Mali Travel Overview
At a glance
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.
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.
Official language: French
CFA franc (100 centimes)
ISO 4217 code
XOF / 952
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
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
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
UN / LOCODE: ML
Telephone connections: 82,000
Cell Phones: 910,000
Internet users: 95,000
Railway lines: 729 km
Paved roads: 2,567 km
Number of doctors: 790
Daily food intake: 2,390 kcal / resident
HIV- infected people: 180,000
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: www.camaero.com ).
Air France (AF) flies to Bamako from Paris.
Afriqiyah Airways (Internet: http://www.afriqiyah99.eu/) 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.
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.
ON THE GO
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.
Documents: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: www.comanav.co.ma) 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.