Located along the Niger River, Bamako has about 1.7 million inhabitants and it is the largest and capital city of Mali. Bamako is one of the largest West African cities and among the most visited for that matter. While traveling to the city is a great idea for a holiday getaway, navigating through Bamako can be quite hard as the city is in itself very complicated and there are no street signs. The city has a poor road network system with only a few roads that are paved with the rest of the roads being very dusty in the dry season and muddy when it rains. As such, prospective travelers are warned that traveling to Bamako especially during the rainy season is not a great idea majorly due to malaria and other undesirable conditions.
Roads in Bamako are extremely crowded as every space appears to be filled by motorcycles and vehicles. Traffic authorities in the city are very vigilant at times and enforce arbitrary traffic regulations. Nevertheless, if you want to navigate around Bamako, you can hire a motorcycle as it is a relatively cheap means of transportation to most of the destinations.
Mali is one of the African countries that receive an extremely low number of tourists. The city is seriously short of attraction sites and has little to offer to travelers. Some of the few things that will catch your attention are such as Tour BCEAO, The Bamako Grand Mosque, Muso Kunda Museum, Pont du Roi Fahd, and Bamako Regional Museum.
Feeding animals at the Bamako zoo can be an exciting experience and you can then go relaxing at the Bamako Botanical Gardens. The Point G Hill feature house caves decorated in rock paintings which offer a paranoiac view of the city. The Mali National Museum in Bamako has a decent exhibit of Malian artifacts, art as well as ancient textile collections. While the range of collections and exhibits is not as massive as such, they are nicely displayed and worthy of your time. Also, exhibits do not have any English labels but you can always get the services of English guides.
The Trans- Sahara rally is an annual event held every January and an exciting event to witness as the city is always filled with many rally motorcycles and cars. Bamako has been receiving a dramatically reduced number of visitors and tourists for the past couple of years. This has largely been attributed to intensive conflict and civil fighting in the northern parts of the city. This has seriously disrupted tourism activities in Bamako as most hotels have resulted in being closed including high-end accommodation centers.
As such, traveling to Bamako should be planned appropriately and confirm in advance if your preferred place of stay and visit is open. Nevertheless, the closure is only temporary but for the time being, it would be wise to consider other traveling to other alternative destinations in West Africa such as Nigeria at least before the fighting in northern parts is over.