Mali Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving In Mali
You should check your Government’s website for up to date info before considering any travel to Mali. Most of the North of the country is flagged as off limits under any circumstances and the south is generally classed as ‘essential travel only’.

There have been incidents of armed banditry, car-jacking and kidnap in northern and central Mali. There was a coup in Mali in 2012 following armed conflict in the north. Democracy was restored in 2013  and a peace agreement has been signed by most parties to the earlier conflict but there are still numerous armed militias which are active throughout the country and present a risk to travellers.

Aside from the current dangerous state of the country- The roads from Bamako to most major cities in the south are paved and in reasonable condition but during the rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, some unpaved roads may be impassable. Many roads outside of the capital are unpaved and deep sand and ditches are common. Four-wheel drive vehicles with spare tires and emergency equipment are recommended. Driving standards will be generally poor and you should take extra care in Bamako which has high volumes of motorbikes which seldom follow any rules of the road. If you’re involved in an accident and can still proceed, its generally safer to proceed to the nearest police or military checkpoint to seek help rather than remaining at the scene of the incident. If stopped at a police checkpoint there’s a high likelihood you’ll have to pay an unofficial ‘fine’. The main Malian highway heading south from Bamako to the Burkina Faso border was singled out in late 2008 as the worst in West Africa for minor police corruption.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Mali Car Rental –
Europcar and Avis both have branches in Bamako and seem to be still offering self drive.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Mali. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

Mali Self Drive Rules –
Europcar mention restrictions on driving to certain countries but don’t say which countries.

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