Bamako - Post Report Question and Answers
What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is spacious. - Apr 2021
Embassy housing is primarily in a few neighborhoods located either north of the river (near the embassy) or south of the river (same side as the airport). Most of the housing pool consists of houses with 3-4 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, consumables room, living room and dining room. There is one apartment complex with eight, 2-bedroom/2.5 bath spacious apartments, sharing a pool, laundry facility with 4 washers/4 dryers, and a large rooftop area. There are also two housing compounds.
The rest of the houses are generally grouped together but are not on compounds. A few houses are somewhat isolated, though not too far from other houses. Every house has a guard and gated parking for at least one vehicle. Most houses have pools. Yard space varies but is generally small.
Those who live on the south side of the river have longer commute times. There are three bridges to cross the river, with two being easy to access. If there's road construction, an accident, or some other obstacle near or on a bridge, traffic can become gridlocked and very difficult. On average over the past year, it has taken 15 minutes to get to work and about 25 minutes to get home. On occasion, it's taken me almost two hours to get home. Reminds me of Rock Creek Parkway traffic... - Apr 2017
Houses are gigantic. I don't own enough furniture for all the rooms in my house! Each embassy house has a pool. I live about a 10 minute drive from the Embassy and it is fantastic being so close. Some embassy employees live on the other side of the river and have to constantly deal with traffic jams and accidents on the bridges. - Aug 2014
Housing here...as much as I love Bamako, the housing leaves much to be desired. There tends to be two types: 1) old, small ranchers with decent yards in established neighborhoods on the opposite side of the river from downtown and the Embassy/USAID, or 2)new, oversized houses with tons of maintenance problems and no yard, which are near the Embassy/USAID but in a relatively undeveloped part of town. All have pools. Both are far from the school. Because of housing shortages and the extreme differentiation between housing types, equity is a problem in the official community. For non-afflilated expats, I think finding decent housing is a real struggle. Much of the European community lives in Cite du Niger, which is a lovely part of town, with nice housing, but traffic in and out is really tough. - Jul 2011
Depending on your budget, you can find all types of house. Most of the NGO families have a nice house with a yard for the kids to play, a pool, and 3 or 4 rooms. The nicest houses are in and around Badalabougou and Hippodrome. The new neighborhoods have big houses that occupy the whole land leaving no space for a decent yard or trees! - Jul 2011
Houses are spatious but very few have significant yard space. If you are affiliated with the Embassy, you will live in either ACI 2000 or across the river in Badalabougou. Other expat housing areas include Hippodrome, Cite du Niger, Quartier du Fleuve, and Torokorobougou. If you are unfortunate enough to land on the other side of the river (Badalabougou) you will find commutes can be problematic during rush hour, since there are only two bridges spanning the Niger. Recent construction in some roundabouts has improved circulation, but it can get quite congested in downtown Bamako. - Oct 2010
Most embassy housing include at least 3 bedroom and a small swimming pool. Since the country isn't so nice, they try to make it up by giving us nice houses. I'm not complaining, it's pretty great. - May 2010
All houses with pools. Construction is not the best quality, wiring is shaky, and fixtures are top quality North Korean. They usually have some kind of small yard space but are generally quite large. Commutes range from 10-20min depending upon bridge traffic. - Sep 2009
Single family housing and apartments. One compound with apartments (mostly singles). Houses closer to the school are older than those closer to the Embassy. - Apr 2009
Most houses are large, airy adobe styled homes with yards and swimming pools. Many are five minutes from the Embassy...the furthest are about 15 minutes away (longer if there is an accident on the bridge). - Feb 2009
Houses are very big, all that I knew of had pools. We had a particularly nice yard. We were very happy with our house. - Feb 2009
Houses are a good size, all with swimming pools. Houses on the south side of the river have great yards while those on the north side, and closer to the embassy, have smaller yards. Commute on the north side is about 5-10 minutes. Coming from the south side, it could be anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes depending on if there is an accident on the bridge. - Jan 2009