Top 10 things to do in Mali

Mali

A country with a remarkable history and heritage; home to the ancient trade capitals and seats of learning of Djenné and Timbuktu.

Mali is a country.

Mali i/ˈmɑːli/, officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du Mali, French pronunciation: ​[maˈli]), is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako.

Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. A majority of the population (55%) are non-denominational Muslims.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. Significant portions of its legislation is derived from sharia law.

In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, which Tuareg rebels took control of by April and declared the secession of a new state, Azawad. The conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and later fighting between Tuareg and Islamist rebels. In response to Islamist territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month later, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second round run-off held on 11 August, and legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.

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Country
Typical length of visit: 4 days

Top 10 things to do in Mali

Timbuktu

Timbuktu
Timbuktu , formerly also spelled Timbuctoo and Timbuktoo, is a city in the West African nation of Mali situated 20 km north of the River Niger on the southern edge of ...

Bamako

Bamako
Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1.8 million. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest ...

Hombori

Hombori
Hombori is a small town and rural commune in the Cercle of Douentza in the Mopti Region of Mali. The commune contains 25 villages and in the 2009 census had ...

Djenné

Djenné
Djenné is a town and an urban commune in the Inland Niger Delta region of central Mali. The town is the administrative centre of the Djenné Cercle, one of the ...

Mopti

Mopti
Mopti is a town and an urban commune in the Inner Niger Delta region of Mali. The town is the capital of the Mopti Cercle and the Mopti Region. Situated ...

Gao

Gao
Gao /ɡaʊ/ is a city in Mali and the capital of the Gao Region. The city is located on the River Niger, 320 km east-southeast of Timbuktu on the left bank ...

Kayes

Kayes
Kayes is a city in western Mali on the Sénégal River, with a population of 127,368 at the 2009 census. Kayes is the capital of the administrative region of the ...

Kayes Region

Kayes Region
Kayes Region is one of eight first level national subdivisions, called Regions in Mali. It is the first administrative area of Mali and covers an area of 120,760 km2. Its capital ...

Ségou Region

Ségou Region
Ségou Region is an administrative region in Mali, situated in the centre of the country with an area of 64,821 km2 . The region is bordered by Sikasso Region on the ...