Is Bamako Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Bamako, the capital city of Mali, offers a colorful cultural scene; however, security conditions are concerning. Crime rates are relatively high, with incidents of petty crime like pickpocketing and purse snatching being common. In recent years, Mali as a country has also experienced political instability and militant activity, making it unsuitable for inexperienced solo travelers. Although being a solo female traveler doesn't specifically make you a target, increased vigilance and caution are advised.

Safety rating

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Safety index

Safety at night:Unsafe

Wandering alone at night in Bamako is not generally recommended. While many locals are hospitable and friendly, instances of crime such as petty theft and more severe crimes could occur, particularly at night. It might be safer to arrange reliable transport via your hotel or an established taxi company, especially if you're unfamiliar with the area. Make sure you keep your belongings secure and stay vigilant about your surroundings.

Public transportation:Unsafe

While utilizing public transportation in Bamako, such as the green minibuses or taxicabs can be an experience, it's important to proceed with a certain degree of caution. Road conditions often may be poor and traffic laws seldom followed correspondingly, posing a significant risk. Public buses tend to be overcrowded and can be opportunistic for pickpockets. Add to this, language barriers, sporadic political instability, and the risk of petty crime can create challenges for solo female travelers. Therefore, always stay vigilant of your surroundings.

Street harassment:Moderate

In Bamako, the degree of street harassment can be moderate. As a female traveler, you may experience some unwanted attention and catcalls on the streets. However, most of these scenarios are limited to verbal interaction. If you dress modestly and culturally appropriate, you can lessen this unwanted attention. It is always essential to take normal safety precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night and staying in well-lit, busy areas. Local people are generally friendly and helpful, so do not hesitate to ask for help if you feel uncomfortable.

Petty crimes:High

While Bamako is known for its unique culture and history, petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse snatching are relatively common, especially in crowded areas and markets. These are usually carried out by fast-moving individuals or groups, and can particularly target apparent foreigners. Despite this, with vigilance and sensible precautions, many visitors have safe and trouble-free trips.

Tap water:Very unsafe

The tap water in Bamako is not considered safe for drinking. It is recommended to drink bottled water or bring a reliable water filter or purifier to avoid stomach or other health-related issues. The risks tied with the water include not only bacteria, but also potentially harmful chemicals.

Is Bamako safe to travel?

Is Bamako safe for women?

Is Bamako safe right now?

Before your visit to Bamako, it's essential to check travel advisories for Mali, including your home country's official travel advisory. These advisories can provide up-to-date information on safety, health, and any specific considerations for travelers.

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 advises avoiding all travel to Mali, including the capital, Bamako. This is due to the threats of terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry. If the security situation in Mali deteriorates, the Embassy of Canada's ability to provide consular services in Bamako may be limited. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: April 17, 2024

Australia's Travel AdvisoryDo not travel

The Australian Government advises against travelling to Mali due to the precarious security situation, as well as the threat of terrorism and kidnapping. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: March 5, 2024

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Safety in Mali