Bamako - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUV - Apr 2021

4WD and something with some clearance for the rainy season. There are many cars on the road but to do anything other than basic commuting you'll want something with some clearance (lots of unpaved, rocky roads). Parts depend on make of the car: Toyota parts are widely available, some others that can take non-brand items. - Apr 2017

Bring an SUV. You'll feel safer during traffic (so MANY motos driving crazy!!). Additionally, during the rainy season, the paved roads develop huge potholes and the dirt roads become pretty difficult to drive on if you do not have a high clearance. That being said, some people do have low clearance cars (toyota corollas/suburus) and have had no big problems with getting around. - Aug 2014

4x4 with high clearance. Anything made for the US market will be difficult to maintain because the parts won't be available. An international model Ford/Toyota will work well. Many people get in accidents here. Cars maintain their value here and can be sold fairly easily. - Jul 2011

Bring a 4X4 so you can go everywhere (not all roads are paved) and so people will respect you when driving. There are official car dealers here: Peugeot, Chrysler, Volkswagen, a Chinese one, a South Korean one, and Toyota. Some car parts are expensive as they come from France. - Jul 2011

A small SUV.I would stick to Toyota, Jeep, or Mitsubishi (all three have dealerships/garages in Bamako).Many roads (including those in expat residential areas) are unpaved and can be difficult to navigate during the rainy season. - Oct 2010

4x4. Although you can technically drive a sedan in country, it is highly recommended against. The roads are horrible. Do not even think about bringing a sports car. A small SUV is the best choice. Do not buy new because there will be scratch marks the first day of driving in country. People do not know how to drive here. - May 2010

I guess you could survive with a non-SUV, but I don't know why you'd knowingly do so. The roads are horrible, even right in front of the embassy. Especially during rainy season. Toyota is the preferred brand, and there's a dealer in town. Bring the basic typically-replaced parts (filters, tires, brake pads, etc. ). If I had to do it again I'd find a diesel Toyota Land Rover because they are indestructible. But no matter, whatever you bring you'll be able to unload at the end of your tour for probably whatever you paid for it in the States. - Sep 2009

4 Wheel Drive especially if you'll be traveling outside of Bamako. Toyota dealership in the city. Parts are available but expensive. I would bring tires, cleaning products you might like, etc. - Apr 2009

SUV. Jeep, Toyota, whatever. Something with clearance and 4 wheel drive. - Feb 2009

We had an SUV. We didn't need four-wheel drive, but the clearance was really helpful. There are a lot of really bad, pot-hole-ridden roads. - Feb 2009

4w drive is best. Many roads are well paved but many aren't and it helps to have a sturdy car. There is a Toyota and Chrysler/Jeep dealership here which can provide parts, but they are very expensive because of the import costs. - Jan 2009

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