For us, the heat was by far...
For us, the heat was by far the greatest problem. If you are heat sensitive, go in December. We went in late October and it was still in the 90's. Attention to the heat / time of year issue is critical, because if you are dependant on air-conditioning, as we were, it will decrease your mobility and increase your expense. We got air-conditioned hotels and vehicles for the whole trip, because we dearly needed them, but had we gone in December, this would not have been necessary. The guide books were vague about that.
The second biggest problem is that very few people speak English. Learning a few French phrases is very valuable. I think that other problems tend to be minor and blown out of proportion or easily prevented.
Many people avoid going to Africa because they are afraid of disease or some boogyman jumping out at them. But if you follow the precautions in the guidebooks and latest warnings on http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ and the US State Department, http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html the risk from those things is no greater than driving on the freeways at home.
Do not drink any water except...
Do not drink any water except that you purchase. It's not worth the risk, unless you are living there for years and want to become immune. In out-of-the-way spots you will find bottled water expensive. You will always be thirsty, too, it's SO hot! Only sleep under a mosquito net, or you will be quite itchy and could even contract terrible diseases. Tuck the edges under your mattress.
In Bamako, downtown, be aware...
In Bamako, downtown, be aware of your bag. Do not change money on the street. If someone bothers you, and they most likely will (Mali is not a tourist destination--you would be interesting), be very polite if you can or pretend you don't understand. Purse-snatching and pickpocketing can happen.
Biggest problem this last trip...
Biggest problem this last trip ..... Malaria, despite taking paludrine and chloroquine prophelaxis. Good treatment though from local pharmacy ..Arsumax ..worked very quickly. Tip: consider bringing malaria treatment back home with you ...our doctors are reluctant to treat without blood tests ..and it can be too late by then ....and there are few dangers from the treatment ...
Be careful when you go to the...
Be careful when you go to the market, count your fingers after shaking the hands of the salesmen. DO NOT TAKE PICTURES UNLESS YOU GET PERMITION. These are proud people and you have to show some respect. YOU WILL GET INTO TROUBLE IN MOST CASES IF YOU DO NOT ASK FOR PERMITION BEFORE TAKING PICTURES.
Got more ill here than any...
Got more ill here than any other country I've visited (and I've been to 30+ in four continents) so be particularly careful of contaminated plates, cutlery at cafes.
Beware pickpockets and general hassle in Bamako market - worse than the average!
Beware of the weather : from...
Beware of the weather : from end of may till August it's the rainy season. the temperature is very high and you get thunderstorms almost every day. Lots of roads are unpassable.
ACI 2000, Hamdallaye, (formerly Radisson SAS), Bamako, 2566, Mali
Good for: Couples
Quartier du fleuve - rue 311, Bamako, BP E 3506, Mali
Good for: Couples
A large hotel built in the 1950s and renovated in the 1980s. There is a swimming pool which is among...more
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