192,000 km2 is land and 4,190 km2 is water. Senegal is a coastal West African nation located 14 degrees north of the equator and 14 degrees west of the First Meridian. Senegal has a total area of 75,955 square miles (196,722 square kilometers), which is moderately more diminutive than the U.S. state of South Dakota.

History

Senegal was part of Ghana's Kingdom in the 8th century and the Kingdom of Djolof in the Senegal River and the modern-day Dakar in the 13th and 14th centuries. At the start of the 16th century, Portuguese traders contacted the coastal kingdoms, becoming the first in a long line of 'wanting' immigrants: The British, French, and Dutch soon followed, jostling to control the strategic points where slaves bound for the Americas are collected.

In the independence in 1960, Senegal joined French Sudan to form the Mali Federation. The federation lasted for two months. Then Senegal became a republic under Léopold Sédar Senghor, an international socialist and poet who commanded respect both domestically and abroad. His economic management, however, did not match his words.

Modern Days

In the presidential elections of March 2000, after 25 years as leader of the opposition, Abdoulaye Wade was finally given his chance in a free and fair election, collecting vast parts of the population behind his hopeful Sopi campaign. Diouf honored the will of the people and gave up power peacefully.

The Senegalese democracy was further strengthened the following year, when a new constitution was adopted, allowing opposition parties to form and consolidate the prime minister's role.In 2002, the country was shaken by an enormous tragedy when the MS Joola, the ferry that connects Dakar with the capital of Casamance, Ziguinchor, capsized because of a dangerous overload, leaving nearly 2,000 people dead.

Despite Wade's efforts to stabilize the economy and his (so far) successful alleviation of the Casamance Rebellion through the 2004 Peace Agreement, most people's lives have not enormously improved. Wade's contentious decision to arrest former prime minister Idrissa Seck in 2005 on charges of undermining state security and misappropriating funds sent the country into a flurry of political debate.

Government

The first Constitution of Senegal was implemented in 1963 and revised in March 1998. The new constitution, which the voters adopted in January 200. It has since been amended, declaring fundamental human rights; dignity for individual and collective land ownership, ideological, trade union and religious freedoms; and representative democracy and theocratic state.

Senegal is a multi-party republic. The 2001 constitution provides a corresponding action presidential regime—the head of state and the government is the President, who significant elected representatives elect, and can be appointed for two seven-year terms.

The President shall appoint the ministers. Senegal has a parliamentary system (the National Assembly) with a majority of its directly elected members; the remaining members are indirectly elected. All legislators serve a term of five years. Judiciary, executive and legislative powers are divided.

History of Government

Senegal is divided into 14 regions, which are divided into departments and arrondissements. Each part is administered by a governor whose role is to coordinate and assist by two deputy governors, one on administration and the other on development.

Regional assemblies, whose powers were increased in 1996, are composed of general councils responsible for local taxation. In each department, the prefect represents the republic, as do the ministers. There are also autonomous urban municipalities. An elected municipal council shall govern Dakar.

The whole system in Senegal shall be exercised by the Political Bureau, the Council of State, the Court of Cassation, the Court of Auditors, and the Courts and Tribunals. Senegal also has a High Court system, whose members are elected to the National Assembly. The High Court investigates government officials for crimes committed while performing their government duties.

Tourism

Receipts of FCFA 96.8 billion (US$129 million) in 2000 ranked the tourism sector in Senegal second in terms of fishing and groundnuts, and phosphates. The Tourism Sector generates 12,000 local jobs and 18,000 indirectly and helps contribute 2.5% of GDP. Modern history shows that the sector is growing and is also losing businesses in the broad international and regional market.

Senegal is relying on tourism to contribute to income generation, productivity and tax generation, regional development, growth, and poverty alleviation. It increases businesses in the state, creating an environment for a sound tourism regulatory framework. It strengthens dialog between the industry, government, and local stakeholders and builds a government-wide consensus on the advantages of the expansive tourism industry.

IDP FAQs

Some nations may necessitate an international driving permit to translate your valid driver license and resolve language barriers between you and the traffic police officer. These are a few things to take note of about an international driver's license in Senegal.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in Senegal?

Foreign nationals with a valid local driver's license and an IDP are allowed to travel to Senegal for six months. Although the IDP contains your name and driver information, it does not replace your native driver's license. You cannot use the IDP solely for transactions in the country, as it is only a translation of your local driving license, not a suitable replacement for it. On the other hand, citizens of countries where drivers' licenses are given in French shall be permitted to drive with their national driver's license for one year.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities in Senegal?

If you are a citizen with a national driver's license in French, you are allowed to drive in Senegal's cities for years. However, for citizens and tourists whose local driver's license is not in French, you have to get your international driver's license to drive in Senegal.

In case you need to stay longer, you can present your international driver's license in Senegal as a requirement of your Senegalese driver's license. Your IDP will stand as the translation of your local driver's license. It will help you to overcome language barriers from the authorities. However, it will be only valid with the presence of your driver's license.

Do I Need an IDP in Districts in Senegal?

While you have not yet succeeded in getting a local driver's license in Senegal, your international driving license in Senegal will help Senegalese authorities in checkpoints understand that you are allowed to drive within Senegal's border. Your international driver's license in Senegal will stand as your permit to operate and seize your stay within its districts in some locations.

Driving on Senegal's district roads may be different and less stringent than national highways, but you still need to get an international driving permit on the district roads. Senegal requires an international driver's license for all travelers. If you don't want to get an IDP, you need to take the extra mile to get your driver's license approved by the Senegalese authorities. It would be helpful to have an international driver's license from the International Drivers Association.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver's License?

The IDP does not substitute your driver's license because it is a translation of your driving details. Keep in mind that the IDP isn't a license. You can't use an IDP on your own while driving in Senegal, so you do need to have your driver's license with you at all times.

Renting a Car in Senegal

Driving in Senegal can be more enjoyable with the aid of car rental companies. Car rental can be stressful, particularly for first-time travelers. Before renting a car, you need to weigh many factors, such as your budget and road conditions. In Senegal, rental companies seek to make your driving experience difficult by offering outstanding facilities and well-maintained vehicles.

Car Rental Companies

There are many leading car rentals in Senegal, and the car rental companies offer reasonable rates on top of excellent customer service. Many of them allow top brand vehicles to the fleet to make the most of your Senegal mobility needs.

There are many rental car companies in Senegal offering a wide selection of automobiles from the best vehicle manufacturers worldwide. Depending on your budget, you can choose from economy to luxury car models with various styles. You will have the freedom to determine what suits your boat, from compact cars to vans and even convertibles. As the world gets digital, you can opt to book online or over the phone.

Road trips in Senegal requires most rented cars to be Landcruisers, 4x4 compact vehicles, and even luxury cars perfect for beaches and island hopping. Europcar is your best option as the first car rental company that introduced the Green Policy if you want to hire eco-friendly cars. The most rented vehicles at Europcar are SUVs and vans. Extras such as GPS navigation and infant seats are available at Avis Rent A Car.

Documents Required

Renting a Senegal car is an easy process, especially if you have a valid driver's license. You must show your international driver's license for Senegal in the car rental company's office, along with the other requirements such as your passport, visa, and, of course, your contact number. You can get an international driver's permit on our website, the International Driver's Association. You also need a credit card for payment.

Vehicle Types

There are several taxis types in Dakar, such as taxi-calando, taxi-brousse, and fast vehicles. Station wagons known as 'seven locations' are the most common public transportation among locals because seven people can be packed into the automobiles simultaneously. You can rent different cars such as SUVs, 4x4 compact cars, Landcruiser, buses, and even water taxis.

Car Rental Cost

In Senegal, a rental car will cost $33 a day. The rental fee is conditional on the kind of car you hire, the car's cost, and the insurance. The rental price is also affected by the availability of extra equipment and services. The car rental company provides optional extras for camping vehicles, such as camping gear and an electric appliance. Other optional services include infant seats, Navigation System, and WiFi. The rental prices for each form of vehicle you can rent in Senegal are estimated here:


  • Compact - $33.00/day
  • Economy - $35.00/day
  • Passenger Van - $49.00/day
  • Intermediate - $60.00/day
  • Mini - $63.00/day
  • Full-size - $70.00/day
  • Standard - $75.00/day
  • Premium SUV - $78.00/day
  • Intermediate SUV - $84.00/day
  • Pickup Truck - $95.00/day
  • Premium - $99.00/day
  • Intermediate Station Wagon - $135/day

Age Requirements

The minimum age requirement to rent a car is 23 years old. Because of rampant reports of accidents caused by young drivers, existing car rental companies are typically reluctant to allow drivers under 21 years old to hire a car. For drivers under 25 years old, some car rental companies also require an Underage Driver fee.

Car Insurance Cost

For first-timers, driving in a diverse nation can be a little frightening. Insurance provides drivers with a sense of protection as they travel on new roads, so selecting a car rental company that offers insurance in the package is essential. Many car rental firms will provide car insurance in charging payments. If you rent a car without secured insurance from a car rental company, it is better to protect your vehicle.

Car Insurance Policy

A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accident/Injury Insurance (PAI), Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI), Emergency Sickness Plan, and Extended Roadside Assistance could be included for car rental companies. If the vehicle is destroyed or stolen, a Loss Damage Waiver relieves you of financial responsibility. When you and your passengers get into an accident, the PAI provides medical compensation.

Road Rules in Senegal

In Senegal, keeping with the driving rules prevents you from getting into accidents and injuring pedestrians and animals. You need to be familiar with the driving laws to avoid collisions or unpleasant situations with the police before you attempt to drive in a foreign country. Some guidelines may be new to you, but getting used to them is convenient for your Senegalese trip.

Important Regulations

It's essential to know the vital regulations implemented in the country before you begin to reach Senegal's roads. Failure to comply with these laws can lead to severe consequences. Penalties, fines, or, worse, injuries and death can be the consequences. Below are the relevant regulations you need to adopt.

Drunk-driving

Senegal does not impose a law for blood alcohol limits on both locals and tourists. Therefore, it is clear that there are no laws about drunk-driving. As you know, road accidents are famously caused by drunk-driving, and it will be better if you still do not drive, in case you had an alcoholic drink. Remember that, under the influence of alcoholic liquors, your reaction times and focus decreases, especially when your alcohol blood level increases.

There are many reports of fatalities and a random number of accidents about drivers who were drunk-driving. This harmful habit influences a large percentage of vehicular accidents in the world. Prioritize your safety and remember that these accidents affect your international driver's permit when driving in Senegal for tracking.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

Here are some reminders about turning signals at an intersection in Senegal. These practices would help you have smooth and hassle-free road trip experiences inside the country.

  • GREEN SIGNAL & ARROW: You may make a safe turn with the green arrow pointing right or left; oncoming cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians are stopped by a red light as long as the green indicator is illuminated. Allow any vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians remaining at the intersection to get through. Before any oncoming car becomes a threat, you can turn left ONLY if you have enough room to complete the turn.
  • YELLOW SIGNAL & ARROW: Stop when you see the yellow light if you can safely do so. Look out for vehicles that might reach the intersection when the light changes if you can't stop. A blinking yellow signal light warns you to be careful. Slow yourself down and be extremely alert. A yellow arrow means that there is an illuminated red arrow about to appear. Stop if you're not at the intersection yet.
  • RED SIGNAL & ARROW: The red light of a signal indicates to stop. Only after you brake and give in to pedestrians and cars in your way can a right turn be made against a red light. Do not turn when a NO TURN ON RED sign is posted. A red arrow means STOP before there's a green signal or a green arrow. A turn against a red arrow can not be made. A red signal light blinking means almost the same as a halt sign: STOP! Proceed when safe and follow the right-of-way rules after halting.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving.

Ensure that your car is in good shape before driving in Senegal. If it is in the suitable form, check the mirrors, windows, and tires. Always carry your passport, insurance papers, local driving license, an international driver's permit in Senegal for verification. If you fail to show a valid driving license, you will get fined with unlicensed driving. Get enough sleep before traveling to prevent exhaustion.

Additional Information

For your international driver's permit in Senegal, a contact number together with a tax discount for the current year, a valid driver's license, and a document for identification are needed to apply. Authorities on checkpoints will be required by management, especially when you cross borders from Senegal to another country, so ensure that you always keep them handy.

Seatbelt Laws

Seat belts must be worn only by people traveling in the front seats of a vehicle in Senegal. We suggest that if belts are installed in the rear of the car, every passenger should wear them for protection. There seems to be no law in Senegal concerning the safe transport of minors, so it is parents' responsibility to guarantee that children are safe in a car.

Most parent drivers in Senegal don't understand about child safety seats. Child restraint reduces the risk of injury to children under ten years of age, especially during sudden interruptions. Until the child reaches at least 135 centimeters in height, child restraints should be used where the adult seatbelt can ultimately protect them.

General Standards of Driving

If you are driving to Senegal, it is essential to know the driving standards to understand what the locals typically use and do when driving in Senegal regions. Senegalese residents, depending on their choice, use either a manual or an automatic vehicle. The model of cars has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's up to you which kind of car you want to choose. If you're not sure that you're driving a manual vehicle on a foreign road, choose an automatic transmission.

Speed Limits

Road fatalities in Senegal, especially among young drivers, are a common cause. It is essential to obey the speed limits imposed when driving in Senegal because sharp bends and slopes are prevalent across the region. Driving below the speed limit gives you enough time to respond to a collision and stop it. The fatality risk and fines are not worth the rush of quick driving.

The speed limit is 50 Kph in city areas, whereas the speed limit is 90 Kph in rural areas. For automobiles with a gross allowable weight of more than 3.500 kilograms, the speed should not surpass 90 Kph. Roads in Senegal are dimly lit and heavily traveled; many roads can only be used by four-wheel-drive vehicles during the rainy season.

Driving Directions

Automobiles should prioritize traffic turning right, except for traffic circles, where there is a right of way for vehicles already in the process. Unless the driver uses "hands-free" devices, Senegalese law bans the use of cell phones when driving. Both motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, and motorcycle drivers/riders and passengers must have safety helmets. You can enter the country via Mali to Senegal by following these:


  1. Head to RN24 to Region de Kayes.
  2. Take N24 to Kedougou until you reach Saraya Rd in Kegougou, Senegal.
  3. Take N7 and N1 to Rue 14 in Dakar, then take exit one from N1.
  4. Go straight from Rue 14 to Rue CO39. You will reach Colobane, Senegal.

Traffic Road Signs

Senegal has small traffic signals, which are drastically different in other countries, and is only seen in certain areas on the outskirts and the capital city. It would be helpful to recognize them so you can prevent unwelcome traffic violations and the potential revocation of your international driver's permit in Senegal maps. Watch driving in Senegal videos to know more. Here are six popular traffic signs:

  1. Yield Signs: Halt signs are similar but used in less risky conditions. Yield signs, used at passive cross streets or traffic circles, help keep traffic going while also allowing drivers to pass through various directions.
  2. Stop Signs: Among all the traffic signs, they are perhaps the most iconic. On how a stop sign is noticed and understood, both the form and color are essential. No other movement has the shape of an octagon, and no other character has the color red. It is achieved because of the road safety value of a stop sign.
  3. Speed Limit Signs: Signs are essential signs for traffic control and differ depending on the particular state you are traveling in, depending on the limit. Sometimes, speed limit signs can not be seen while traveling along residential streets. It's because the safe speed for most residential areas is 40 kilometers per hour, and drivers who pass their driving exams recognize this rule.
  4. Pedestrian Crossing Signs: For any person who might walk or run in front of their car, drivers facing a pedestrian crossing sign should be alert. Pedestrian crossing signs provide warning of high pedestrian traffic areas so that drivers can, on short notice, plan to slow down or stop.
  5. No U-turn Signs: At intersections, no U-turn signs are posted to signify that the driver is not legally permitted to make a U-turn (a turn in the road to go the opposite direction).
  6. No Bicycle Signs: For pedestrian zones and play areas, this sign is OK. By setting the rules, this prevents bikes from over-running pedestrian malls or endangering kids. To ensure that everyone knows no bicycles are permitted, posting of No Bike signs are done.

Right of Way

The right of way refers to the give-way rules on the road. Whoever has the right of way has the priority to pass on the road. Most countries have the same rules when it comes to who has the right of way, including Senegal. Emergency vehicles, such as an ambulance or fire truck, has the right of way in emergency situations. On the other hand, pedestrians have the right of way in pedestrian crossings.

Right of way laws become precise when it comes to intersections, any point when one road crosses another. Side streets, highway exits, cross streets, and roundabouts could provide several examples of corners. Your chances of a collision increase because of the existence of intersections (intersection collisions account for 35 percent of recorded accidents), so you must proceed with caution.

Getting your international driver's permit in Senegal, an update of legal age is advantageous. You must be 18 to have your local driver's access and your IDP. In Senegal, locals can drive when they are 16, but you can only rent cars when you are 23 years old if you are a foreigner. In Senegal, young drivers can find driving a bit tricky, mainly if they haven't moved on dirt tracks.

Trying a natural safari in the state can be appealing, particularly if you're young, but for the safety of everyone, it's best to let an experienced adult drive for you. Irresponsible driving triggered by enthusiasm and energy puts not only your security at risk in Senegal but also the safety of pedestrians, passengers, and even animals while driving.

Laws on Overtaking

It can be risky to pass other cars. The problem with overtaking is to judge the space needed to complete the operation safely. When sharing our highways, the minimum passing distance rule helps ensure that bicycle riders and motorists stay safe. To ensure everyone remains safe, everyone needs to respect each other's space.

The overtaking of both single and multi-lane lanes entails risk and requires extreme caution. Do not overtake and wait until it is better if you have any questions. Here are the things you can do when overtaking:

  • Make sure that the road ahead is clear and that you have enough space to successfully overtake it. Check side streets and other lanes to ensure nothing will enter this space while you are overtaking
  • Signal any change in place long enough to give others adequate notice
  • Before adjusting your lane location, check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles and other vehicles.

Driving Side

Unless the driver uses "hands-free" devices, Senegalese law bans mobile phones when driving. Both motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, and motorcycle drivers/riders and passengers must have safety helmets. Driving in Senegal maps can be challenging as many drivers do not follow the rules. Senegal uses right-hand-drive technology. Vehicles should prioritize the traffic coming from the right, except for traffic circles, where there is a right of way for cars already in the ring.

Driving Etiquette in Senegal

In a diverse nation, unforeseen circumstances will happen to you. You can get a few frowns and leers without understanding the etiquette encountered in a specific situation. Worse, you can get yourself and other individuals in trouble as well. Prevent these effects. It's crucial to know what to do in a specific situation if you are driving in Senegal now.

Car Breakdown

Car breakdowns can occur at any time, especially in cars that are not well-maintained. Even though rental cars from existing rental companies are routinely reviewed, car breakdowns are not invincible. Try to drive the vehicle off the road if the vehicle breaks down. Try to get the car close to the lane's left-hand side, away from intersections, bridges, and bends if this is not possible.

You may alert other drivers by putting a reflective warning triangle not less than 30 meters behind the vehicle and a further warning triangle. Even to alert the passengers, use your hazard warning lights. To get your vehicle off the lane, you can contact a breakdown and towing service firm. To avoid the possibility of being struck by passing cars, wait at a safe position on the lane.

Asking Directions

Never underestimate the influence of your first impression on other individuals when asking for driving directions in Senegal. There are various customs in different cultures, hence different welcoming individuals, especially in public places.

Therefore, it is essential that you always address a stranger with a quick "Excuse me" or "Sorry" before doing so while you are asking for directions. An immediate "Hello," "Hi," or "Can I ask you a question?" may, depending on the context, exert various reactions and even drive people away.

Speeding-induced vehicle accidents are common in Senegal, where most of them involve private cars. The lack of enforced maximum speed limit for each vehicle under the current law is one of the likely causes of car crashes. Besides, roads outside urban centers, recognizing that these roads are underdeveloped, are not equipped for high-speed driving.

Checkpoints

Security checks are functioning in the roadways of Senegal. Rarely are local police, military, customs, immigration, and traffic cops organized. You can find multiple checkpoints within a mile or two of each other, whether you're driving your vehicle or a rental car. Each can take time, even more so if they ask your vehicle to be searched.

Don't panic if you think it's an unofficial checkpoint, but keep alert. Inform the police about the situation, and tell them the location of the checkpoint. Do not surrender your papers at the checkpoint to non-uniformed staff. Prevent a non-uniformed team from conflict and wait for the police to resolve the situation.

Other Tips

Aside from car breakdowns, police stops, and checkpoints, you must also know what to do in case of accidents. Knowing what to do prepares you mentally and helps you calm down to find solutions to the problem. Below are other tips to improve your driving etiquette in Senegal.

What if I Get Involved in an Accident?

If you are injured in an accident where someone is wounded, report the accident immediately, no later than twelve hours, to the nearest police station, and give the other person involved your name and address. As quickly as possible, call an ambulance. Don't try on your own to fix the issue and let the authorities identify what occurred and who is responsible for the damage.

You may not need to call the police if there is no one injured, but you must provide the authorities concerned with your name, address, and identification number. Warn the other drivers of the barrier if you stop to assist in an accident. To slow down or turn on the hazard emergency lights, you can wave to the drivers. Call the authorities and indicate the accident location and the vehicle identification number

Driving Conditions in Senegal

Now that you are familiar with Senegal's driving rules and etiquette, it will be a great advantage for you to know the country's driving situations and conditions. Knowing the driving conditions will help you be ready for different circumstances that you may encounter on the road. Understanding the driving conditions keeps you in a foreign country more alert and conscious when driving.

Accident Statistics

Identified as the underlying cause of death, the road traffic accidents account for nearly 4,237 deaths in Senegal. That is around 1 out of every 19 Senegalese deaths. Around 12 people die every day from road traffic collisions, with one end every 3 hours on average.

Deaths in Senegal in road traffic collisions accounted for 4,555 or 5.47 percent of total fatalities, according to the latest WHO data released in 2018. Senegal ranks #13 in the world as the age-adjusted death rate is 41.54 per 100,000 people.

Speeding-induced vehicle accidents are common in Senegal, where most of them involve private cars. The lack of enforced maximum speed limits for each vehicle under the current law is one of the likely causes of car crashes. Besides, roads outside urban centers, recognizing that these roads are underdeveloped, are not equipped for high-speed driving.

Common Vehicles

The standard vehicles you’ll see in Senegal are sedans and SUVs, particularly in urban areas. Outside the main cities, you’ll often find trucks and motorcycles on the roads. In 2017, about a million cars were registered in Senegal. These are the car models:

  • Ford Focus Citroen C3
  • Hyundai Tucson Renault
  • Megane Hyundai
  • Peugeot 206
  • Peugeot 307
  • Peugeot 308
  • Santa Fe Peugeot 407
  • Toyota RAV4

Toll Roads

Road congestion has been an economic drag on Senegal for decades, particularly around Dakar's capital city, where over 2 million people live. It created headaches for commuters and made it hard to move around the world. Economists have estimated weak road infrastructure to have cost Senegal around 4.6 percent of its annual GDP growth.

Dakar and its peripheral neighborhoods and linking the capital city to a new international airport and tourist seashore areas with latest transport buildings, two recent IFC-financed road projects have addressed this problem. Initially, IFC served as the lead arranger and global organizer of the $260 million (€230 million) Dakar toll road component of the public-private partnership (PPP). Inaugurated in 2013 by SENAC, a concession company set up by Eiffage.

As a second phase, IFC and SENAC signed a funding agreement in 2014 to expand the Dakar toll road by 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) to connect the capital to the new international airport and seaside tourism areas along the coast of Senegal. It is also expected to facilitate transit between Dakar and the third-largest city in the world, Thiès.

Road Situation

Rising the country's infrastructure reserve fund to that of the region's middle-income countries could boost annual growth by some 2.7 percentage points. In some areas, Senegal has made significant strides. Senegal also strengthened the institutional road framework by creating the Second Generation Road Fund (FERA). It has also managed to obtain a toll road concession for the Dakar.

Senegal has managed to introduce private participation in electricity generation. The country is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in improved water. In the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.It also managed to obtain a toll road concession for the Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Highway.

Driving through Senegal's territories is now safe and possible. You will experience the progress and development of this African country to its fullest. Make sure that you have your international driver's permit with you to avoid unwanted difficulties and keep your road trip hassle-free.

Driving Culture

Senegal is recognized to be one of the safest countries in West Africa. Senegal tends to be a safe, trouble-free travel destination from a relatively low level of disease and crimes to a population known for being safest and hospitable citizens.

A democratic nation with a cheerful and hospitable population, traveling to and from Senegal, is safer than most other countries in the region. Visitors like you, to the 'Teranga' nation (which translates literally as 'hospitality' in Wolof) will have a satisfying and safe travel experience, especially if they follow the lead.

They usually give transmissions if the road is clear for you to pass. They use their turning communication to send messages to each other. The Senegalese also diligently follow the Give Way rules, so it is rare to enter into an argument with the driver because of the rules. Although road legislation is not as strict as in other countries, it is still okay to express the road with the Senegalese.

Other Tips

It is also crucial to know other issues related to driving conditions in the country, such as the unit used for speed limit signs and night driving. Follow below to understand more about other helpful hints when driving in Senegal.

Are They Using Kph or Mph?

Kph and Mph are the units used to display speed limits, depending on the country of origin. Like 81% of the world, Mali uses a metric system for measurement. They, therefore, use kilometers per hour to measure speed. Kph measurements can be quite confusing for drivers from countries using miles per hour as speed measurements. Only 9 percent of the world uses the measurement of miles per hour.

The fuel gauge of your rented car will help you know your velocity in Kph, so you wouldn't have to worry about dangerous driving with the authorities. You may see if you are overspeeding already. Always remember that Senegal uses Kph, so the numbers shown on the signs can be a much larger number than what you're used to seeing in your country. When you see a speed limit sign with only a number shown, it automatically means that the speed limit is set.

Is It Safe to Drive at Night?

There are both good and bad Senegal drivers, and some cars, taxis, and minibuses are poorly maintained. Driving at night may be unsafe due to poor lighting. Dakar suffers from heavy traffic, which increases the risk of an accident. If you have an accident, call the police and wait for them to come.

Landmines may pose another risk in areas such as Casamance. Since 1990, numerous thousand people have died of these landmines. Driving on paved roads alone will substantially reduce your chances of experiencing these explosives. Potholes and roaming animals present other road hazards when driving in Senegal.

Things To Do in Senegal

Driving in Senegal City as a tourist is pleasant and doable. But how about driving as a driver in the country? Driving in Senegal for a longer period is possible, but you need to know a few things before finalizing your decision. You need to consider the job security and housing requirements that you need to comply with and job vacancies in the nation.

Drive as a Tourist

One strategy that will work well is to create regional tourism so that there are enough experiences and activities to make a tour beneficial. It means working with the adjacent shires/Councils and pooling resources.

Potentially creating stuff likes themed drive trails for tourist drivers, many communities can benefit. It also recognizes that visitors do not care about political or geographical boundaries (i.e., borders between cities, shires, states – other than occasional photo opportunities) and do not care about the political boundaries.

It is essential to have an IDP with you in case the police need to check your documents in order to avoid delays on your trip. IDP is strongly recommended for driver's license holders whose licenses are not in the English alphabet. Tourists are allowed to travel to Senegal as long as you have your native driver's license, passport, and IDP with you.

Work as a Driver

Driving in Senegal for a job makes foreigners apply for work with an employment visa. The most widely accepted job you can use in Senegal is as a transport service driver. If you qualify, you can also apply for a multi-cab driver position. You are only eligible to apply for a driving job in Senegal if you have a Senegalese driving license and have taken driving lessons and exams in the nation.

Work as a Travel Guide

The travel guide tours a group of tourists to and from various destinations while taking care of supply chains such as accommodation, food, excursions, mass transit, and timetable. When at each location, the guide may collaborate with community guides to ensure that their group receives the best possible cultural and historical information.

If you are a tourist guide, you plan, purchase and organize driving in Senegal itinerary for groups or individuals who are normally massive distances from their clients' homes. A guide organizes full itineraries, including recreation programs and experiences, and provides this information to their clients.

Apply for Residency

The Police des Etrangers should issue a temporary residence permit within 2 to 3 months. Please note that you will have to go to the Police des Etrangers to check whether a residence permit has been issued. They're not going to contact you. You must renew a temporary residence document stamped by the Police des Etrangers every six months until the card is available.

A residence certificate allows you to prove your place of residence in Senegal. You need the document in connection with the different tax and social security contributions and when renewing your driving license.

Other Things to Do

You can do more in Senegal if you're looking for an extended stay in the country. Senegal may not be as progressive as any other nation, but its allure and serenity can persuade you to live and remain in the area.

Can I Convert My Local Driver’s License to a Senegalese Driving License?

Yes, you can convert your local driver’s license to a Senegalese Driving License. Remember that an international driver’s permit in Senegal is a primary requirement to obtain a local driver’s license in Senegal.

You will have to fill out an application form to convert your foreign license into a Senegalese driving license. Payment is also required, and it may take over a week to process your application. The authorities will approve it, and then the government will now release your Senegalese driving license.

Are There Other Work Opportunities in Senegal?

You can also find other job opportunities in Senegal, like crossing borders or driving from Senegal to Gambia but if you're not lucky enough to get a driving job in the country. The most common job for foreigners in Senegal is to teach English. You'll find several job openings for remote teaching and translators, especially if you're from a country that considers English a native language.

The Top Destinations in Senegal

Senegal is the perfect habitat for most land animals, as a country situated just above the equator. Senegal's top resorts are architectural structures and wildlife sanctuaries, unlike other nations. Here you'll see nature's incredible spectacles and the scenic ecosystems that will leave you in wonder and fill your imagination with the land's lovely memories.

Dakar

It now stretches eastward into the arid sand plains to the east and breaks out in a ballad of vibrant merchant ships and fish-scented markets over the dockside boardwalks. In both population and size, the port has powered the boom, not to mention imbued the city with a tempting cultural diversity and energy. Driving in Dakar, Senegal is like no other!

Driving Directions:

  1. Head northeast on Rue NG-10.
  2. Turn right to stay on Rue NG-10.
  3. Forward on Rue YF-23.
  4. Turn left on Rue YF-23.
  5. Go straight ahead on Seydina Limamoulaye Avenue.
  6. Turn left to stay on Seydina Limamoulaye Avenue.
  7. Drive on the ramp on the right toward Dakar Centre.
  8. Head along on Autoroute Seydina Limamoulaye.
  9. Take the first exit at the roundabout onto Avenue du President Lamine Gueye.
  10. Bear right
  11. Take a left turn Emile Badiane Avenue
  12. Turn left on Georges Pompidou Avenue
Things To Do

Dakar offers exciting activities not only to the locals, but to the tourists as well. These are some ideas of the activities you like to do on your visit in Dakar:



1. Visit the Goree Island

An island situated in the middle of the sea is the island of Goree. Inside the island are architectural buildings and the diverse culture of locals who are hospitable and happy. Here you can enjoy walks and experience the sea like no other.

2. Shop at Marche HLM

If you are looking forward to shopping for African souvenirs, this is the place for you. You will see a lot of locals selling African made clothes and accessories. You will appreciate the simplicity of people trying to make the most out of the tourism sector.

3. Explore the Mosque of Divinity

The Mosque of the Divinity is situated off the main road and is highly evocative of its design and outlook. From the major highway to the Mosque, a long staircase will take you. Otherwise, you can go down by a taxi.

4. Walk along with Village des Arts

Many tourists who were able to visit this museum say art is showcased here in a different way. If you are planning for a good walk, this place is for you. You will experience the creativity of Africans and other natives who were once in Senegal.

Driving in Senegal regions require you to have the International Driving Permit, your IDP will stand as the translation of your local driver’s license. Make sure that you have your native driver’s license with you to make your IDP valid at all times. It can help you to have a memorable and carefree journey in driving in Dakar, Senegal.

Popenguine

The small town of Popenguine, located south of the capital, on the Cap-Vert Peninsula's panhandle, is the gateway to a truly stunning medley of beautiful landscapes. The safe Natural Reserve of Popenguine, which has a clean and gorgeous boulder-peppered beach nestled between two arid headlands of dramatic cliffs, has to be the main attraction.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head west on Georges Pompidou Avenue toward Avenue du President Lamine Gueye or Peytavin Avenue.
  2. On Avenue du President Lamine Gueye, turn right.
  3. Take the third exit onto Autoroute Seydina-Limamoulaye, at the roundabout.
  4. Head forward on A1.
  5. At the fork, keep left onto A1.
  6. On the right to D 701, take the ramp
  7. Take the first exit onto D 701 at the roundabout.
Things To Do:

It is exciting to spend time near the seashore. These are some activities you would like to do beside the wonderful island of Popenguine:



1. Visit the Accrobaobab

Accrobaobab is a place full of trees. One thing you must be reminded of is to book your reservation in advance. It is a place of outdoor sports and natural adventures such as trekking, walking, and even ziplines.

2. Eat at Le Balafon Cafe

Aside from beautiful tourist attractions and outdoor activities, Popenguine also features delicious African cuisines that you should try. After a long day of trekking and outdoor activities, you must be hungry. You will enjoy the seafood and even more sumptuous African dishes and drinks in this café.

3. Explore Villa Joko

Villa Joko is a holiday rental house. Inside it is access to the beach. It has an ecological pool and roof terrace. Villa Joko is a place to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the tropical weather of Africa.

4. Admire the beautiful structure of Popenguine Church.

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Delivrance is another attraction in Popenguine. It’s known as a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church. You can ask the church volunteers for a mini-tour around the church to learn its history.

5. Learn how to play west African instruments.

You can learn how to play the gembeh, tama, and balafon from the locals of Popenguine. Learning how to play the instruments is a great way to immerse yourself in their culture.

Popenguine is a French-speaking territory, and you can hear a lot of dialects inside as well. If you have a driving permit in English, it will be great to provide an international driver's permit in Senegal. It will translate your local driver's license into 12 different languages. It can provide an effective communication that you are allowed to drive in the outskirts of Africa.

Joal-Fadiouth

The interesting fishing town of Joal-Fadiouth is one that has been overlooked by time. Alive with salt-stained timber pirogues and oodles of bobbing jetties, the residents of the city still use the centuries-old hand capturing methods. By morning, they can be seen haggling over prices of big swordfish all along the coast, while the eateries serve some of the best seafood on the coast, unsurprisingly.

Driving Directions:


  1. Head north on D 701.
  2. Take the first exit at the roundabout toward Sindia.
  3. On N1, turn right.
  4. Take the first exit onto D 705 at the roundabout.
  5. To stay on D 705, turn left.
  6. Take the left turn.
  7. Turn right, then turn left.
Things To Do:

Do you look for some thrill? Take chances to visit Joal Fadiout and see the amazing things you can do there, here are they:



1. Visit Joal Fadiout

The island has many shells, a cemetery of artists and granaries and a church at the same time. You will experience a scenery of a plain rural life, where locals are selling livestock such as donkeys, horses, goats and sheep.

2. Tour La Moroise

Aside from visiting museums and historical sites in a place, trying the local cruising is also a way to immerse in their culture. You dig in to international cuisine such as African, European and French cuisine here in La Moroise, with ambiance of ancient African culture. This restaurant is perfect to take pictures with and review your whole day!

3. Explore Lagune de la Somone

Seeing this place will surely feel home, you will get to experience English-speaking tourist guides and wildlife adventure. You will see a lot of avian species and different animals here.

Driving in Senegal City is a once-in-a-lifetime journey, make sure that you avoid all the possible hassle by bringing an international driver’s permit with you. Your IDP is helpful in translating your local driver’s license to communicate with the Senegalese authorities.

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