Senegal Country Facts

By | June 28, 2024
Le Senegal
Capital city Dakar
Surface 196,723 km²
Population 15,412,000
Road network length 4,300 km
Length of highway network 212 km
First highway 2009
Motorway name Autoroute
Traffic drives Right
License plate code SN

Senegal (French: Sénégal), in full the Republic of Senegal (French: République du Sénégal), is a country in western Africa. The country is located on the Atlantic Ocean and has 15 million inhabitants. The capital is the well-known Dakar and Senegal is approximately 5 times the size of the Netherlands.


Senegal occupies the westernmost part of mainland Africa. It borders Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. The elongated country of Gambia is located in the middle of Senegal. The capital Dakar is located in the west of the country on a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. The country measures a maximum of 600 kilometers from west to east and 440 kilometers from north to south.

The country is a transition zone from the Sahara to the tropical forests in the south and is largely part of the Sahel zone. Important rivers are the Senegal and Gambia. The country is generally flat, with an unnamed peak at 584 meters being the highest point.

Senegal has a tropical climate, with precipitation increasing towards the south. There is a dry and wet season. The average maximum temperature in Dakar ranges from 25°C in winter to 31°C in summer. There is approximately 400 mm of precipitation, largely in the period from July to September.


The country grew from approximately 3 million inhabitants in 1960 to 10 million around 2005. Since then it has grown further to approximately 15 million inhabitants.By far the largest city is the capital Dakar which has approximately 1 million inhabitants, with 2.5 million inhabitants in the urban area. The second city is Touba with more than 750,000 inhabitants. In addition, there are 8 cities with between 100,000 and 300,000 inhabitants. Senegal is therefore somewhat urbanized, but also has a large rural population.

The country is made up of diverse ethnicities and multiple languages ​​are more widely spoken. French is the official language and is spoken by most educated people. In addition, there are many indigenous languages, of which Wolof, Pulaar and Serer are considered lingua franca.


Senegal is one of the more developed countries in West Africa. The country’s exports consist of oil, mining products and agricultural products, but none of the sectors is really dominant. It therefore has a relatively diverse economy. Tourism plays a modest role, most tourists go to The Gambia because of the language.


Indigenous kingdoms had power in the area, especially the influence of kingdoms in the east, from Ghana and Mali. In the mid-15th century, Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive on the Senegalese coast. Several European countries traded on the coast of Senegal. It was not until the mid-19th century that the French also began to colonize the interior of Senegal. The French built several railway lines in the area. Dakar became the capital of French West Africa in 1902.

Senegal gained independence from France in 1960, its first president was Léopold Sédar Senghor, who was in power until 1980. Between 1982 and 1989 there was talk of the confederation of Senegambia, with neighboring country Gambia. Abdou Diouf was president for another nearly 20 years, until 2000. Despite the protracted presidencies of the 20th century, Senegal was a stable country. It is considered one of the more successful democracies in post-colonial Africa.

Road Network

Senegal’s road network is extensive and reasonably well maintained, paved roads serving all places of interest and all corners of the country. The national routes are the main roads, with international connections to Mali and Mauritania. The connections to Guinea-Bissau and Guinea are less, with only secondary roads. The Gambia’s road network is integrated with that of Senegal, as the shortest routes for north-south traffic in Senegal run through the Gambia. Since 2019 there is a bridge over the Gambia in Gambia, so that traffic to the south of Senegal no longer requires a ferry service. Originally, the Gambia River was a major obstacle to north-south traffic. The same problem applies to the Senegal River, over which there is no bridge. Connections to Mauritania go here by ferry. The first bridge over the Senegal River sits on the N1,

Since 2008, Senegal has its first motorway, the Autoroute through Dakar with the number A1. This is part of a larger project to build a highway from Dakar to the east, so that traffic entering the city no longer has to take on busy at-grade roads. The highway is modern and has 2×3 lanes . The express road network to the airport has also been upgraded, so that there is a total of 20 kilometers of highway in Dakar. Since 2018 there has been a motorway further from Dakar to Touba in the interior.

Autoroutes & Route Nationales in Senegal
A1 • A2N1 • N2 • N3 • N4 • N5 • N6 • N7

Toll roads

In Senegal, toll has to be paid on the autoroutes. There is also a toll bridge at Foundiougne.

Road numbering

The road network consists of Route Nationales and Route Regionales, abbreviated with the prefix N and R. Both are numbered in a national system.


  • N1 Dakar – Kaolack – Tambacounda – Kidira: 660 km
  • N2 Dakar – Thiès – St. Louis – Matam – Kidira: 900 km
  • N3 Thiès – Diourbel – Matam: 430 km
  • N4 Kaolack – Mansa (Gambia) – Ziguinchor: 250 km
  • N5 Kaolack – Banjul (Gambia) – Bignona: 270 km
  • N6 Ziguinchor – Tambacounda: 420 km
  • N7 Matam – Tambacounda – Kedougou: 530 km


The signage is after the French model, as is usual in West Africa. The usual road signs in Europe are used .


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