How to get there
The lowest round-trip air fare between Boston and Bamako, Mali, at press time was $2,375 on
The best time to visit Mali is October-February, after the rainy season and before it gets too hot. US citizens must obtain a visa from the Mali Embassy in Washington and provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. Call 202-332-2249 or visit www.maliembassy.us.
Taxis are plentiful and easy to flag down in Bamako for $3-$4. Try to agree on the price in advance.
Traveling between cities by public bus is inexpensive and interesting. In Bamako, the main terminals are centered around the Sogoniko gare routière (bus station). At least two bus companies, Somatra and Bittar Trans, provide service to Ségou, Mopti, and Sévaré. Expect to pay about $5.60 to get from Bamako to Ségou, another $10 from Ségou to Mopti and Sévaré.
Where to stay
Mandé HôtelCite du Niger, Bamako
Modern hotel on the banks of the Niger River, away from the bustle of downtown. Pool. Doubles about $80.
2005 Route de Sotuba, Bamako
011-1-223-221-5298, 011-1-223-221-3637, 011-1-223-221-7056
Popular with the ex-pat community; also has a pool. Doubles about $73.
Le DjennéMissira 1 rue 08, Bamako
Owned by Aminata Traoré, the country's former minister of cultural affairs. Doubles about $40.
BP 140, Ségou
Wonderful accommodations and plentiful hot water. Doubles about $44.
BP 66, Sévaré
Small, pleasant hotel that can serve as a base for travel to Djenné and Dogon country. Doubles about $33.
Where to eat
Mandé Hôtel (See above)
Veranda overlooks the Niger. Thatched roof and overhead fans. African and European food. Meal for two with drinks, about $50.
Le Djoliba(See above)
The best restaurant in Ségou. Draft beer and wide choice of the regional specialty known as capitaine, or Nile perch. Meal for two with drinks, about $30.