The capital of Mali is Bamako, located on the Niger river in the Southwestern part of the country. The best time to visit Mali is in the “cold season” which is usually between November and January.
Mali has a hot semi- arid climate, and experiences very high temperatures all year-round, and is classified into three based on the geographical placement of the regions; the North has the climate of the sahara; the centre has a semi-desert climate and raining seasons that start from June till September; and the South experiences a tropical climate of the savannah; the periods from February to June is usually hot and dry with very little rainfall.
There are about 8 different ethnic groups that are indigenous to Mali and they all have their rich cultures, traditions, foods and customs passed down from generation to generation making the country a great republic.
The predominant religion in Mali is Islam, but there are a minority of other religion like Christianity and animist.
Getting around Mali for a tourist can be from some common transport like cars, buses, trains and taxis, air transport is also available between major cities, and though it is very expensive it is enjoyable and relaxing; also river transport is available for getting around the country.
Mali is relatively known to be okay for travel but in recent time the terrorist activities in the country and kidnapping have made it no longer safe for tourists as they can be an attack indiscriminate of the region or area, this is especially in the northern Sahara region.
Mali is home to different festivals and celebrations that showcases their beautiful arts and culture, also Mali being a Muslim nation also celebrates all the Islamic festivals, some of these are the “Gouin Festival”, a three day long festival held in the quiet region of Gouina between Kayes and Bafoulabé, in the month of January; the “Festival on the Niger”, filled with music, dancing, puppet shows, craft vendors, workshops and pirogue boat races along the Niger River. It is in the month of February; the “Diamwari Festival”, meaning the weekend of happiness in english, is a three days festival held in February, it features gigantic puppets from Djenné, Dogon masks and at least four different dance troupes; the “Dogon Mask Festival”, held every year in April to celebrate to dogon goddess said to be the goddess of creation, it is a five days festival masks.
There are over 500 places of interest in Mali. Some of these attractions includes:
- Tomb Of Askia - This was built by Emperor Askia Mohammad in the late 15th century. The tomb was built with an assembly ground, and a mosque cemetery, and were constructed following the West African tradition. It also contains the body of Askia Mohammad.
- Cliff Of Bandiagara - Also known as the ‘land of dogons’, this is home to the tallest mountain in Mali the Hombori Tondo, the dogon people, and also one of the oldest people in Mali well-known as Tellem, who are the people known for burying the dead individuals quite above the flooding areas.
- Djenne - This city has been listed amongst the world heritage sites. The city is inhabited by oldest settlements in the West Africa dating back to 250 B.C. It is located on an Island in the Bani river, and is home to largest built mud structure in the world, the Grand Mosque.
- National Museum Of Mali - This is another major attraction in Mali, known to be the best museum in West Africa. It has built in Bamako in 1953, and there are over 3,000 exhibits in the museum including ancient musical instrument, clothing, and historic items of the ethnic groups.
- Gouina Falls - Mali is home to a number of great scenery and waterfalls but the Gouina falls is the most popular. Also known as the ‘Niagara falls of Mali’, it is located on the Senegal river and is about 15 to 16 meters tall and 500 meters wide with its water falling on the step of Precambrian sandstone.
There are over 5,000 hotels and accommodations in Mali that offers the best experience while in the country. Mali is divided into eight different regions and one district, the Bamako Capital District. The regions are Koulikoro, Gao, Kayes, Sikasso, Kindal, Ségow, Mopti, and Tombouctou (also known as Timbuktu).