Sunday, December 3, 2023
Bamako Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

With a population of 1.8 million people, Bamako is Mali’s capital and biggest city. It was considered in 2006 to be Africa’s fastest growing metropolis and the sixth quickest in the world.

It’s near the rapids that separate the upper and middle Niger basins in the southwestern section of the nation, on the Niger River.

Bamako serves as the country’s administrative capital. The city proper is a self-contained cercle. The river port of Bamako, as well as a significant regional commercial and convention hub, are both situated in adjacent Koulikoro. After Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar, and Accra, Bamako is the seventh-largest city in West Africa. Textiles, processed meat, and metal items are examples of locally produced goods. The Niger River is used for commercial fishing.

Bamako (Bàmak in Bambara) is named from a Bambara term that means “crocodile river.”

Only a few key roads (goudrons) are paved; the remainder of the city’s roadways are unpaved, becoming dusty in the dry season (November to May) and muddy in the rainy season, providing breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Due to the absence of road signs, the convoluted arrangement of the streets, and the city’s one-way system, navigating the city may be difficult. The roads are clogged with cars and motorbikes that seem to be crammed into every available place. Traffic cops are very attentive, and they may seem to enforce arbitrary traffic laws at times. They are generally on motorbikes, so trying to escape them in your car is a bad idea since they will swiftly catch up.

Hiring a taxi-motorcycle to take you to your destination is often the easiest method to get about the city. These are reasonably priced. There is no meter, and the amount is agreed upon in advance.

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Bamako | Introduction

Bamako – Info Card

POPULATION :  City: 1,809,106 /  Metro: 2,757,234
TIME ZONE :  Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-0)
LANGUAGE :  French (official), Bambara 80%,
RELIGION :  Muslim 90%, Christian 1%, indigenous beliefs 9%
AREA :  245.0 km2 (94.6 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  350 m (1,150 ft)
COORDINATES :  12°39′N 8°0′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.40%
 Female: 49.60%
ETHNIC :  Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%

Climate of Bamako

The climate in Bamako is tropical savanna.

Bamako, which is sandwiched between the Sahara to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south, is hot all year, with the hottest months being March, April, and May.

November through February are the coldest months. Rainfall is limited in the winter, with little falling from October to April and almost none between December and February.

Summer is the rainy season, with the months of July, August, and September being the busiest.

Geography of Bamako

The floodplain of the Niger River runs through Bamako, preventing development along the riverside and along the Niger’s tributaries. Bamako is mostly flat, with the exception of an escarpment to the north, which is the remnant of an extinct volcano. This is where the Presidential Palace and the major hospital are situated.

The city sprang up on the northern bank of the river, but as it expanded, bridges were built to link the north and south.

Economy of Bamako

Bamako’s historic business area was situated to the north of the river and was encompassed by Avenue du Fleuve, Rue Baba Diarra, and Boulevard du Peuple. The Marché Rose and Street Market are located in this region.

The downtown region is very crowded, filthy, and costly, and urbanization is spreading rapidly within a 30-kilometer radius (19 mi). The southern bank of the Niger River today has the most densely populated region. The ACI-2000 sector is fast creating a contemporary central business district directly west of the city area, taking use of a well-designed geometric plan, a legacy of the former airport runways and taxiways.

Many prominent corporations and administrative entities have their headquarters in Bamako.

For decades, Saudi Arabia invested heavily in Bamako, resulting in the construction of a number of significant monuments. China has been a major investor in Bamako in recent years, helping to enhance the city’s infrastructure and services.

Agriculture is active in Bamako, as seen by the presence of Bozo fishermen, and livestock are often seen crossing the streets. The manufacturing and service sectors, on the other hand, are by far the most significant. 70% of industrial activity is concentrated in the Bamako District.

How To Travel To Bamako

Get In - By plane

Bamako-Sénou Airport is around 15 kilometers (30–40 minutes) from the city center, offering affordable flights from Paris on Point Afrique and Air France (less cheap). Royal Air Maroc also offers flights to Europe through Casablanca; the primary disadvantage of this option is that the trip from BKO to Casablanca departs at 03:35. Taxi journeys from the city should cost about XOF7000.

Passengers travelling with Air France might think about pre-registration, or early check-in. This may be done at the Air France office between 10:00 and 17:00 on the day of the flight. Square Lumumba is the address of the office. Luggage is dropped off and boarding permits are supplied immediately, just like at the airport – sans the crowds and fuss!

In 2009-10, the airport had extensive upgrades. On the positive side, the tiny and uninspiring upper waiting space has been replaced with a considerably bigger and more contemporary room. On the negative side, numerous pieces are still missing. Expect to pass through construction zones. People who have trouble moving about will still find Bamako-Senou tough, since there are fewer steps than previously, but a lot more corridors and construction to struggle with.

Get In - By train

Bamako lies at the terminus of a railway line that went from Dakar, Senegal, to the rest of Western Africa. However, all cross-border traffic has ceased in recent years, and the sole surviving service is a thrice-weekly train from the western city of Kayes and a brief commuter service from Koulikoro. Several statements have lately been made about resuming service between Bamako and Dakar, however no trains have yet to arrive.

Get In - By bus

Traveling by bus to Bamako is doable, although it is frequently excruciatingly slow. Some buses have air conditioning, however the majority do not. Segou and Mopti are popular locations, with travel times of roughly 10 hours. International flights are accessible from the majority of regional capitals, and with trip periods of up to 40 hours, it may be a memorable, though rather uncomfortable, experience.

Bamako has two main bus terminals, the busiest of which being Sogoniko.

  • Sogoniko Bus Station (Gare Routière De Sogoninko), Avenue de L’unite Africaine OUA (South of the river, along RN7).
  • Djikoroni Bus Station (Gare Routière De Djikoroni)

Prices In Bamako


Milk 1 liter $ 1.80
Tomatoes 1 kg $ 1.85
Cheese 0.5 kg $ 7.80
Apples 1 kg $ 3.00
Oranges 1 kg $ 2.70
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $ 0.95
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $ 7.50
Coca-Cola 2 liters $ 2.20
Bread 1 piece $ 0.60
Water 1.5 l $ 1.10


Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $ 20.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $ 34.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $ 50.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $ 6.00
Water 0.33 l $ 0.85
Cappuccino 1 cup $ 1.90
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $ 2.10
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $ 2.00
Coctail drink 1 drink $ 9.00


Cinema 2 tickets $ 9.00
Gym 1 month $ 45.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $
Theatar 2 tickets $
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $ 0.17
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $


Antibiotics 1 pack $ 3.35
Tampons 32 pieces $
Deodorant 50 ml. $
Shampoo 400 ml. $
Toilet paper 4 rolls $
Toothpaste 1 tube $


Gasoline 1 liter $ 1.40
Taxi Start $ 1.00
Taxi 1 km $ 0.90
Local Transport 1 ticket $

Sights & Landmarks In Bamako

  • Bamako Botanical Gardens. It’s close to the zoo and the national museum.
  • Bamako Grand Mosque.
  • Bamako Museum (Musée de Bamako), Place de la Liberté,  +223 2000 0000. Bamako’s urban history is described in detail. Featuring local art, travel posters, and exhibits by artists based in Bamako. The entrance charge is XOF500 for Malians and XOF1500 for foreigners.
  • Bamako Zoo (Towards the presidential palace.). After a comprehensive refurbishment, it reopened in mid-2013. There are less than 200 creatures from over 100 different species.
  • Muso Kunda Museum.
  • Point G Hill. It has caverns with rock art and has great views of the city.
  • King Fahd Bridge (Pont du Roi Fahd).
  • Tour BCEAO.

Museums & Galleries In Bamako

Bamako Museum 

(Musée de Bamako), Place de la Liberté,  +223 2000 0000. 

Bamako’s urban history is described in detail. Featuring local art, travel posters, and exhibits by artists based in Bamako. The entrance charge is XOF500 for Malians and XOF1500 for foreigners.

National Museum of Mali

(Musée national du Mali),  +223 2022 3486.

In lovely grounds north of the city center, there is a good collection of Malian art, antiquities, and textiles. The exhibits aren’t extensive, but they’re well-presented and worth seeing. Although English guides are provided, there are no English labels on exhibits. XOF2500.

Food & Restaurants In Bamako

Whether you like them or not, the French have left one good legacy in West Africa: bread. Fresh, delectable baguettes are widely available, and visitors need not be concerned about being ill as a result of the bread.

In Bamako, vegetarians will have a difficult time. When you ask for a vegetarian lunch, you’ll likely get the look reserved for youngsters and elderly relatives you don’t want to disturb. It’s unusual to refuse meat in a nation where poverty is rampant and food is frequently limited.

Mornings beans, fries, and fried plaintains may all be obtained on the streets of the city. Small streetside “cafes” where you can buy a VERY fried egg sandwich and some nescafe can be found at all hours of the day and night. Several types of fried dough are also readily available. Lunch- Rice and sauce is the most common dish; a plate of meat at a local restaurant should not cost more than 500 yen, but may cost up to 1,500 yen. In the evenings, you may easily obtain attcheke (cassava dish), spaghetti, beans, boiled eggs, and fries.

Beef and fish are excellent sources of protein for meat lovers. Beef kebabs and grilled Capitaine, a freshwater fish native to the Niger River, are always popular. Chickens are often allowed to fend for themselves and are typically underweight in comparison to North American poultry. Despite the fact that the situation is improving, you may wish to prevent disappointment and avoid eating chicken while in Bamako. To prevent food poisoning, keep away from fresh veggies as much as possible, and make sure your meal is scorching hot before consuming it.

Budget Restaurants In Bamako

For approximately XOF250, you can have an excellent omelette sandwich at a number of eateries.

Many street sellers serve bread, rice, fries, salad, and grilled meat; nevertheless, while dining on the street, take care.

Le Bafing

Quartier du Fleuve opposite the Service d’Hygiène,  +223 6672 0781. 

In a little street, there is a bistro/restaurant/bar. In a courtyard, eating. Service was excellent and kind. Local delicacies, à la carte steak, seafood, or pasta are among the daily specials. The bar is well supplied. Recommended. For main courses, expect to pay roughly USD5.


Between the obelisk round point and Place Can, there is an ACI 2000. Lebanese cuisine with excellent schwarmas, hummus, and brochettes. Staff is kind and helpful.

Mid-range Restaurants In Bamako

African Grill

(Next to Place de l’OVMS).

On a plaza just off a busy road, there’s a restaurant serving delicious real African food. It’s not luxury, but it’s adequate. Beer and wine are available, however due to the closeness of a mosque, don’t be shocked if they ask you to keep your bottles hidden on the floor on Fridays. A second site may be found in the Musée National. c. XOF3000 for main courses.


Rue 311 (In Quartier du Fleuve), +223 7666 9999.

Restaurant and bar on the premises. One of the oddest views on the planet. Tex-Mex meals are served at the restaurant by Malians wearing velour cowboy hats and vests, while the bar is staffed by blond Russian professional ladies. To be believed, you must see it. The meal is also not horrible.


(In Hippodrome quarter, just off Rue Bla bla).

Another Lebanese restaurant with somewhat better cuisine than the others. On the menu are tasty shawarmas, pizzas, and mixed salads.

Bamako’s High-End Restaurants

Bla Bla

Bla Bla is a popular hangout for Bamako’s upper crust, where they may unwind with a (expensive) drink or bottle of champagne. It is one of the most popular places to see and be seen, with a modest but wonderful African food, a large choice of drinks, and cool draft beer. The average cost of an entrée in this city is roughly $15 US. This location also hosts local artist shows on a regular basis.

Le Terrace

The Terrace, located adjacent to the Bla Bla, is a big bar/lounge perched over a nightclub. Very nice ambiance with salsa music and dancing. Pizzas and other dishes are excellent.

Le Relax

In Hippodrome, Le Relax is a famous Lebanese hangout with fast meals and free Wi-Fi. The menu’s highlights include pizzas, shawarmas, and hummus.


The only place you can get a “genuine” hamburger with “real” cheese is at Broadway, a Western-style restaurant. Breakfast burritos, chicken wings, and shakes are also available. If you miss the comforts of home, this is a great option. Burgers are under $4 without fries, but a complete entrée may cost up to $12.

San Toro

San Toro is a Malian restaurant that serves traditional Malian cuisine and beverages, including ginger, tamrind, and seasonal fruit-based cocktails. There’s usually live acoustic music playing, and the atmosphere is really laid-back.

Da Guido

Da Guido, located immediately after the Bla Bla Road turns to mud, is a genuine Italian eatery managed by genuine Italians. Their oven-fired pizzas are the finest in Bamako, and they also provide hearty pasta dishes. Here, high-end wine is readily available. With the Roman wall paintings and stone flooring, you’ll believe you’ve stumbled into an Italian restaurant in Brookly as you step in. A decent pizza will set you back about USD15.

Shopping In Bamako

Prices are not set in stone, and negotiating is anticipated for many items. Be aware that the first price given is often the best price for popular products (such as food). Before purchasing anything at the market, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions at various stalls.

The bustling artisan market in Bamako-Coura attracts vendors from all across Bamako to offer silver jewelry, leather, musical instruments, and wood crafts. Prices are modest, but merchants anticipate consumers to haggle and enjoy themselves when they do. The mood is relaxing and pleasant while inside the market, but be cautious on the nearby busy streets – it’s easy to lose a bag to a thief.

Euros are widely recognized across the world.

Grocery shopping

For a few hundred francs cfa a day, you may dine like the locals or buy at one of the western-style stores.

In Bamako, there is one large market in the city center, as well as other smaller markets.

Supermarket Le Miniprix is the greatest, with the finest service and the most affordable costs. They have a really clean shop that is open from 7:30 a.m. to 22:30 p.m. They also take US and Canadian money, as well as the euro.

Cold cuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy items such as fresh milk and yogurt will be available in these supermarkets, which will cater to a Western or Middle-Eastern audience. Prices are usually higher than in Europe or the United States, and the selection is more restricted, akin to a North American convenience shop.

Nightlife In Bamako

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Evasion Jazz Club can be really cool. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Hippo d’Or (near the Hippodrome) is a great venue to listen to nonstop live music. Near the Hotel L’Amitie, there is a large casino. The hippest locations to dance and drink are still Ibiza, Blyblos (under reconstruction as of August 2010), and Terrace. No Stress and Jet Set (previously Privledge) are two less sleazy drinking places that also feature pool tables. On weekends, Bla Bla and its sister in Badalabougou are infamous for being rowdy.

Crazy Horse serves tasty cuisine at a reasonable price.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Bamako

In Bamako, there’s a good possibility you’ll run across the cops. You should always have a copy of your passport and visa with you. It is often insufficient to just display your driver’s license, which may result in a trip to the police station if you are not willing to buy your way out. Take note of how often the cops stop cabs.

If the ‘ticket’ seems to be too expensive, request to travel to the police station. There, you may get an official receipt indicating the exact cost of the offense. Many residents believe that paying correct penalties rather than lining the wallets of dishonest cops is a moral problem.



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