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Cheap Flights to Bamako, Mali

  • Area City & Cercle               : 245.0km² (94.6 sq mi)
  • Area Codes                         : +223
  • Currency                              : Communaute Financiere Africaine Frank (CFA)
  • Population City & Cercle      : 1,809,106 (2009)
  • Official Language                 : French
  • Time Zone                            : UTC/GMT+0
  • Airport                                  : Modibo Keita International Airport (BKO)

BKO is Mali’s primary airport located around 15km south of the capital city Bamako. BKO is managed by Aéroports du Mali that also provide a free bus transit three times a day between BKO and the city. Taxis and car rentals are also available for passengers.

From Cape Town, travellers can fly to BKO with the following airlines:

  • South African, Kenya Airways (via Johannesburg, Nairobi) 17h 0m+
  • Kulula, (via Johannesburg) 18h 5m+
  • British Airways (via Johannesburg) 18h 20m+
  • Ethiopian (via Johannesburg, Addis Ababa) 19h 20m+

From Johannesburg, additional airlines to Bamako include:

  • ASKY
  • KLM
  • Air France

Other airlines touching down at ‘BKO’ include:

Reasons to Visit Bamako, Mali:

  • Mali’s administrative heart, Bamako is a lush city with the Niger River flowing through and its imperative river port, located close by in Koulikoro. It’s a vibrant city, buzzing with scooters 24/7, friendly locals and a wealth of activities and sights to enjoy that include nature parks, architecturally pleasing buildings, monuments, museums, gardens, the zoo and markets for meandering. After sunset the city pulsates with people, music, live shows and night clubs until dawn.
  • Some of Bamako’s history goes way back to the Palaeolithic era where inhabitants lived off an abundance of food from the Niger River’s fecund earth, expediting early wealthy kingdoms and trade routes through West Africa to northern Africa and Europe. Goods traded were ivory, kola nuts, gold and salt. By the 11th century Bamako was a primary market town and hub for Islamic scholars with two universities and several medieval mosques. Development and growth of the ‘Mali Empire’ in the Middle Ages enabled it to replace the ‘Empire of Ghana’ that previously dominated the area.
  • There’s a wonderful choice of luxurious and affordable hotels that include Radisson Blue, Azalaï Hotel Salam and Hotel Mande with stunning vistas of the river. Other options comprise Inns, B&Bs and Speciality Lodgings at very affordable prices. For backpackers The Sleeping Camel is warm and welcoming with a bar, good food, WiFi, dorms and double rooms with private bathrooms while Bamako Plage, situated along the river is a bit more pricey with a lovely scenic setting, swimming pool and a great spot for lunch or an afternoon beer. The city has a fabulous variety of eateries serving typical Malian food and international cuisines. ‘Pizzeria Da Guido’ makes the best pizza in town and for a light meal ‘Broadway Café’ affords hamburgers, pies and more.

When to Visit Bamako, Mali:
For hot weather the best time to visit Bamako is during January, February and from October to December. January affords highs of up to 35°C while February reaches 38°C with around 2% of rain. Maximum temperatures vary between 33 and 37°C during October (+-51mm rain), November (12mm rain) and December with just 1mm rain.

Places to Visit Bamako, Mali:

  • An architectural work of art, the stunning gothic styled Bamako Cathedral was started in 1925 and completed in 1936.
  • The Grand Mosque of Bamako located in the centre of the city and one of the city’s tallest structures was built during the latter 1970s on the site of a previous pre-colonial mud and brick mosque. Occasionally open to visitors outside prayer times, viewing the lavish interior is an experience.
  • Perfect for families, tranquillity and nature’s beauty, the lush Parc National du Mali with charming gardens, a medicinal plant section, a baobab forest and delightful spots for picnics or tea at the restaurant also affords hiking opportunities.
  • Take a drive to Point G Hill for stunning vistas of the city and river and where the kids can enjoy the playground in lush surroundings.
  • The ‘National Museum of Mali’ is an anthropological and archaeological museum that displays temporary and permanent exhibits on Mali’s prehistory that include dress, musical instruments and ritual objects related to the numerous ethnic groups of the country.
  • The Botanical Gardens is lush with trees, a man-made river with pedestrian bridges and pathways that lead to the top of the hill, affording splendid vistas of the city.
  • Close to the Botanical Gardens is the Bamako Zoo that includes chimpanzees, crocodiles, lions, zebras, ostriches and more. The zoo also criss-crosses hiking trails that show off more of Bamako’s natural beauty.
  • Martyrs Bridge completed in 1957 links older areas of the city to the suburbs on the Niger’s south shore and is also known as the Old Bridge. King Fahd Bridge, also referred to as the New Bridge opened in 1992.
  • Go shopping in the bustling MarchÈ de Medina for clothing made from local cotton, handmade rugs, wood carvings, fresh fruit and vegetables or have your hands painted with henna.
  • Shopping at the small market Fetish Stalls affords some very unusual items that include bones, dried chameleons, monkey heads and other quirks.
  • Designed in Neo-Sudanic architectural style, the 20 story BCEAO Tower is the Mali’s tallest building and the Malian headquarters for the Central Bank of West African States. Visitors can take a tour and appreciate a panoramic view of the city from the top floor.
  • The Modibo Keïta Memorial established in 1999 is dedicated to Mali’s first president Modibo Keïta (1915 – 1977).
  • The city affords an array of monuments that include the 1960 Monument de I’’Independence, a magnificent structure; Place de Sogolon located at Kalabancoura, representing a buffalo; the seven metre high Place Kontoro ni Saané built in 1924; The Hippopotamus on Boulevard de I’Indépendance; The Three Caymans; The Obelisk of Ideograms; the Statue of Maternity; the Place of Explorers with several busts of explorers; Governor’s Place, a beautiful lush area with 26 marble slabs; the Sofa of Samory-Woyowoyanko on a hill southwest of Bamako represents a soldier-slave and the 1922 ‘Monument to the Heroes of the Black Army’.
  • Tourists have an excellent range of eateries to decide on. For great service in a warm atmosphere, ‘Restaurant Le Loft’ offers delectable French and European dishes. Soukhothai is a classy family run establishment specialising in Thai, Asian and vegetarian dishes and the popular Chez Thierry affords delicious African and Italian meals with excellent service. Appaloosa Restaurant that’s very American with a pub provides good food at affordable prices. Enjoy a stunning view while enjoying a meal at Badala right on the river.
  • Tourists venturing out of the city can take a leisurely 15 hour drive to visit Timbuktu, around 706 kilometres away, travel by train, take a flight or a bus that takes around 24 hours.

Getting Around Bamako, Mali:

Sotramas that are green in colour are a great and inexpensive way to get around and explore the city. Drivers speak mostly French, Bambara or Dogon. It helps to have someone with you that speaks a local language.

With plenty of taxis in the city, they’re easily waved down and can be used privately or on a shared basis. Always negotiate and confirm the price before getting in.

The Somatrabus is comfortable and a favoured mode of transport for people travelling long distance and to places outside the city.

Car Hire:
Travellers can hire vehicles from Avis, Location de voitures Multi Services, Geotours, Le Chauffeur and others.