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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: 22 November 2014

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.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the provinces of Tombouctou, Kidal, Gao and Mopti
  • parts of the provinces of Kayes, Koulikoro and Segou, as shown on the map

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Mali.

Fighting in Kidal between rebel groups and government forces broke out on 17 May, resulting in casualties on both sides. There have also been related violent protests in the capital, Bamako, and there is a strong possibility of further unrest. Avoid large crowds and demonstrations.

The situation in Mali is still volatile. You should maintain a high level of vigilance, keep a low profile and stay alert to local political developments. You should maintain several days’ stock of food and water in case disturbances take place. You can monitor daily developments in English through the BBC World Service (88.9 FM in Bamako).

On 23 October 2014, a girl in Kayes (western Mali) who had recently travelled from Guinea, tested positive and subsequently died from Ebola virus disease. On 11 November a nurse based at the Clinique Pasteur hospital in Bamako died from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) becoming the second confirmed case of EVD in Mali. The nurse had been treating a man who had travelled to Mali from Guinea, and who himself died in Bamako on 27 October. The deceased patient is also being regarded as a suspected case of EVD.

The Malian authorities have closed the Clinique Pasteur in Bamako and are seeking to trace all those who may have been in contact with the patient and the nurse, including clinic staff, family members and associates of the two deceased men. The authorities are also seeking to establish whether the death in Bamako of an associate of the patient was also due to EVD.

Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Although the chances of being infected remain very low, there are measures you can take to prevent catching Ebola. You should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. If you are concerned that you might have been exposed to Ebola, or are showing symptoms, seek immediate medical advice. If you are in the UK, call NHS 111.

The Malian authorities have established a number of special telephone lines in country for queries about Ebola. The numbers are (+223) 80 00 88 88 (Malitel) and (+223) 88 00 77 77 (Orange).

For further details about this outbreak of Ebola, see the World Health Organization website, the NaTHNaC outbreak surveillance database and this map showing the areas affected.

There is a high threat from terrorism including kidnap in Mali. Following the French/African military intervention which began in January 2013, there is a high threat of retaliatory kidnap against Western interests. There is a heightened threat of kidnap in Mali, especially in areas north of Mopti. Further attacks are highly likely in northern Mali.

The ability of the British Embassy to deliver consular services is limited, especially outside of Bamako. The British Embassy telephone number is +223 2021 3412.

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