Bamako seems to be a good place to collect visas:
Embassy is in Badaladougou area near the Avenue de l'OAU / rue 30,
you can get a tourist visa in 1 day, price depends on your nationality, irish 56000 CFA, french 40000 CFA, austrian 31500 CFA....
Honorary consulate is in Badaladougou area near the Pont du Roi Fahd,
you can get a 30 day tourist visa for Niger in 3 working day's for 30000 CFA.
Embassy is in ACI 2000 area near the Direction General de Police National,
a 90 day visa is available in the same day for 47000 CFA
This can change of course any moment.
When applying dress as smart as you can.
I can heartily endorse Donko Voyages. Owned by Amadou Traore, they handle everything from upmarket American tour groups to backpackers. The staff all speak excellent English and know the country well. Email contact is email@example.com I have travelled several times in Mali and Burkina Faso with them and all went very well.
Fondest memory: Great people and incredible sights. I miss the color !! The Dogon Country is still virtually as it was before any visitors came along and even Timbuctu still has a mysterious feel, especially in the sandy streets.
Moussa Timbine' is an excellent tour guide in Mali. He lives in Bamako but will go all over the country. He is also Dogon, and a wonderful guide for seeing Dogon country. His English is excellent.
He has trained extensively for his job, and has a good understanding of different nationalities and what they expect as tourists. He is therefore in a good position to give you an experience that will be enjoyable and rewarding.
Fondest memory: All the wonderful people--the different tribes, their striking attire, and their beautiful spirit.
Where others don't go...DHL does. I like to pack light and from time to time send things home.
DHL has an office here in Bamako and can help you get things back to your doorstep. It is not the cheapest way to do it but it eliminates the need to check a bag and have the airline loose it.
Favorite thing: I read countless postings which said ATM access was limited. WRONG!!!!! The Govt. in a effort to encourage more tourism has improved things a bit and I was able to get cash from ATMs in Bamako (not next to a UN office or major hotel..down a regular street) and in Mopti. They took cards with the VISA symbol and I was able to take out the CFA equivalent of $500 USD each time.....I hate taking a wad of cash and or travelers checks. I think I even saw an ATM in Timbuktu but did not try it out. The smaller towns tend to dispense smaller notes like 5,000 CFA as opposed to the 10,000 notes that I got in Bamako. Either way they work. Credit cards? They were a pain even in Senegal.
Favorite thing: I am curious to which guide or tour you took to the Niger Festival? My husband and I are also going for 2 weeks to Mali and the festival on the Niger Jan/Feb, 2009. We are checking out Saga Tours and individual tour guides. Any information would be appreciated.
Dogon Country is a must, and having a good guide is essential. We lucked out when we arrived in Ségou. We met Boureima Kassogué, also known as Ibrahim from Djiguibombo, a Dogon himself, who became a big part of our trip. He guided us through the smaller villages near Ségou, then later through Dogon Country (4 days, 3 nights) and then arranged a trip for us from Mopti to Ségou along the Niger by pirogue (3 days, 2 nights camping). He speaks French very well, and some English also. A wonderful, helpful young man who took great care of us, and who also gave us unforgottable Djembe lessons by the "babyfoot" machine near the Hotel Djoliba in Ségou. You can find him through the Association des Guides near the wharf, or get his cell phone number from the lists of certified guides posted in the hotels. Tell him DVD and Vera sent you!
Fondest memory: I will miss many things, but by far the most - night falling in Dogon country, when everything is enveloped by what I can only describe as a living stillness.
As yellow fever is endemic in West Africa it is prerequisite that you get vaccinated before you go there. In fact you need to show a vaccine certificate to get a visa. Otherwise forget it.
Plan to get vaccinated at least 10 days before your trip starts (I would say months). The vaccine is done at your local health authorities (in my case in Athens Public Health Headquarters) where additional information is given concerning health issues for the country you plan to travel. The vaccine was done for free, injected SC and minor adverse reactions might be expected within 5-12 days (I had none 10 days now). The vaccine lasts for ten years (so visit as much of Africa as you can). It was essential to bring along my passport as I was given an international vaccination certificate along.
More on yellow fever: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_fever
Subsaharan african countries like Mali encounter several precautions:
1. A Yellow Fever is prerequisite and its certificate is expected to be shown if asked. It lasts 10 years (so travel as much in Africa as you can during this period)
2. Malaria prevention is essential. Malaria often a fatal disease if let untreated is prevalent throughout the year in Mali. Either Lariam, Malarone or Vibramycin should be taken as prophylaxis (ask your doctor which suits you best). Mosquito net accommodation should be advisable plus a repellent containg at least 30% DEET (several brands on the internet). It is mentioned long sleeves but I still question if it is tolearable to wear them while touring around under 38o C
Don't be paranoid about malaria prevention, but at the same time don't take it light!
If you need to get a visa for Togo here is the adress in Bamako for it. You can get a visa for 1 week at entry points to Togo ,but this saves the hassle of having to get an extension afterwards.
Immeuble Babintou center
rue Luyautey Porte B10 Bamako Mali
Tel : 00 223 227 78 08
A visa is issued on the spot in 1/2 hour for single or multiple entries. Cost 250000 cfa or around 38 Euros. Personnel very, very helpful. To save me waiting for the Consul to come back from lunch, the secretary signed the visa(with a smile). The visa issued is multiple-entry for 1 month.
Fondest memory: The consulat is found in a small street on the right,between the two BDM banks on avenue Modibo Keita, 15 mins. walk from the "Pont des Martyres".
Favorite thing: Markets are full of colours. However, even if you can find very cheap stuffs there, it is sometimes too expensive for many people. Some retailers are opening the boxes of pasta, rice, etc and sell small portions of them in plastic bags. A portion as big as a fist can satisfy the poorest for one day and costs around 100 CFA (20cents).
This was the best ever place i have been... people were kind, not in the big city, but in the small town. One thing is hard sometime is the difference of color ... cause they are blakc and i'm white... but when you talk with them they are kind and helpfull most part of the time.
I have been there by car, this was a 20 days trip to Mali, but i must admit that we pass a long time in Maroco and Mauritania ;-).
Fondest memory: the heat 'cause now it is winter in France
life time (wich is slower than here... but so funny !)
From Kayes we had to go to Mauritania. We decided not to take the partly paved Nioro - Ayoun el Atrous route, but the tracks straight to the north in the direction of Kiffa.
Concerning the map we should pass Aourou in Mali and Kankossa in Mauritania for the border formalities.
It was a picturesque track, passing a wonderful landscape with baobab trees, dry riverbeds and lovely Malinese villages like Djeribou and Karakora. In the villages the friendly people showed us the next track in the direction of Kankossa and Kiffa.
At the end we realised, that the tracks we took leaded too much to the west. After people showed us a crossing point in a river, we arrived at the Mauritanian bordertown Ouid Yenjé.
At the police post in the village they said '' Welcome, you are in Mauritania, this is Ouid Yenjé''. Leaving Mali, we didn't see any Malinese police post or bordertown at all. After the Mauritanian stamps and formalities, we took the next track in the direction of Kankossa and Kiffa.
The main road from the Senegalese border to Kayes is 105 KM. It is an unpaved road of red earth. This main road is part of the route from Dakar to Bamako. Many overlanders, who travel from Europe to Capetown , take this route.
There was enough traffic to colour our bodies and the inside of the car red of the dust, caused by all the dust clouds all the oncoming vehicles produced. It even didn't matter we closed the windows.
Fondest memory: The landscape we passed was very scenic with many baobab trees. I never did see so many baobabs anywhere in Africa, not during all my trips in the African continent.
In 2004 we travelled from Senegal to Mali overland, taking the road from Tambacounda to Kayes. This is also the road when you travel from Dakar to Bamako.
In Kidira, the Senegalese bordertown, you have first to get a stamp at the policepost, before you can cross the borderriver. This police post is not at the border, but somewhere else in town. There are people around who can show you the way.
You don't need a visa for Mali in advance, but can buy it at the border. That means you get a stamp in your passport and have to register within 48 hours in Bamako, the capital.
First we had to pay 100 euro for each stamp. Finally we paid 25 euro. First they needed a ID-picture of all of us. When they ran out of forms, they gave some of the pictures back.
All together all the formalities at the Senegalese and Malinese side of the border took us almost 4 hours.
ACI 2000, Hamdallaye, (formerly Radisson SAS), Bamako, 2566, Mali
Good for: Couples
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