What to do and see in Bamako, Mali: The Best Places and Tips

September 4, 2017 Enedina Augsburger

One of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bamako sprawls across the flat plains to the north and south of the Niger River, with the Presidential Palace overlooking from the northern escarpment. The city is a major port, home to Mali's largest international airport and the Dakar-Niger Railway. Bamako is also a cultural hub, boasting multiple museums, a zoo, botanical gardens, the Bamako Grand Mosque and the Cathedral of Bamako.
Restaurants in Bamako

1. Parc national du Mali, Bamako

Rue de la Liberte, Bamako, Mali +223 20 70 38 00
Excellent
47%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 114 reviews

Parc national du Mali, Bamako

Le Parc national du Mali, à Bamako, est situé sur la rue de la Liberté, juste à côté du jardin Zoologique et du Musée national du Mali

Reviewed By Francesca V

Perfect place for families, group of friends or couples. There is a restaurant but you can also picnic on the grass. Apparently offers options for the more adventurous (trekking and climbing) which we did not try. It was peaceful yet lively.

2. Musee National de Bamako

Ave de la Liberte, Bamako, Mali
Excellent
38%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 71 reviews

Musee National de Bamako

Reviewed By VirginiaMember - Washington, Virginia

I visited the museum during our visit of the Parc and found it very well maintained, very interesting to get to know the history and culture of Mali. They had a special expo on Malian textile which was well worth the visit. A definite must see.

3. Zoo National du Mali

Bamako, Mali +223 73 09 44 44
Excellent
32%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
9%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 65 reviews

Zoo National du Mali

Reviewed By Thunderb0lt - Olympia

What fun! We took off for two hours on Friday afternoon at the zoo. It is clean, beautifully constructed, and has a wide range of animals, birds, lions, panthers, monkey family, reptile house and aquarium. I haven't seen a more animal friendly zoo habitat in Africa. There's a central plaza on the upper level, where people were enjoying the surroundings and picnicking with family. Food and drinks available on site, and a great gift shop for the kids (and adults who like to be kids on a day at the zoo).

4. Bamako city centre, market

Bamako, Mali
Excellent
33%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
9%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 53 reviews

Bamako city centre, market

Reviewed By Stefan B

If you want a pure African shopping experience, that's the place. Is not recommended with children.Very crowded place, it remembers me some market in Istanbul, or afro-arab movies. So is an interesting experience if you realy love Africa. Don't miss the artisans village inside (only accompanied by a trustful local, otherwise you will be cheated ).

5. Cathedral of Bamako

Bamako, Mali
Excellent
48%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15 reviews

Cathedral of Bamako

Reviewed By Stefan B

Having in view that is the only one in Mali, you have no choice (98% Muslim country). Is good to have a place to find yourself with divinity. The ceremonials are adapted to African style (like gospel, afro-american style). The architecture is unique in Mali. Great experience even if I'm christian orthodox.

6. Bamako Artisan Market

Bamako, Mali
Excellent
26%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
4%
Terrible
8%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 23 reviews

Bamako Artisan Market

Reviewed By Inga19b - Russia

The most interesting place there is a fetish market (though there're just several spots). You will never find so many attributes for black and white magic elsewhere in the world!
Monkey heads, crocodile heads, dog legs, lion urine, donkey ears, horns, dead parrots, bats, horse pennis, etc. You have to pay 1000 francs (1,5 euro) for taking pictures of one counter, but it's worth it! Come with a local guide and he will tell you the stories how to use all this staff! For example, if you're lack of sexual potention, buy a dry horse pennis, grind it, mix with water and drink - here you are, you are a playboy. Donkey ears help you to weaken your rival in love, or shockfish skin will help a pregnant woman.

7. Bamako Grand Mosque

City Center | Near the Central Market (Grand Marche) and Bamako Cathedral, Bamako, Mali
Excellent
22%
Good
67%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 9 reviews

Bamako Grand Mosque

Reviewed By MsLinRM - State College, Pennsylvania

Mali in July was hot, boiling hot, so I thought to skip a day of outdoor sights to head indoors for some peace and cooler air. I was thankful I could say "Big Mosque" in Arabic to the taxi driver, and he knew to drop me right at the entrance. Because I'm not Muslim, I admit I was a bit nervous about entering as a solo female traveler, but I wanted to see the architecture and so took a chance. I had prepared by completely covering everything except my face and hands. I went in and was quite surprised at the immensity and openness. I asked a man inside for the "Ladies room", and he directed me upstairs. I observed the Muslim prayer and had a little rest on the carpeted floor . I then ventured downstairs and found an Islamic class in progress. I sat down quietly next to the teacher, who didn't seem to mind my presence, and then found myself being captivated by how the male instructor was leading females in reciting Qu'ranic verses. I asked if I could read some (I knew some Arabic), and to my delight, the man nodded yes. I had a very peaceful visit and must say it was perhaps the only place in Bamako that offered a respite from the heat, dust, noise, and chaos of a large city. Females must respect the dress code by covering up and following the path to where the women are. I am unsure if males can go to the female room upstairs, but I found everyone inside friendly, so just ask. I did not take photos out of respect, but perhaps one could ask if it is possible.

8. Monument de l"Independance

Avenue de l'Independance, Bamako, Mali
Excellent
40%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 5 reviews

Monument de l"Independance

Reviewed By mahme - Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Monument celebrating the independance of Mali... It's the closest thing Bamako has to a significant landmark, located at the center of the Place de l'Independance roundabout.

9. Scoot West Africa

Bamako, Mali
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 3 reviews

Scoot West Africa

We run small group scooter tours in West Africa designed with the independent traveler in mind.

Reviewed By bdmath - San Francisco

You aren't going to meet backpackers on their gap year at hostels. You will find cheap beer, wild countryside, and an adventure you didn't expect. You'll see a lot of different kinds of countryside, tiny villages, and a couple big cities. This is a great trip for someone with a good amount of traveling under their belt, and wants to try something new and unique.

10. Casino De L'amitie

Avenue de la Marne, Bamako, Mali +223 20 21 85 54
Excellent
67%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Casino De L'amitie

Our casino has been open since 1997 in Bamako, located in the center of Bamako it is the place must in this city

Reviewed By mariani s

Nous avons pu découvrir avec mes amis un très beau casino à Bamako. Un bar assez sympa et son restaurant où ils y servent de très bons plats. La sécurité qui est importante est très présente dans l’enceinte du casino. Je le recommande.

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