Mali Safari Tours & Holidays

Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometers. The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako.

Tourism in Mali has developed spectacularly over the last 15 years. The country is now one of the most favorite destinations in West Africa, with a tourist expenditure of 116 € million in 2009 according to the Malian Office of Tourism. Several reasons explain the increase of the phenomena, including (relatively) political stability and a large variety of cultural and natural sites. Some of the Malian tourist sites have been internationally acknowledged as major destinations for decades, such as Timbuktu or the Dogon Country.

It’s difficult to imagine present-day Mali was once a dazzling center of learning and one of the three main African Empires that controlled the trans-Saharan trade. Continuous ethnic conflict in the region is a constant threat to the culture and the stability of the land and has resulted in throwing the budding economy into great disarray. Blessed with some astounding landscapes and remarkable ancient monuments, Mali is a land that is steeped in rich traditions and culture, much of which will probably be hidden from visitors until stability returns to the region. As of now, the capital Bamako is one of the safest cities to visit in Mali.

How to get to Mali

Air France flies daily non-stop from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Bamako (and return). Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is a little cheaper than Air France and has daily flights from Europe and New York via Casablanca in Morocco Turkish airlines and Ethiopia airlines also fly to Bamako. Both Air France and RAM, unfortunately, arrive and depart in the middle of the night – so even if you are planning a budget trip it may be worth splurging for a nice hotel the first night where you can make real reservations and maybe even get picked up at the airport.

Many African and pan-African airlines fly into Mali, for example, Air Mauritania, Tunisair, and numerous others.

The airport is about twenty minutes drive from the center of Bamako

Passport, Visa, and Entry requirements for Mali

You will need to arrange a visa before you leave Australia. Mali does not have a consulate in Australia, so apply through the Japanese embassy in Tokyo

To enter Mali, you will need a valid passport with at least one blank page, a visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination. Visas are not available upon arrival in Mali. You must obtain your visa in advance of travel to avoid excessive fees and unexpected potential travel restrictions imposed at the port-of-entry.

The health sector of Mali

As one of the poorest countries in the world, the healthcare system in Mali is severely lacking and heavily relies on foreign aid. Healthcare facilities and medicines in Mali are very limited, especially outside the capital city of Bamako. so travelers traveling to Mali must take emergency medicine and also purchase travel insurance before traveling to Mali.

Malaria and Yellow fever vaccination for Mali

Although it is rarely enforced, you are technically required to have an international vaccination card showing immunization against yellow fever. It is also recommended to get Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, and meningitis vaccinations. You may also consider getting a polio vaccination due to the recent outbreak of polio in Northern Nigeria that has spread around the region.

Mali is highly endemic for malaria, including P. falciparum malaria, the most acute variety. All travelers should plan to take malaria prophylaxis throughout their time in Mali (mefloquine and Malarone are the most common). The other main precautions are to use insect repellent in the evenings and to sleep under a mosquito net in all but the fancy, sealed, air-conditioned hotels.

Currency of Mali

Money. The official currency in Mali is the West African CFA Franc (XOF), which is divided into 100 centimes, The CFA franc is tied to the Euro however those traveling to Mali should bring new Euros and exchange them into West African francs in Bamako before their safari as Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa and foreign currency and credit cards outside the main capital may not be accepted but usually Guide our clients on how much cash to bring.

Official Language of Mali

The official language of Mali is French, a by-product of 68 years of European colonization. While French is the official language of Mali, it is only mastered by 5 percent to 10 percent of the population. There are many ethnic groups and tribes in Mali, each of which belongs to an indigenous language sub-group. In addition to tribal-level languages, 80 percent of Malians speak Bambara, part of the Mande language family and the tribal language of the Bambara people –the predominant ethnic group in the country.

Best time to travel to Mali

The best time to travel is between November and January when it is dry and relatively cool. The rainy season is between June and September; July and August are the wettest months and it’s hottest between April and June when temperatures can be higher than 40 degrees.

What to wear in Mali

Silk skirts, tunics, and long dresses are popular choices for Mali women, particularly the pagne, which is a wraparound skirt. Traditionally, women also wear turbans that match their dresses. The boubou, which is a full-length tunic, is a traditional men’s garment.

What to bring while traveling to Mali

  • Insect repellent – Most places have mosquito nets, and if they don’t, they are incredibly cheap to buy locally. Insect repellent is harder to come by. You can sometimes buy it at pharmacies, but it’s better to travel with something decent.
  • Sunscreen – you can buy it in some pharmacies as well as certain supermarkets in Bamako, but best to bring your own if you have a brand that you are familiar with.
  • An unlocked phone – sim cards are incredibly cheap (less than $3) and a phone can always come in handy, whether it’s for an emergency or simply to meet up with a local friend. There are also data plans with 3g available, so if you have a smartphone, you can use google maps, etc.
  • Sandals or flip-flops – you will wear these most of the time most likely. You should bring at least one pair of closed-toed shoes as well.
  • Tampons – for the ladies, you might not be able to find them as easily as you would like here. Many women use cotton pads instead of tampons.
  • Lots of lightweights, cotton clothes. Short sleeves, shorts, dresses for women, and a pair of pants or two for dudes, especially if you want to go out at night (some nightclubs won’t let you in with shorts on). Women should plan to dress relatively modestly in rural areas.
  • A light sweater or windbreaker depending on the time of year. See the weather section above for cooler times of the year.
  • Medications and toiletries – you can buy just about everything in Bamako, but you might not be able to find particular brands that you are familiar with.
  • Power adaptors and convertors if necessary – Mali runs on 220V electricity and uses outlets that have two-round horizontal sockets, similar to what you find in most of continental Europe. While most electronics are certified for 110-220V, you should check to make sure that you don’t also need a converter if you are coming from a country like America that uses 110V power.

Car hire and driving in Mali

Mali is a landlocked nation in West Africa, located southwest of Algeria, Mali is not Safe for Self-drive due to the wars that a religion in Nature that is always taking place. We advise not to hire a Self-drive Car but either hires a Car and a driver who can help you in case of the Need.

Accommodation in Mali

There are various types of accommodation options for various prices and qualities. You will pay USD60-100 per night (and up) would be decent to the nice hotel by western standards. At the other end of the spectrum, you can pay about USD5-10 per night for a bed or mattress (usually with mosquito nets and sheets) in a room or on the roof. Such places will usually have toilets and showers in a shared facility (think campsite camping with less gear). All tourist areas have hotels or Auberges and many places will also have homestays. Sleeping on the roof terrace, if available, is not only the cheapest option but also usually the coolest and gives you the pleasure of sleeping under the stars (which are incredibly bright outside of Bamako because there is so little light pollution) – just use your mosquito net and be prepared to wake to prayer call at 05:00.

Local food of Mali

Beef, lamb, chicken, and fresh or smoked fish are all popular in Mali. Common vegetables are onions, tomatoes, eggplant, plantains, and yams. West African dishes like poulet Yassa and foutou are eaten in Mali too. Mangoes, bananas, lemons, and watermelon finish off meals with a sweet touch.

Tipping while Travelling in Mali

Tipping in Mali isn’t customary but it is appreciated due to the low wages. While Mali is very dangerous at present, it is home to Timbuktu and The Great Mosque. Timbuktu is an amazing town with lots of history and The Great Mosque is a beautiful site to see If you do decide to go use our tipping guide to figure out when you should trip on your adventures around Mali.

Further information for Mali

Travel to Northern Mali remains extremely dangerous and is therefore strongly discouraged. Violent crime, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, is common in the regions of northern and central Mali. Violent crime is a particular concern during local holidays and seasonal events in Bamako, its suburbs, and Mali’s southern regions. Roadblocks and random police checkpoints are commonplace throughout the country, especially at night. Terrorist and armed warlord groups continue plotting kidnappings and attacks in Mali. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting night clubs, hotels, restaurants, and places of worship, Western diplomatic missions, and other locations frequented by foreigners.

Safety of Mali

Mali is politically unstable and jihadism and lawlessness are widespread. Since June 2012, Mali has been hit by a political crisis and a civil war, which has split the country into two parts: the north having proclaimed independence as “Azawad” in April 2012, yet the secular ethnic Tuareg movements which had control of the North were betrayed by their Islamist allies, who now have control of the Region. Whilst the south experiences a military junta. Traveling in Timbuktu and Gao provinces is particularly extremely dangerous, and as of July 2012, the Islamist and jihadist rebel groups have ordered all shrines which are considered to involve idolatry to be destroyed. Travel advice varies depending on the country: Some advice against travel to all of Mali, while others currently do not. However, northern Mali remains dangerous, and hence governments generally advise against all travel to the northern.

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