Top things to do

North African in Bamako

San Toro

The décor here is charmingly African and the specialties are quality Malian dishes (the poulet au coco is especially good), which can take a while to appear, but are always worth the wait. There's no alcohol, b…
Market in Bamako

Marché de Medina

The charm of this market is that few tourists reach here, so you're unlikely to be hassled. It's also a good place to buy second-hand clothes and if you have a few hours spare, you can get your hair braided or your …
Museum in Bamako

Musée National

The Musée National is small but nevertheless contains some beautiful ethnographic pieces from many of Mali's ethnic groups, including wooden masks, carvings, contemporary marionettes and ancient textiles. Frenc…
French in Bamako

Le Compagnard

Top marks for this place. High-quality French cooking, French wines and a switched-on ambience ensure plenty of regular customers among the expat community. The salad bar is a nice touch, and the wood-fired pizzas a…
Bar in Bamako

Le Byblos

Bamako is a city that comes into its own after dark, and on weekends it's a party town. Clubs don't get going before midnight and close around 06:00. Cover charges (US$9) usually include a drink, and after that drin…
European in Bamako

Café Restaurant la Casa

In Bamako Coura, this is a fine, relaxed backpacker hang-out opposite the Mission Catholique; their spaghetti, couscous and ragout dishes contain the freshest ingredients, but if you want meat you'll need to order i…
Bar in Bamako

Bla Bla Bar

This is Mali's most sophisticated bar, and though regulars lament that it has lost something since being glassed in and blasted with air-con, it's still filled with the bold and the beautiful at weekends.
Jewellery in Bamako

Maison des Artisans

Leather goods and woodcarvings are made and sold here, and there are several jewellers offering gold and silver objects that are sold by weight (watch out for gold-plated brass).
Market in Bamako

Fetish Stalls

The Fetish Stalls, near the Maison des Artisans, are not for the faint-hearted, offering up a stomach-turning array of bones, skins, dried chameleons and rotting monkey heads.
Live Music in Bamako

Wassulu Hôtel

When she's not in Paris, Oumou Sangare plays here at 21:00 on Saturdays.