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Mali, officially the Republic of Mali 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. The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako.

Best Places to Visit in Mali

Lets explore the best places to visit in Mali:

1. Timbuktu

For many a Berber trader and Bedouin caravan man Timbuktu marked the end of the arduous trek across the shifting sand dunes of the great Sahara.

Evoking mystery and magic and the feel of far-flung exoticism, even the name conjured up images of dusty bazaars where spices and sabres and strange folk trinkets rattled and scented the air.

Today, Timbuktu is hardly the puzzling, perplexing enigma of place it once was; but there are traces of the old days.

Find them between the criss-crossing grids of sand-caked streets; see them in the muddy walls of the Sankore Mosque; or discover them underneath the spiked rises of the Djingareiber.

2. Gao

Gao’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the centuries like the ups and downs of a yoyo.

Once the imperial heart of the great Songhai Empire, the town was later almost entirely abandoned in favour of the new capital at aforementioned Timbuktu.

But Gao clung to life from its place in the very midst of the dusty Sahel.

Its tenacious locals maintained their mud-brick, mat-built yurts and life went on.

Today, that makes Gao a great place to glimpse the earthy, ancient character of Mali, while craft markets, the acclaimed Sahel Museum, and 15th-century sepulchres like the Askia Tomb (yep, it’s supposed to look like Egypt’s pyramids!) add a whole host of cultural draws to the mix.

3. Bamako

Get the haggling valves and the shopping glands ready for that trip to Bamako: Mali’s largest and most frenetic city, where bazaars touting everything from carved folklore figurines to stacks of pungent spices cluster around the street corners and the sun-baked squares.

The nation’s capital, there’s something undeniably likable about this sprawling metropolis of more than 1.5 million.

It’s got palpable energy and an indelible lived-in feel.

The nightlife pulses to a medley of West African samba; the jazz bars are packed with beer drinkers on the weekends; fried plantains sizzle on grills from neighbourhood to neighbourhood; tuk-tuks purr, and traffic toots!

4. Djenné

There are few sites in all of Mali – nay, all of north-west Africa – as impressive as the historic city of Djenné.

Crowned at the center by the adobe rises of one fascinating Great Mosque, it is known for its distinctive mud-brick architecture and long history as a spot on the old caravan routes across the Sahel and Sahara.

Made rich by the passing of minerals and precious metals (and – of course – slaves), the town boomed during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The great worshipping house in its heart stands as testimony to the revered religious center Djenné became (even though it’s a later reconstruction of an older mosque), while the nearby archaeological excavations at Djenné-Djenno have shown the town to be one of the oldest in the entire Niger basin.

5. Mopti

Straddling the courses of the Bani River, just a stone’s throw from where that desert-shrouded tributary meets the mighty Niger, Mopti has positioned itself as one of Mali’s most important riparian ports.

But Mopti is also more than just an up-river trading center – it’s also the gateway to the fascinating tribal territories of Dogon, which come peppered with adobe villages and the semi-nomadic folk of the Bandiagara Escarpment.

There are oodles (and we mean oodles) of tour providers in Mopto, offering trips into this wild hinterland for cultural encounters, while boat trips to Timbuktu and sightseeing outings around the marketplaces and grand central mosques are also on the menu.

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