A landlocked country in the Sahel, Mali remains one of the poorest countries in the world, but it has wonderful musicians and some incredible sights, including four UNESCO World Heritage sites and the historic city of Timbuktu.

WARNING: Northern Mali—including the regions of Timbuktu, Kidal, Gao and Mopti, remains a dangerous region for Westerners to visit. Islamist rebels with close ties to an Al Qaeda branch (AQIM) is responsible for several kidnappings of foreigners from Mali (most of whom were killed after being held for months in remote desert camps). The risk of kidnapping remains, particularly in Northern Mali and along the borders with Mauritania and Niger. Most Western nations will not negotiate with terrorists in the event a citizen is kidnapped. Travellers cannot expect to get consular services in the event of an emergency. Also refer to war zone safety if you must visit such places.

A coup d’état occurred on 19 August 2020, where the Malian president was arrested and resigned due to opposition from the military. Another coup d’état happened in 2021. The situation remains unstable.

Due to the collapse of the tourism industry, many businesses have closed and the few tourists may make for easy targets for petty theft by destitute Malians.

Western governments recommend against all travel to the northern regions, and against all but essential travel to the rest of Mali, including Bamako.

Government travel advisories

(Information last updated May 2021)
COVID-19 information: To enter Mali you will either need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate less than 72 hours old to the airport authorities, or be tested on arrival at the airport.
(Information last updated 19 Aug 2020)

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This province houses the capital, Bamako
Most of Mali’s travel riches are concentrated in this region: unique rock formations at Hombori, the architecture of Djenné, and the unbelievable escarpment villages of Dogon Country
Has become the most populated province, due to the spillover from the civil war on Côte d’Ivoire.
Bordering Niger, this region has ethnic Songhai, Tuareg, Tadaksahak, and Zarma. Arid, but not as arid as places farther north.
Mali’s most remote Saharan region, with a small population of Tuareg nomads, and the incredibly remote annual Saharan Nights festival in Essouk
  Timbuktu (Tombouctou)
The name isn’t the only reason to visit; the town itself is a unique Tuareg desert trading center

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