Republic since 1963. Gained independence from France in 1960.
Head of state:
President Macky Sall since 2012..
Head of government:
Prime Minister Aminata Touré since 2013.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Various round two- and three-pin plugs are in use.
Senegal is the place to head in West Africa. Long sandy-white beaches, a hip music scene, a crumbling colonial heritage, wildlife and incredibly friendly people make it a superb place for those who want to explore African culture, or just kick back and get into the vibe of the real Africa.
Senegalese music, particularly the Mbalax, has become well known internationally over the last couple of decades thanks to artists like Youssou N'dour and Baba Maal - you'll hear it blaring out of well-worn stereos all over urban places like Dakar.
The country gained independence from France in 1960. Ever since, it has been regarded as one of Africa's model democracies, with an established multi-party system and a tradition of civilian rule. The areas around the cities of Dakar and St Louis, colonised in the 1840s, were the earliest parts of the formal French empire in sub-Saharan Africa.
Last updated: 04 March 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
You need a visa to travel to Senegal. You can apply through Visa Senegal.
You should avoid road travel in the Casamance region to the west of Kolda, other than in daylight hours on the main road from Ziguinchor to Cap Skirring and the main road north of the Guinea-Bissau/Senegal border from Sao Domingos to Ziguinchor.