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Best things to do in Bamako

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Where in the world: Africa  /  Mali  /  Bamako

Top 10 things to do in Bamako

1. Musee National de Bamako

Get an overview of Mali's heritage at Musee National de Bamako, which details the history and culture of Mali from prehistory to present day. An archeological collection has a fossilized skull of a prehistoric man and an artistic view of life during the Paleolithic age, while an ethnographic collection displays masks and carvings from various parts of the country, including contemporary puppets and ancient textiles. Established in 1953 as the Museum of French Sudan directed by a Ukrainian archaeologist, the museum now also hosts exhibits of contemporary arts. Check out photographs from the Bamako biennale, and stop in the gift shop for a good selection of souvenirs and art-related items. French and English speaking guides are available.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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2. Parc national du Mali, Bamako

A breath of fresh air in the center of the city, Parc national du Mali, Bamako serves as a popular relaxation spot for the locals, with a bike path and three separate playground for children. Opened in 2010, the park encompasses 103 hectares (255 acres) and includes several eateries, ranging from an upscale restaurant to street food stands providing quick snacks and cold drinks.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Zoo National du Mali

Trade the traffic-infested streets for lions, elephants, monkeys, crocs, and tortoises at Zoo National du Mali, perched on a hilltop outside the city. The zoo features a small forest and an artificial river for big cats, plus a variety of colorful fish located in a separate aquarium. Watch chimps swing in a hammock and observe large green enclosures with buffalos, ostriches, and deer. Some spots have an additional surcharge, including the reptile house, aviary, and aquarium.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Bamako City Centre Market

Steep your senses in the flavors and colors of Bamako City Centre Market, a traditional market in the heart of the capital. This noisy, vibrant mish-mash of stands, huts, and semi-covered shops offers anything you can imagine, from food to electronics to livestock. Donkey carts and women with crammed baskets on their heads pass by jam-packed stalls, while vendors hawk goats, turkeys, and sheep heads. Look for traditional Malian handicrafts as you explore this labyrinth. The intensity here may overwhelm the faint-hearted: go with the flow, and bring a bottle of water.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Cathedral of Bamako

Built in the first half of the 20th century, Cathedral of Bamako served as the city's only Catholic place of worship until 1957. The Mass celebrated here differs from most Catholic services, featuring gospel singing in the style of Afro-American church ceremonies.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Bamako Grand Mosque

One of the tallest and most conspicuous buildings in the city, Bamako Grand Mosque features a combination of Saudi and West African architectural styles. Two minarets top the square building, where hundreds of worshipers come to pray or meditate.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Casino De L'amitie

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Bamako Artisan Market

Polish your bargaining skills for a visit to Bamako Artisan Market, offering a wide variety of handicrafts ranging from traditional musical instruments to dried baboon skulls. Browse through jewelry, leather products, , beaded bracelets, and woodcarvings--all make ideal gifts and souvenirs.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Monument de l"Independance

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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10. Yacouba Guindo Mosque

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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