Transport in Mali


Buses operate between all major towns.  Booking in advance is recommended. Journey times vary and are made much longer due to frequent police checks.


Taxis are available in all major towns. Always agree the fare before you start your journey.

Car Hire

Cars can be hired in Bamako, however it is generally not recommended to hire a car and self-drive unless you are experienced in driving in Africa. One of the best ways to experience Mali is on an organised tour, or by hiring a car with driver.


Driving is on the right hand side in Mali.  Only the major roads are tarmaced.  Other roads can become impassable in the wet season.  Police check points are frequent.


Trains operate in western Mali between Bamako and Kayes.  First class and cramped second class seats are available. Most trains have a bar/restaurant.  Trains rarely run on time and are frequently late.


Boat travel is possible on the Niger River during the wet season only (August to December) when water levels are highest.  Large passenger ferries make the journey between Bamako, Koroume (stopping point for Timbuktu) and Gao.  These ferries make frequent stops and the whole journey should take a couple of days, but regularly take twice as long.

Both private and public pirogues and pinasse ply the river and make an interesting way to see the country.


Travel by road is possible from the neighbouring countries of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea, Niger and Mauritania.

Africa Travel Information