Traveling Luck for Mali. Mali, Africa

Mali is located in Western Africa, southwest of Algeria.

Land in Mali is mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast.

Malian land covers an area of 1240000 square kilometers which is slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Mali has borders with Burkina Faso for 1000km, Ivory Coast for 532km, Algeria for 1376km, Guinea for 858km, Mauritania for 2237km, Niger for 821km and Senegal for 419km.

Malian flag Malian national flag (Flag of Mali)

As for the Malian climate; subtropical to arid; hot and dry (February to June); rainy, humid, and mild (June to November); cool and dry (November to February).

Malian(s) speak French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages.

Places of note in Mali

Malian Map Malian map

Regions of Mali

The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a coup that ushered in democratic government. President Alpha KONARE won Mali's first democratic presidential election in 1992 and was reelected in 1997. In keeping with Mali's two-term constitutional limit, KONARE stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE.

Country Profile for Mali

Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export, along with gold. The government has continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a sturdy 5% average in 1996-2005. Worker remittances and external trade routes for the landlocked country have been jeopardized by continued unrest in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire.

Malian natural resources include gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, gypsum, granite, hydropower
note: bauxite, iron ore, manganese, tin, and copper deposits are known but not exploited

landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan

Malian religion is Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%.

Natural hazards in Mali include hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding.

Travel Advice for Mali


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Local Travel section (fighting in northern Mali) Road Safety section (road accidents on RN7) and Health section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.


  • We advise against all travel to the north and west of Timbuktu, the north and east of the Niger River along the line of Timbuktu, Gao, Ansongo and Labbezanga and towards the western border with Mauritania and eastern borders with Niger and Algeria.  This is because of the increased risk of banditry and kidnap in these areas.

  • You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • The British Ambassador to Mali is resident in Dakar, Senegal.  However, there is a British Embassy Liaison Office in Bamako, offering consular advice and assistance.

  • Most visits to Mali are trouble-free.  The types of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Mali are varied, but have included expired visas and road accidents.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should also ensure that you seek medical advice prior to travelling and that you have had all necessary vaccinations.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance


Local Travel
We advise against all travel to the north and west of Timbuktu, the north and east of the Niger River along the line of Timbuktu, Gao, Ansongo and Labbezanga and towards the western border with Mauritania and eastern borders with Niger and Algeria.  This is because of the increased risk of banditry and kidnap in these areas.  There have also been reports of fighting between Touareg rebels and extremist Algerian groups in northern Mali.

On 3 June 2006, armed men in Ansongo hijacked a vehicle belonging to a French construction company.

On 23 May 2006, Touareg rebels seized a military barracks in Kidal.  The situation was tense and gunshots were fired before they withdrew.
Bandits and smugglers are also active across the Algeria-Mali-Niger border and constitute a real risk to travellers, especially after dark.
If you travel to the north or west of Timbuktu, against our advice, you are strongly advised to fly.  If travelling overland in this area, it is essential to plan your journey in advance and inform local authorities (police and/or army) before leaving Bamako.  A local driver/guide is also recommended.  In all cases, travelling after dark should be avoided.
Road Safety
Road conditions off the main roads are often poor, especially in the rainy season (June-September).  Driving standards can be poor.  You should take particular care and attention when driving in Bamako.

Between 23 September and 8 October 2006, approximately 50 people died in road accidents on RN7 (Bamako-Segou-Mopti road).
Air Safety

The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel:


Mali is a Moslem country, where women are expected to dress modestly.
Homosexuality is legal in Mali, but not widely accepted.


British citizens require a visa to enter Mali, obtainable from a Malian Embassy or Consulate.  If you are travelling from the UK you should apply to Mali's representation in Brussels.  There are Malian Embassies in some neighbouring countries, which issue visas.
All travellers must also have a valid international vaccination card with a valid yellow fever immunisation.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact Mali's representation in Brussels


We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling.  This should include cover for medical treatment and evacuation, accidents, cancelled flights and stolen cash, credit cards, passport and luggage. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see:  Travel Insurance.

Medical facilities in Mali are very limited. 

Malaria and other tropical diseases are prevalent.  More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets.  However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Mali.

Water is sometimes unsafe.  You are advised to drink bottled water and avoid ice-cubes.

Outbreaks of meningitis also occur, usually from the end of February to mid-April.  There are occasional outbreaks of cholera but if you take sensible hygiene precautions you are unlikely to be affected.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at


If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help
The British Embassy Liaison Office (BELO) in Bamako offers consular advice and assistance.  For passport services, applications should be made to the British Embassy in Dakar.  Forms are available from the BELO, which is located in the Canadian Embassy compound.
British nationals residing in Mali should register at the BELO, as should anyone intending to travel up-country.
Major banks and hotels accept credit cards and travellers cheques.