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Discover Mali with Timothy Tye

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Fatima's Hand, Hombori, MaliFatima's Hand, Hombori, Mali
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authorshipDavid Sessoms
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Mali is a big landlocked country in Western Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the north, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire to the south, Guinea to the southwest, Senegal to the west, and Mauritania to the northwest. Mali covers 1,240,192 sq km (478,839 sq mi) and has a population of about 14.5 million people (2011 estimate). Its capital and largest city is Bamako.

Djingareiber Mosque, Timbuktu, MaliDjingareiber Mosque, Timbuktu, Mali
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Mali observes Greenwich Mean Time, which is at Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+0). Its official currency is the West African franc (XOF). Traffic is driven here on the right. The phone IDD code is +223. The electricity is 220V/50Hz using European plug. The official language of the country is French, although Bambara is spoken by 80% of its population.

Mali is one of the poor countries in Africa. Its 2009 estimated nominal GDP is $8,965 billion, equivalent to a per capita nominal GDP of only $656. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity stood at $1,173. Half its population live below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day.

Mali is within the southern Sahara desert. The climate here is hot and arid, and the landscape is often dusty. The southernmost part of Mali is wetter, and experiences a tropical climate.

A dyeing trade in MaliA dyeing trade in Mali
photo source
authorshipRobin Taylor
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Mali was ruled by the French from the turn of the 20th century until its independence on 20 June, 1960. Political turmoil and drought killed thousands of people in Mali between 1968 and 1974. After years of political instability, Mali held a multi-party democratic election in 2002. Since then, it has gradually improved to become one of the most stable countries in the region.

Planning your visit to Mali

Most visitors to Mali need to have a visa in hand before arriving in the country. To apply for a visa, you need an invitation, such as a hotel reservation or company letter stating purpose of the trip.

There are daily non-stop flights to Bamako, the capital of Mali, from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can also fly to Mali from Casablanca in Morocco, which is a cheaper option.

Major Cities in Mali

  1. Bamako - capital
  2. Gao
  3. Kayes
  4. Kidal
  5. Mopti
  6. Ségou
  7. Sikasso

Places of Interest in Mali

  1. Adrar des Ifoghas
  2. Dogon Country

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