Flights to Koutiala
Koutiala is a small city in southern Mali that was originally founded in the 16th century. There is a lot of industry in Koutiala today, particularly grain farming and cotton production. You will not find a lot of features for tourists though there are modern facilities such as hotels, restaurants and banks within easy reach.
To get a flight to Koutiala, you will have to arrive at the Bamako-Senou International Airport (airport code: BKO), nearly 270km away. Buses take the route regularly between the two places though. From South Africa, the only one-stop flight to Koutiala that goes to Bamako is with Ethiopian Airlines and they connect in Addis Ababa. Kenya Airways takes a route through Gaborone and Nairobi, and South African Airways goes a very different way with stops in Accra and Lome. Most flights to Koutiala will be between 25 and 30 hours long.
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The Tourist Attractions of Koutiala:
Languages spoken here are French and Bambara, and though the country is mainly Muslim, the locals are very tolerant of other beliefs and cultural restrictions are limited.
The market is not very fancy, and the booths are often just open tables or even just piles of sacks on the ground. But if you want to see the heart of Koutiala and a lot of the local people, this is the place to go. Crafts or souvenirs are not common and most of the vendors are selling fruit, vegetables, grains or other foodstuffs.
If you are looking to see nature parks in Mali, you will have to do some driving to the west from Koutiala, past Bamako which will take several hours. But on the other side of the capital, there is the Baoul National Park, Badinko Reserve and the Keniebaoule Reserve. Depending on the specific area you are touring, you may see elephants, lemurs, baboons, leopards, and gazelles. If you are arriving in Bamako, you might want to see these parks before leaving the area to come to Koutiala.
Less than 2 hours drive south of Koutiala is the city of Sikasso, where you can find some additional facilities and tourist sights. There are city wall ruins around the centre of the city, including several large memorial gates and there is an old fort up on Mamelon Hill near the water tower that has a great view of Sikasso. Just outside of the city is Farako Falls and the caves of Missiricoro if you want to see some natural attractions.
When Should You Visit?:
It is going to be hot no matter when you plan your trip though there are some months cooler than others. Night times will also drop by at least 10 degrees so you can get a little relief if you arrange for some of your sight-seeing to be in the evenings. For cooler weather, come to Koutiala in July or August when the daytime high temperatures are 30C (86F) and a little wetter than the rest of the year. It will heat up in February and March up to 37C (99F) which is likely going to be uncomfortable for most people.