Bamako, Mali Report of what it's like to live there - 04/26/21

Personal Experiences from Bamako, Mali

Bamako, Mali 04/26/21


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived in many cities as an expat.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

US. Travel is usually via Paris, sometimes with a layover at the airport, sometimes with an overnight in Paris.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is spacious.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can make do with what you find in the local economy, but if you have certain ingredients or household supplies that you would really miss, bring them. Costs of imported goods are more expensive than if you bought them in the US or Europe, though not shocking. Local goods are very reasonably priced.

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3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are more restaurant options than we expected. The basque terrace at Bamako Kitchen is especially good. So is the Vietnamese restaurant Little Saigon.

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Daily Life:

1. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Most expats have a housekeeper or housekeeper/cook, either full time or part time. They usually are not live-in. Salaries are very low compared to US or Europe, but similar to elsewhere in Africa. Some expats also have gardeners, nannies, or drivers.

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2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The American Club has a good gym and is not expensive.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Cash is normally used instead of credit cards.

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4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It would be difficult to get around without at least survival French. Very few expats speak Bambara, but it would also be useful.

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5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?


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1. 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?


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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There is so much need. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business or business casual. Formal dress might not ever be required, unless you go to an embassy gala or something like that.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Mali is a malarial area.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It is not a large expat community, but it is a cohesive, friendly one.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Much socializing is done at private homes - dinners and parties. The American Club is a great place to meet people, covid allowing.

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3. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Malians are extremely friendly and welcoming.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely. I loved it.

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2. But don't forget your:

Flexibility and open-mindedness.

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