My wife and I are going to Senegal in February and want to know if I should really be concerned with the elections and safety. We had plans to also go to Mali, but recent activity there is a bit scary. If we make it to Dogon Country, do you think we would be ok?
It tends to get a bit scary around election time in Senegal, as a matter of fact your Sate Department has issued a warning about the potential for violence on certain dates leading up to the presendential election. Read about those dates here:
The north of Mali is particularly unpredictable. Westerners have been kidnapped, there is an Al Qaeda offshoot which has vowed to target westerners, and the problem is that it's easy for them to do it. There are only one or two roads into the north and to tourist destinations, and not many police. so they simply set up a roadblock with some rocks and an AK-47 and wait for a westerner. Fortunately it doesn't happen a lot - but it's a risk you have to consider.
Complicating matter: Dogon Country is right in the heart of where your government says you ought not travel. This has travel insurance complications. Insurers may not offer cover because they think the risk is too high. But it might be as simple as lack of resources: they don't want to offer a medical evacuation service because they know they can't make it happen, ie there are no trained medical staff anywhere near, or there are trained staff but they don't want to risk their own lives coming to get you!
It could be that you're perfectly fine, especially if you go with a reputable tour company that takes security seriously, but there's no guarantee.
I loathe telling anyone to not go somewhere, but this is a risky one - I'd urge you to weigh up the risk for yourself, and if you decide to go, know that the usual type of help won't be available so you'd better make your own contingency plans.
Phil almost 7 years ago
Thanks Phil for your response. We have decided to skip Mali and are contemplating paying the airline to move our trip to March. However, we did hear if there isn't a winner by 50% the next vote would be March 18, which would ruin that idea. Not sure why the State Department isn't talking about that at all. almost 7 years ago