As the birthplace of unique music movements, distinct mud-brick architecture and great African empires, modern-day Mali has its roots richly planted in the past. Ancient relics, centuries-old buildings and timeworn, tribal traditions intermingle with the contemporary in Mali's cities, towns and villages. From traversing desert landscapes to trekking to remote villages, witnessing ritualistic dance and kicking back to melodic beats in city cafes, Mali is full of engaging, soul-stirring experiences.
Mali Tours & Travel
Articles on Mali
west africa’s gift
Posted on Wed, 4 Nov 2009
Since Jacquie Burnside joined Intrepid as a group leader many moons ago, she’s seen the company grow to be one of the world’s most respected adventure travel operators. You can [...]Read more
At a glance
|Capital city:||Bamako (population 750,000)|
|Time zone:||(GMT) Casablanca|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)|
Best time to visit Mali
November, December and January are popular months to visit Mali as the weather is warm (but not oppressively hot) and the wet, humid season is over. Between March and May the temperatures soar and with Mali being one of the hottest countries on the planet, expect extremely hot conditions in these months. A hot, dusty wind known as the 'harmattan' blows from January to June which can reduce visibility at times.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Souvenir Finds of Mali
1. Bogolan Fabric
Mali's Bogolan fabric (commonly known as mud cloth) is a popular souvenir find for visitors to West Africa. Made from cotton dyed in fermented mud, this entirely organic, patterned textile has multiple uses - as clothing, wall hangings, throw rugs and bed spreads.
2. Silver Jewellery
While many tribal groups hand craft jewellery, the sub-Saharan Toerag people are known for making exceptional silver jewellery. Large, embossed earrings, necklaces, cuffs and rings make great statement pieces for those into heavy, tribal accessories.
3. Traditional Musical Instruments
While not cheap, and sometimes difficult to get home, budding musicians will love the range of traditional musical instruments available in Mali. From Djembe drums to the kora, Mali has many handmade instruments available in shops and markets.
Mali's Dogon people are known for crafting elaborate tribal masks used in dance and ritual for centuries. The distinct, bold designs make Dogon masks an interesting piece to hang on the wall back home and a memorable reminder of Mali.
As the birthplace of African blues and rousing tribal songs, Mali's rhythmic music is an important source of national pride and cultural identity, so hearing some local music isn't hard when travelling through the country. Fans should buy a CD or two to support local artists and take a piece of Mali's musical heritage to play back home.
FAQs on Mali
Visas will be obtained en route in Dakar, Senegal. Please bring at least 6 passport photos. The cost is approximately US$25.
Can of soft drink = 500 CFA
1 hour at an internet café = 750-1000 CFA
Street food meal = 500-1,000 CFA
Basic restaurant meal = 2,000-4,000 CFA
For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 20 Armed Forces' Day
Feb 4 Mawloud (Prophet's Birthday)
Mar 26 Day of Democracy
Apr 9 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 25 Africa Day
Aug 19 Korite (End of Ramadan)
Sep 22 Independence Day
Oct 26 Tabaski (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2012. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Mali/public-holidays
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Mali Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Mali
1. Be considerate of Mali’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
11. Ramadan is the fasting month for all Muslims. During this month no food, drink or smoking is permitted during daylight hours. While non-Muslims aren't expected to fast in Mali, it's recommended to try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours.
|Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali||Kris Holloway|
|The Cruelest Journey: Six Hundred Miles to Timbuktu||Kira Salak|
|Desert Burial||Brian Littlefair|
|Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali||D T Niane|
|A Spirit of Tolerance||Amadou Hampate Ba|