Is Mali Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Mali is currently facing significant political instability, armed conflict, and heightened risk of terrorism. It's highly advised for solo female travelers to postpone their plans as kidnappings and violent crime are also prevalent. Local law enforcement may not have the means to fully assist in case of emergency. Special care should be taken in northern and central regions of the country due to extremist activity. General safety and security situation is unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly. Always prioritize your safety and consider other destinations.

Safety rating

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How safe is Mali?

Safety at nightUnsafe

Mali, especially at night, may present safety challenges for solo female travelers. Street lighting is incomplete in many areas, including the capital city Bamako, so visibility can be poor. Crime rates including targeted assaults and muggings are relatively high, and police presence is generally low. It is strongly recommended to avoid walking alone at night or to stay in well-lit, populous areas, if necessary. It would be better and safer to plan your activities to be done during daylight hours, hire a trustworthy local guide, or travel in groups to enhance your safety.

Public transportationUnsafe

Public transportation in Mali, consisting largely of minibuses and taxis, can be challenging due to overcrowding and poor vehicle conditions. Nighttime travel is particularly risky. Roads are often poorly maintained outside major cities and can be hazardous. Unfortunately, criminal activity and tourist-targeted scams also occur regularly.

Street harassmentHigh

Street harassment is relatively common in Mali, especially in the larger cities. Women walking alone can sometimes find themselves the target of unwanted attention or comments. This does not generally escalate into physical violence, but the behavior is not unusual. Familiarity with local customs and showing respect towards them can mitigate some of these situations. It's also recommended to dress conservatively to attract less attention. Nonetheless, always stay alert, practice personal safety, and trust your intuition.

Petty crimesHigh

Petty crimes, especially pickpocketing and theft, are relatively common in urban areas of Mali. As a traveler, particularly a solo female traveler, extra caution is advised in crowded places such as markets and bus stations. The risk intensifies after dark, therefore avoid venturing out alone at night. Always secure your belongings and keep valuable items concealed to avoid becoming a target.

Tap waterVery unsafe

While exploring Mali, refrain from consuming tap water as it often contains harmful bacteria and other contaminants. It is not treated to Western standards and poses a significant health risk to travelers. Stick with bottled or purified water, and use it for cleaning teeth and washing fruits as well to avoid any stomach and intestinal illnesses.

Is Mali safe right now?

Travel to Mali is strongly discouraged by the United States, Canadian, and Australian governments due to high risks of crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. This warning includes Mali's capital, Bamako. There is also a possibility that consular services from the Canadian embassy may be limited should the security situation deteriorate further. The overall security situation in Mali is highly unstable, making travel to the area potentially dangerous.
🇺🇸

United States Travel AdvisoryDo not travel

The United States Government advises against travel to Mali due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: July 31, 2023
🇨🇦

Canada's Travel AdvisoryDo not travel

The Canadian Government recommends avoiding all travel to Mali, including the capital Bamako, due to potential risks of terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry. Please note that if the security situation in Mali worsens, the Embassy of Canada’s ability to provide consular services in Bamako might be curtailed. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: February 26, 2024
🇦🇺

Australia's Travel AdvisoryDo not travel

The Australian Government advises against travelling to Mali due to the precarious security situation and potential risks of terrorism and kidnapping. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: September 27, 2023

Is Mali safe to visit?

Is Mali safe to live?

Meet locals in Mali

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Karen

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Diakité

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Stay with locals in Mali

Stay with local women in Mali who offer free accommodation as part of cultural exchange. Couch surfing is a great way to meet new people, learn more about new cultures and experience destinations like a local.
Karen

Karen

Bamako

Can host for:

3 days

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Hi, my name is Karen. I love to travel the world, meet new people, and discover the beautiful planet! I live in West Africa since 2017 with my family, working in the social enterprise sector.

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Diakité

Diakité

Mali

Can host for:

3 days

About me

Hey!, My name is Diakité and I'm interested in cinema, culture, camping, food & cuisine, nightlife, shopping, fashion, business, photography, science and nature

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Safety in Mali