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Mali Travel Guide

Key Facts
Official state name

Republic of Mali.

Area

1,240,192 sq km (478,841 sq miles).

Population

16 million (2013).

Population density

12.9 per sq km.

Capital

Bamako.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960.

Head of state

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita since 2013.

Head of government

Prime Minister Moussa Mara since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Larger towns in Mali have their own locally generated supply. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

With its giant mud-built mosques, villages carved into cliff-sides and massive camel caravans traversing the desert, Mali makes for a stunningly surreal destination.

Rapidly developing, particularly in the main cities, tourists can find high standards of accommodation and cuisine on offer. Intriguing and colourful markets, vast desertscapes and ancient tombs and relics are all waiting to be discovered. All of this makes it hard to believe Mali is one of the world's poorest countries.

Once an overseas territory of France, Mali gained independence in 1960, and today it is one of the most politically and socially stable countries in Africa.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 28 February 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

There have been incidents of armed banditry, car-jacking, and kidnap in northern Mali. Bandits and smugglers are particularly active across the Mali-Algeria, Mali-Burkina Faso, Mali-Mauritania and Mali-Niger borders and pose a real risk to travellers, especially after dark.

The Malian authorities have provided the following numbers in case of emergencies:

  • 80 00 11 14
  • 80 00 11 15
  • 20 22 13 35
  • 20 23 95 15
  • 20 23 95 11

Local travel

Although the ongoing international military intervention has regained control of the major northern cities of Mali, the situation there remains tense and there is a high risk of retaliatory action by terrorist groups. You should not travel in the north of Mali, including the cities/towns of Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal and In Khalil and surrounding areas under any circumstances.

Landmines have been used by groups operating in North and North East Mali.

Travel in Mali can be difficult and conditions are poor for overland travel. You should take all necessary safety precautions, especially outside of main urban areas, have confidence in your security arrangements and maintain a high level of vigilance.

Road travel

Night-time checkpoints continue to operate in Bamako, largely controlling access to military and Government facilities. Checkpoints are in place from approximately 9pm until dawn.

You should keep vehicle and personal identification documents with you at all times while travelling by road. Approach security checkpoints slowly and comply with instructions given.

Road conditions off the main roads are often poor, especially in the rainy season (June to September). Other road users may drive dangerously. You should take particular care and attention when driving in urban centres.

Air travel

The airport in Bamako is open. Commercial flights travelling into and out of the country are operating.

Political situation

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) and his new government took office in September 2013, following national elections.

US information service

You may wish to take advantage of an information service run by the US Embassy which provides important security updates by SMS. If you would like the US Embassy to contact you directly, send your mobile number to: consularbamako@state.gov. You should identify yourself as a British national when registering.

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