Flights to Bamako
Bamako is Mali’s capital and largest city and it’s estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa. Bamako is in the south west of Mali, on the River Niger, and its name comes from the Bambara language, meaning “crocodile river”.
About 15 kilometres away from downtown is the Bamako-Senou International Airport (airport code: BKO), and it serves flights to Bamako by several African airlines. Coming from Johannesburg, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have the only 1-stop flights to Bamako, stopping in Dakar and Addis Ababa respectively. Kenya Airways is another option, but they have two stops, with transfers in Lusaka and Nairobi. Another 2-stop flight to Bamako is available with Lufthansa, and their route will take you through Frankfurt and Lisbon.
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The Tourist Attractions of Bamako:
Bamako has a small selection of tourist attractions that should keep most visitors busy for a day or two, including major landmarks and the national museum. The tourism infrastructure is quite good here too, though if you’re heading off to other parts of Mali you should make the most of the hotels here in Bamako while you have the chance. This is one of the world’s poorest countries after all, so outside of the big city don’t expect too much! Bamako, on the other hand, has a selection of hotels, restaurants and some nightlife.
Mali National Museum
The exhibits in the Mali National Museum are good and interesting, though there are not many that have English translations, so figuring out what you’re looking at can be a challenge! That said there are personal English speaking guides available who can let you know what’s what, and give you a good overview of the museum, Bamako, and Mali as a whole.
Major Landmarks in Bamako
Bamako is really quite rich in landmarks and monuments, many of which were built with financial aid from other countries. The Bamako Grand Mosque is a fine example of one of these, built with assistance from Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. The tall minarets of the mosque are hard to miss as they’re among the tallest structures in Bamako.
Another religious building is the Bamako Cathedral, which has very different architecture to the mosque as it’s a colonial building, left over from the French occupation of Mali.
Bamako’s numerous monuments are also major landmarks, not least because of their futuristic architecture in the case of Hamdallaye Obelisk and the Monument de la Paix! The Independence Monument and Al Quoods Monument are a little more classical in style.
Point G Hill
One more landmark that’s worth taking time to visit while in Bamako is Point G Hill. This hill offers some great views over the city and is also home to some caves with rock paintings.
When Should You Visit?:
Bamako is a very hot city so there’s no escaping the heat no matter when you visit! March, April and May come in hottest, with an average high of 39C, so you may want to visit in the cooler months, with, due to the rainfall, are over the summer. August is the coolest month, but eve then the average high is 31C, and most of the rain falls from June to September.