Mali: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
The Republic of Mali in West Africa has a population of 14.5 million and the capital is Bamako. French is the official language and Bambara is the most widely spoken. The currency is the CFA franc, with 100 CFA francs being equal to 0.17 US dollars. The northern borders of Mali reach into the Sahara desert but the south, where most people live, is subtropical, with the Niger and Senegal rivers providing fertility. In the center is Mount Hombori Tondo, at 1155 m, the highest point. The economy centers on agriculture and fishing and other natural resources like gold.
There is one railroad which runs from the port of Koulikoro via Bamako to the border with Senegal. Mali has about 4,500 kilometers of paved roads. Generally, road conditions outside urban centers are hazardous, especially at night. In urban centers, there are a great many informal buses and taxis. Bamako especially is known for its green and yellow taxis. The main airport is Senou International Airport in Bamako. This has flights to neighboring countries and Europe.
Visitors will find spectacular scenery such as the Boucle du Baoulé National Park in western Mali, known for its prehistoric rock art and tombs. Historic buildings include the Great Mosque of Djenné, the largest mud-built structure in the world, one of the most famous landmarks in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is a lively cultural and festival scene, with the Festival on the Niger offering a program of music, dance, theater and art exhibitions mixing contemporary culture with ancient tradition. The Festival au Désert is an annual concert in Tessalit, showcasing traditional Tuareg music and world music.