Mali Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by sachara
  • Kids Timbuktu
    Kids Timbuktu
    by SirRichard
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by sachara

Mali Warnings and Dangers

  • Be careful taking pictures

    In Mali, especially Bamako, it is a big "no-no" to take pictures of "important" buildings such as military complexes or government buildings, including the presidential palace.Basically, if you see guys in uniforms standing guard outside, do not point your camera at them! If they see you try to take a picture of them or their building, they will...


    While our excursion to the Dogon country it happened many times that people came to us showing their wounds assuming that we could heal them. Be wise and don’t start giving your medicines just because you see them injured. I assisted to two people and even if I have worked in first aid for several years the only think that I could do is to clean...


    I did not like people in Tombouctou because they asked me for money for everything!! Everywhere i went i had to pay something!!Touaregs were very persistent too: they wanted to sell me anything even if I never showed any kind of interest for their gifts!!!There is one new trap in Tombouctou that my guide did not know (yet): they ask tourists to go...


    Europeans can get their tourist visa directly in Mali. If you arrive to Mali by plane the first thing you have to do at the airport is your tourist visa. Europeans only need:-passport (6 months validity)-1-2 passport size pictures-about 15euros-some patience (people in Mali do things veeery slooooowly...)This visa IS ONLY FOR 5 DAYS so remember to...

  • Bargain for your guide in Dogon Country

    We found guides from Segue, Djenne, and Mopti all claiming to be native Dogon guides "wanting to go home", but in reality, the prices and reliability only gets good when you get to the immediate area. The hotel can provide good service, but so can others in the know. Bargain carefully. The guides will tend to rush you past major stops without...

  • Human sacrifices

    In Mali, some people still proceed to human sacrifice. The country is supposed to be muslim, but many people still mix Islam and ancestral beliefs. Don't be alone in the Bobo regions (between Segou and Mopti for instance), if you hear the drums (tam-tam), they might look after you. Do you think it is a joke? Do you think it does not happen in the...

  • Result of dust and a hole in the bottom...

    The unpaved road from the Senegalese border to Kayes was very dusty. It was the worst part of our trip, during our transahara trip from the Gambia to Morocco !The heavy traffic at the road caused so much dust, that at the end of the day in Kayes I came out of the car with totally red clothes, a red skin and red-coloured hairs more than my fellow...

  • Pollution

    In the capital city of Bamako the pollution is down right horrific. It is not much of an exageration to state that it is possible to cut the fumes with a knife. Much of the problem comes from substandard vehicles and no emissions standards. But fires and blowing dust from the Saharra also contribute to the poor air quality.

  • Hawkers

    Everything is for sale in Mali and always at a small small price--at least according to the hawkers whose only goal is to separate the traveler from his or her cash.At the end of a hike to the remotest Dogon village, you can be sure to encounter a merchant peddling his wares and for you, he is willing to give his best best price."No thank you, I...

  • The Heat

    Even in the cool season Mali is extremely hot and dry (into the 90s F and 30s C in December). In some places shade is a precious commodity. Forget about cloud cover--we didn't see more than two or three wispy clouds in two weeks.Take a hat to keep the sun off your head. And always have plenty of water at hand. It is literally impossible to drink...

  • Poverty

    Mali is poor. I mean extremely poor. In 2004 it ranked as the 174th out of 177 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI). Just ahead of Burkina Fasso, Niger and Sierra Leone. And well behind such troubled countries as Haiti, Chad, Sudan and Rwanda.The Human Development Index uses data on life expectancy, education and standard...

  • Garbage

    One aspect of Mali was particularly difficult for me to get past--the strewn garbage in almost every neighborhood. I realize that there is undoubtably a severe shortage of landfills and very little organized garbage pickup. But to see the landscape given over to trash piles is disheartening. The average African seems very meticulous and fastidious...

  • Most Likely You Will Get Sick

    Let's face the facts here: if you are used to a comfortable life in America, Europe or Australia and then travel for any extended time in an underdeveloped place like Mali-- sickness of some nature is almost a given.I was as careful as I could possibly be. I did not eat raw vegetables or salads. I checked to make sure that the meats were cooked...

  • british consul

    The British Embassy in Bamako closed on 31 May 2003. There is a new British Embassy Liaison Office (BELO) in Bamako offering consular and commercial advice and assistance. For passport and visa services, applications should be made to the British Embassy in Dakar. Forms are available from the BELO, which is located in the Canadian Embassy.You...

  • Health warning

    There has been an outbreak of cholera in Segou district, central Mali. You should be aware and take precautions. Two cases of polio have been reported in Mali since May.Medical facilities outside of Bamako are limited. Make sure all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. Take prophylaxis against Malaria.

  • Crime and Banditry

    Crime rates in Mali are not high but you should take sensible precautions. Do not carry valuables in public.There have been incidents of armed banditry, carjacking, and kidnap by extremist groups in northern Mali, including the brief capture of tourists north of Timbuktu by a heavily armed extremist group in January 2004, and earlier instances of...

  • getting a visa

    We found the fastest visa response ever from the Honorary Consul in Basle, Switzerland. He returned our passports by return post. BUT you need to send actual money with your passport! Its best to send 50 SWISS FRANCS. they don't accept cheques! You also need tosend a stamped addressed enveloppe. for return postage. You should also make sure that...

  • Blisters

    Do not underestimate the importance of well-worn walking boots. I thought mine were, but what I didn't take into consideration, was the fact that my feet swelled enormously in the heat which resulted in 14 blisters.Pack plenty of Compeed. Duct tape is another good idea - great for protecting the feet where the skin hasn't broken yet, or to hold...

  • Low water

    Towards the end of the dry season, the water in the Niger River becomes dangerously low, and sand banks begin to apprear in the middle of the watercourse. The captains try to steer clear of these hazards, but every now and again you nedd to get out and drag the boat of the bank. As you can see from the picture, the water is only waist deep.

  • Steep ascent and descent

    There are a couple of sttep drops to look down upon during the trek, and the walks involving these should not be undertaken by someone suffering from vertigo. Parts of the descent is on roughly hewn ladders and scrambling over loose rocks. Little children scamper around your feet wanting to help you (for a price of course) - I found them more of a...

  • Stuck in the sand

    Many of Mali's roads, outside the highways, are merely sandy tracks. Often vehicles will be stuck in the soft sand, and everyone must get out to push, often with the help of other motorists and passers by.While we were there, a new road to Bandiagara was under construction - this should now be finsihed - making the journey to the Dogon area much...

  • Passports

    This is not really a warning or danger, just a reminder, but I didn't know where else to put it.Everyone (except nationals of the West African states) needs a visa to enter Mali. There are no embassies in the UK, the nearest are either France or Belgium. Once in Mali, you need to register with the police in all major twon, who will stamp your...

  • Hippos

    Hippos kill more people in Africa every year than any other animals. (except perhaps the mosquito). This was clearly embedded in my mind when I woke up one morning, having spent the night in my sleeping bag under the stars along the banks of the River Niger. I had heard strange chomping noises in the night, but with no ambient light, and being too...

  • Harmattan

    The hot, sand-laden wind from the Sahara generally blows from March to June, raising the temperature considerably. It can at best be an interesting experience, at worst, terrifying. Along the banks of the Niger one evening, we had to sit in the tents to stop them blowing away. One particularly petite girl, was being lifted off the ground in her...

  • High temperatures

    The temperature in Mali is nearly always hot, dry and dusty. During the dry season - between November and June - temperatures can reach in excess of 50ºC. We went in early March, the end of the alize winds which brings with them cooler weather - supposedly. The temperature reached 46ºC in the shade, and there is precious little shade whilst...

  • Beware of what you drink and eat

    You probably already know it but i'll say it whatever : be very careful of what you drink and eat. When you're going to a restaurant even if it's an european restaurant avoid row fruits and vegetables. Whereever you go never never drink anything else than bottled water or sodas. Even being careful it took me two month to really recover from my 3...

  • 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.

  • Drive carefully

    There are quite a few roads that are not paved, especially when you are heading north, so please drive carefully, take sandshields with you and one or two spare tires at least!4WD is essential in some regions, so a good preparation is very important!

  • Falling in Love

    Is falling in love with a country and wanting to help a danger? Well, but it made my life so rich, that I would want you all to experience the same! If you are curious, please have a look at my Fatoumata travellogue....

  • Local food...

    Be very careful accepting local food. Be sure that your chicken-rice is fresh and well boiled or fried! Stomach problem are common as it is hot and sanitary conditions are poor. Sealed mineral water is available in every village but you will probably get only half bucket of water to do your morning and evening toilette

  • Make sure you get all of your...

    Make sure you get all of your vaccinations up to date before you go to Mali. Yellow Fever is mandatory to get into the country. Malaria is very important as there are a LOT of mosquitos at night. If you're not used to extreme temperatures, you should also have purified water readily available. It is recommended that tourists not drink the water,...

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • 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!

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Mali Warnings and Dangers

Reviews and photos of Mali warnings and dangers posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Mali sightseeing.
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