Foreign exchange guide to Senegal and the West African Franc (XOF)
In several central African states the Central African CFA franc (currency code XAF) is in circulation, such as Cameroon - Central African CFA franc. The Central African CFA franc is of equal value to the West African franc. Both XAF and XOF currencies are referred to as the CFA franc.
The West Africa CFA franc has a fixed rate of exchange with the euro (and previously the French franc) set at 1 euro = 655.957 XOF. The XOF franc is characterised as a credible and stable currency, a significant virtue given the experience of most currency-issuing African nations.
The below interactive chart shows the USD to XOF exchange rate, trend and recent alerts for the last 90 days.
The domestic currency in Senegal is the West African Franc.
The three letter currency code for the West African Franc is XOF.
No, the West African Franc is freely available and convertible. See guide: What is a closed currency?
Though it’s one of West Africa's most stable countries, Senegal is far from dull. Perched on the tip of a peninsula, Dakar, the capital, is a dizzying, street-hustler-rich introduction to the country: elegance meets chaos, snarling traffic, vibrant markets and glittering nightlife, while nearby Île de Gorée and the beaches of Yoff and N'Gor tap to slow, lazy beats.
The currency used in Senegal is called the West African CFA Franc," pronounced "say-fa." This type of currency is available through money exchange offices, in banks, and through local automated teller machines (ATMs), which are available in Dakar. ATMs are difficult to find outside of the city of Dakar. Tourists normally try to utilize their credit cards while on vacation to make purchases because they are safe to use and the exchange rate with a credit card is usually very good. However, in Dakar , credit cards are usually only accepted in hotels and credit card fraud is very common.
The people who live in Dakar speak many different languages. The official language is French but other languages are spoken as well. Many people in Dakar do speak some English. Local languages include Wolof, Pulaar and Serer.
Senegal is a majority-Muslim country, but you don’t need to worry about covering your knees, head or shoulders in most areas. In larger villages and cities, most local women don’t wear a hijab, and you won’t be showing disrespect by not covering up like you might in parts of India, Malaysia or the Middle East.
While I’ll typically run from guided tours in most countries, it can be helpful to hire a guide if you plan to tour Dakar or take excursions, especially if your French is on the weak side.
Though a yellow fever vaccine isn’t required to enter Senegal, it’s recommended, as are malaria pills and a typhoid vaccine. Using a good mosquito repellent, carrying tissues (as toilet paper can be scarce in public spots) and wearing sunblock are all essential. It can also be extremely dusty during the dry season, so having allergy pills on hand can also be helpful.
The quickest (though still uncomfortable) way of getting around the country is by sept-place taxi – battered Peugeots that negotiate even the most ragged routes. Slightly cheaper, but infinitely less reliable are the minibuses (Ndiaga Ndiaye or grand car), carrying around 40 people. Vehicles leave from the gare routière (transport station) when they're full, and they fill up quickest in the morning, before 8am.
You can hire vehicles in Senegal (Dakar's airport is the best place for this). However, driving here is not for amateurs, with little road signage, reckless motorists and battered bitumen. There are myriad obstacles. Out in the countryside, slow down: you'll be sharing the road with errant goats and cows, bicyclists, pedestrians and overloaded, slow-moving vehicles – with oncoming vehicles swerving wildly into your lane as they pass.
In the past there has been an unreliable train line between Dakar and Bamako (Mali), but this has been out of commission since 2009. There is talk of one day restoring the line.
Save money and time by Ordering your West African Franc online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the XOF cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in West African Franc otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Senegal you need to start with finding out the latest West African Franc foreign-transfer exchange rate.
Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).
When sending money to Senegal it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
Use our Send to West African Franc calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more West African Franc deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!