Mali Travel Overview

Mali Travel Overview

At a glance

Capital: Bamako

Official language: French

Currency: CFA franc

Continent: West Africa

Architectural masterpieces made of clay

Mali got its name from the former kingdom of Mali. Mali means “hippo”.


According to Countryaah, Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. It has no access to the sea and is enclosed by Mauritania, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Senegal.

Travel Mali

Mali has a long tradition of storytelling and performing songs. The griots are known far beyond the country’s borders. The art of playing, storytelling and singing is usually passed on in the family. Some singers often learn this craft in the 9th and 10th generation! If you are interested in West African culture and music, you should book a flight to Mali.


As is typical for West Africa, many houses in Mali are built from clay. In Mali this art was driven to perfection and so the mosque of Bamako is a must for every trip to Mali.

Important facts

Capital: Bamako

Official language: French


Currency (sub-unit)

CFA franc (100 centimes)

ISO 4217 code

XOF / 952


Continent: Africa

Region: west

Geo coordinates: N 17 ° 34 ‘14.5 ” W -3 ° -59’ -46.2″

Highest mountain: Hombori Tondo (1,155 m)

Total area: 1,240,192 km²

Mainland: 1,220,192 km²

National border: 7,243 km


Dependency: France until 1960

UN member since: 1960

Other political affiliation: African Union

Form of government: republic


Mali GDP - gross domestic product

Export goods: Cotton, livestock

BSP: $ 6,172,000,000

GDP: $ 6,493,000,000

GDP purchasing power parity: $ 14.94 billion

Economic growth: 5.8%

Electricity consumption: 874 million KWh

Oil consumption: 7,100 million m³

Cultivation area: 3.77%

Bovine: 7,210,000 pieces

Sheep: 5,670,000 pieces

Fishing: 104,900 t

Demographic data

Residents: 12,716,800

Residents in cities: 3,644,800

Average age: 15.8 years

0-14 years: 48.2%

15-64 years: 48.8%

> 65 years: 3%

Population growth: 2.63%

Birth rate: 49.82 / 1,000 residents

Death rate: 16.89 / 1,000 residents

Migration: -6.6 / 1,000 residents

Ratio men / women: 0.98

Fertility: 7.42 children / woman

Infant mortality: 107.58 ‰

Life expectancy men: 47.05 years

Life expectancy women: 51.05 years

Country codes and abbreviations

ISO 3166 Alpha 2: ML

ISO 3166 Alpha 3: MLI

ISO 3166 numeric: 466

Top Level Domain: ml

IOC country code: MLI


Source: Abbreviationfinder


Telephone connections: 82,000

Cell Phones: 910,000

Radios: 2,610,000

TV: 886,000

Computer: 35,000

Internet users: 95,000


Railway lines: 729 km

Paved roads: 2,567 km

Cars: 57,000


Number of doctors: 790

Daily food intake: 2,390 kcal / resident

HIV- infected people: 180,000


Illiteracy: 52%


Foundation: 1100

Last sovereign since: 1960


Main religious group: Muslims


Prison inmates: 5,100


Armed forces (troop strength): 7,000

Defense Spending: $ 89.7 million


Arriving by plane

Mali’s national airline is Air Mali (L9) (Internet: ).

Air France (AF) flies to Bamako from Paris.

Afriqiyah Airways (Internet: flies from Brussels, Paris, Geneva and London via Tripoli to Bamako.

Air Algérie (AH), Tunisair (TU), Air Senegal (V7) and Royal Air Maroc (AT) also fly to Bamako. There are flight connections between Mali and Niger several times a week. No direct flights from Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

Departure fee

10,000 CFA Fr for destinations outside Africa, 8,000 CFA Fr for destinations within Africa. This does not apply to children under 2 years of age.

Arrival by car

The best roads lead to Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, there are other connections to Senegal, Guinea, Niger and Mauritania. Driving the Trans-Sahara route to Algeria is currently classified as dangerous. An all-weather road follows the Niger to Niaméy (Niger).

Long-distance buses
run between Kankan (Guinea) and Bamako; Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) and Segou or Mopti as well as Niaméy (Niger) and Gao. From Côte d’Ivoire there is a bus connection to Mali (travel time: at least 36 hours). The state bus line SNTN runs from Niger to Mali three times a week.

Arriving by train

Twice a week there is an air-conditioned train with sleeping and dining cars from Bamako to Dakar (Senegal) (travel time: 30-35 hours). An extension of the route to Guinea is planned.


Traveling by plane

Mali Tombouctou Air Service offers domestic flights. Light aircraft can be chartered from Société des Transports Aériens (STA).

Airport fee: 2.500 CFA Fr.

On the way by car / bus

The main road connections are
Bamako-Sikasso-Ouagadougou-Niamey (1426 km, of which 1144 km are paved),
Bamako-Sikasso-Bouaké-Abidjan (1184 km of which 1050 km are paved),
Bamako-Ségou-Koutiala-Bobo-Dioulasso (610 km paved),
Bamako-Mopti-Gao-Niamey (1624 km of which 1302 km asphalt).

The road quality ranges from mediocre to almost impassable. The main road connects Sikasso in the south with Bamako, Mopti and Gao. During the rainy season (mid-June to mid-September), when the Niger and its tributary Bani overflow, the road between Mopti and Gao is impassable.

Long-distance bus:
buses connect the larger cities with each other.

International driver’s license is recommended. Travelers with their own vehicle need a so-called “Carnet de passage”. Further details can be obtained from the automobile clubs.

Note on traveling by road

You should only drive on the main roads and if possible in a convoy and take enough spare parts with you. Overland journeys at night should be avoided because of the risk of accidents and assaults.

Traveling in the city

Taxi: Shared taxis in the cities are inexpensive, standard tariffs apply. Tips are not common.

On the go by train

Twice a week there is a connection between Bamako and Kayes on the route to Dakar (Senegal) (travel time Bamako-Kayes: approx. 10 hours, Bamako-Dakar: 30-35 hours). The Senegalese trains used on this route are clearly superior to the Malian trains in terms of comfort (air conditioning, dining car).

A train runs daily on the almost 60 km long route from Bamako to Koulikoro (travel time: approx. 2 hours).

Out and about by ship

From July to December there are weekly ferry connections of the Compagnie Malienne de Navigation (COMANAV) (Internet: on the Niger between Bamako via Timbuktu to Gao. Due to the drought in the Sahel, interruptions and delays should be expected. The 1300 km journey takes 5-7 days, and you can buy groceries on the ferries. Limited ferry service from December to March, the ferries then only run between Mopti and Gao. For trips from Timbuktu and Mopti you can also rent pirogues and pinasses (river boats) with or without a motor.