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About Mali

Mali is a country in West Africa, with beautiful natural landscapes, ancient towns and cities, home to 14.5 million residents. Visitors to the country are always amazed as they can’t help but fall in love with the majestic tall peaks, mud-built structures and friendly locals. Attractions include the National Museum of Mali and the Great Mosque of Djenne.

Cheap flights to Mali are now available for a limited period of time, so get ready for an adventure to this African destination. Mali’s capital city, Bamako, is home to Bamako-Senou International Airport (BKO), located on a convenient 40-minute drive from the city centre. Bamako-Senou International Airport serves a multitude of airlines, including Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Popular connecting flights depart from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The flight duration from Johannesburg is 13 hours and 10 minutes.

Why visit Mali

ancient-cities-mali

Ancient Cities

The ancient, mystical, historical and still-inhabited city of Timbuktu has been the base of many African tales. Visit the ancient sacred sites for an unforgettable experience.

food-culture-mali-jollof-rice

Cultural Ways

The local people of Mali are warm-hearted individuals, happy to invite visitors into their homes for a plate of jollof rice and fresh fruit juice.

lake-niger-mali

Natural Beauty

Mount Hombori is the highest point in all of Mali, and is a sight to behold. Mali is also home to beautiful other landscapes such as Lake Niger.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Currency West African CFA franc (XOF)
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 43.70 XOF
Language French
Hub Airport Bamako-Senou International Airport (BKO)
Time Zone GMT+ 0
Travel Adaptor Type C and E

Best time to visit Mali

The best time to visit Mali in during its winter season, which falls between November and February. During this time, the country experiences cooler weather, with temperatures ranging from 17°C to 33°C. From March to May, it is extremely hot and visitors are recommended to stay hydrated at all times and to keep to the shade. The wet months from June to September bring about a welcomed cool, with a light drizzle in the afternoons.

Weather & Climate in Mali (Bamako)

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall levels (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 17°C 19°C 23°C 26°C 25°C 23°C 22°C 21°C 21°C 21°C 18°C 16°C
High °C 33°C 34°C 38°C 39°C 38°C 35°C 32°C 31°C 32°C 34°C 35°C 33°C
Rainfall (mm) 0 1 2 19 54 132 224 290 195 66 5 0

Mali is an underrated beauty, with ancient cities, welcoming locals and natural beauty. The Grand Mosque, found in the city of Mopti, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s found in a city that is lovingly referred to as the "Venice of Africa" as there are many monuments to be found. In the city is where you’ll also find the town of Djenne, where mud-made structures were inspired by the Sudanese, and still stand today.

Another ancient treasure, the town of Timbuktu may seem like a legend, but it is very much a real place. It is home to the annual Festival au Desert, bringing in tourists from across the country to unite and celebrate in this Saharan location.

A big festival that should not be missed is the Festival sur le Niger. This musical celebration is held in February every year, and has renowned artists from Mali and the surrounding countries performing. There are also amateur performances, allowing for locals to get involved and have a great time.

Another UNESCO World Heritage site is the Boucle du Baoulé National Park. Though low on wildlife, the park has an impressive collection of rock art and formations, dating back to early civilisation.

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South Africans who wish to visit Mali will need a visa to do so. To complete your application, you will need to complete an application form, have a passport with at least six months validity left on it, and supply the following: two recent passport photographs, your itinerary, proof of flight tickets and various other documentation.

For more information, please contact the Embassy of Mali in South Africa:

Address: 876 Pretorius Street, Block B, Arcadia, 0083, P O Box 12978, Hatfield, Pretoria.

Since 2015, there has been a lot of unrest in Mali and if travelling to the country, it would be advised to do thorough research into the parts of the country that you will be visiting.

It is always important to go for a general health check-up before a trip overseas. It is best to do this 4-6 weeks before your trip. For your trip to Mali, it is strongly recommended to get immunisations against: hepatitis A, rabies, malaria and typhoid. You will also be required to produce a yellow fever certificate.

Currently, there has been an outbreak of Zika in Mali and pregnant women are advised against travelling here. Zika is spread via mosquito bites and unprotected sexual encounters.

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Bamako
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R 90 R 100 R 33
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R 22 R 25 R 38
Cappuccino (regular) R 19 R 20 R 25
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R 10 R 12 R 11
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 38 R 38 R 16
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