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Destination Guide: Bamako

Authentic West African music and soul
Marvel at the colourful chaos of Bamako’s street markets while shopping for exotic curios. Browse museums rich in ancient relics and Mali’s tribal history before dancing under the starry desert sky to the fervent beat of the djembé drums.

Food and Drink

Mouth-watering street food and spicy local cuisine. Dive into fragrant boulangeries for baguettes in the morning before taking up offers of spicy kebabs and fried millet doughnuts from street vendors. In the evening dine out on fragrant hibiscus rice with banana and chilli-laced la capitaine sangha fish off central Place de la Liberté.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Learn about Mali’s proud heritage. Admire colourful dresses at the Musée de la Femme then see impressive sculptures, ancient textiles and terracotta at the Musée Nationale. The tranquil botanical gardens and their native plants offer respite from the crowds, while the soaring minarets of the Saudi-style Grande Mosqué make for a perfect photo.

Shopping

Hunt for hand-crafted gifts in bustling markets. The Grand Marché’s stalls tumble with fruit, earth-dyed fabrics and exotic remedies. For carved fetishes, tribal masks and leather crafts from Timbuktu visit the Marché Rose. The covered Maison des Artisans sells wood carvings and Tuareg nomadic jewellery.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Modern beats and traditional Malian music. Watch Maninca folk music and dancing at the Carrefour des Jeunes or a French play at the Palais de la Culture. Cool down with a local Castel beer or tamarind juice on Rue Dafaka before heading to a club to dance to the rapid drums and blues-inspired guitars of Bamako-born Ali Farka Touré.