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About Mali

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, most famous for its legendary city of Timbuktu. Mali budget travel has much to offer travelers seeking travel experiences out of the ordinary.

Mali Budget Travel

Below is a list of Mali's top destinations, click on the link to view all details and tours.

Bamako, Bandiagara

Fast Facts

CFA (Communaute Financia re Africane) Franc and CFA centimes

Dialing Code


Mali HIV/AIDS precautions include the following:
• Don't ever share needles or syringes
• Practice safe sex at all times
• Equipment should be sterilized
• If you require self-administered injections, take an adequate supply of your own needles
• Avoid tattoos, acupuncture treatment or body piercing


Mali international airports include:
• Senou International Airport


Mali birdlife is rich and diverse, with huge extremes of habitats, vegetation and bird species to be found. Key birding areas include the Niger River interior delta between the historic cities of Djenne and Timbuktu, as well as the Sahara and Sahel desert areas.


With a large percentage of desert, and a number of environmental issues ranging from desertification to drought, land abuse and over-hunting, Mali conservation is extremely important to preserve the country's habitats. From January 2006, Mali authorities have been developing a management and conservation plan for Timbuktu, which is a a World Heritage site.


Mali cultures include the following:
• Music and dance plays a key role in modern and traditional cultures
• Food and drink are a common part of social gatherings
• Art is an important traditional form of expression
• Tribal traditions and pastimes vary per region
• A number of cultural influences can be seen in the country


Mali customs allows for free import of the following:
• 1000 cigarettes, 250 cigars or 2 kg of tobacco
• 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages
• Reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use


Mali health care is typically third world, despite the larger cities having fairly adequate facilities many towns do not have high hygiene levels and disease is fairly common in some of the smaller towns. To ensure that you stay healthy and safe, ensure that you follow basic precautions, and keep vitamins plus a first aid box on hand on your travels.


The following Mali inoculations are required:
• Diphtheria
• Hepatitis A
• Rabies
• Tetanus
• Typhoid


Mali languages include the following:
• French
• Bamanankan
• Bamu


Mali malaria medication includes the following:
• Mefloquine (Lariam)
• Doxycycline
• Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)


Mali money and banking information is as follows:
• Mali's currency is the CFA (Communauté française d'Afrique) Franc
• Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 08h00-16h30, and Saturday from 08h00-14h00
• Credit cards are very seldom used in Mali
• It is possible to exchange Euros and US Dollars in Bamako
• It is best to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Euros


Mali people include the following groups:
• Tuareg
• Dogon
• Fula Macina
• Soninke
• Sanghai
• Bambara


Mali local phrases include the following:
• Do you speak English? - Parlez-vous Anglais?
• I don't understand - Je ne comprends pas
• Hello - Bonjour
• Goodbye - Au revoir
• Thank you - Merci


The vegetation in the south of the country consists of thorny plants and shrubs including acacia, mimosa, and cram-cram. . The northern region falls within the Sahara desert that extends over northern Africa, with almost no vegetation at all. Trees in the country include kapok, palm, palmyra, mahogany and baobab.


A July 2007 UN estimate puts the Mali population at 11,995,402.


Mali religions include the following:
• Islam
• Christianity
• Traditional beliefs

Safety Tips

Mali safety tips include the following:
• The northern areas are very dangerous with reports of banditry and terrorist attacks
• Avoid travel to Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, and border areas near Mauritania, Algeria and Niger
• Keep valuables safe and out of sight when traveling by car or foot
• Avoid large crowds and street demonstrations which may turn violent
• Do not ever attempt to enter the desert without an experienced guide - you will get lost


Mali local transport options include:
• Bus
• Car
• Boat
• Taxi

Travel Books

Mali recommended travel books include:
• Mali: The Bradt Travel Guide by Ross Velton
• The Rough Guide to West Africa by Richard Trillo
• Mali Map by ITMB by International Travel Maps and Books
• The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa by Patricia and Frederick McKissack
• To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger by Mark Jenkins

Visa Requirements

Mali visa requirements are as follows:
• Valid passport of 6 months minimum
• 2 x Visa application forms
• 2 x Passport photographs
• Yellow Fever vaccination certificate

What To Buy

What to buy for Mali safaris:
• Backpack plus a decent moneybag
• Mali guide book plus a bird guide
• First aid kit with basic supplies
• Travel kit with toilet paper, wet wipes and bottled water
• Torch with spare batteries

What To Pack

What to pack for Mali safaris:
• Long-sleeved clothing in neutral colours
• Comfortable walking or hiking shoes
• Camera, batteries, film and binoculars
• Warm top for cooler months
• Sunscreen, sunhat and sunglasses

When To Go

When to go to Mali:
• The best months are October to February, when the weather is relatively cool
• December and January are the busiest and most crowded months
• The rainy season from July to September offers the richest vegetation with scattered showers
• March to May is the hottest time to visit, with unbearable temperatures


Mali wildlife includes some 146 species of mammals as well as a number of reptiles. Many species are desert-dwelling, with species such as sand cat, Golden mole, jackal, carakal, bats, snakes, lizards and other species to be found across the country.


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JoJo E (61) from Switzerland

Left quoteFinally home and had a great time…. I loved the shark diving, Sossusvlei and Himba people. Saw Lions, a Leopard, Elephants, Giraffes, everything really! Thanks for…Right quote

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