Do you want to visit Bamako? In this article, I´ve created the perfect 2 days in Bamako itinerary. The first time I went to Bamako, I was completely in awe. I’m used to African cities, but there’s something enchanting and grandiose about Bamako that even made me pause and take stock.
In the years that have followed, I’ve been back several times, discovering new neighborhoods, local markets, and restaurants – foregoing the big landmarks because hey – I’ve already seen the Great Mosque of Bamako and visited the National Museum of Mali countless times (and decided that I much preferred the Musée du Bogolan).
That’s why I wanted to take a completely different approach on my last trip. We had 48 hours in Bamako, and I decided that I was going to see the city with fresh eyes.
I created a first-timer’s Bamako itinerary and explored the city as if I’d never seen it before. All of a sudden, that feeling of awe in the face of the city’s unabashed magnificence returned.
We strolled around the city, admiring the stunning architecture and intricate tilework of the Great Mosque of Bamako, watching the sunset over the Niger River from the Pont du Roi Fahd bridge – it was an adventure – one that I think you’re going to love. So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to set off and explore the best of the city with this 2 Days In Bamako Itinerary.
2 Days In Bamako Itinerary
Day 1 – National Museum of Mali, Great Mosque of Bamako, Grand Marché and Niger River
For the first day of your 48-hour Bamako itinerary, it’s time to explore the city’s best attractions while also experiencing local life in two of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods.
8:00 AM – Start your day with a visit to the National Museum of Mali
The museum’s collection of artifacts not only showcases Mali’s rich history but also the intricate artistic techniques and cultural customs that have been passed down from generation to generation, providing visitors with an exceptional chance to experience the vibrant heritage of the nation firsthand.
10:00 AM – Head over to the Great Mosque of Bamako
You’ll be struck by its imposing size and unique architectural style, which blends traditional Sudano-Sahelian design elements with modern materials, creating a stunning visual display that is both beautiful and functional; as you draw closer, you’ll notice the intricate tilework covering the mosque’s walls and pillars, featuring vibrant geometric patterns and calligraphy, adding a sense of depth and dimensionality to the already-impressive structure.
12:00 PM – Enjoy a traditional Malian lunch at a local restaurant
Indulge in the flavors and aromas of traditional Malian cuisine by dining at local restaurants like Brasserie Badala or Bistro Restaurant Bafing, where you can savor mouth-watering dishes such as tigadegena (a stew made with okra and meat), maafe (a peanut-based stew served with rice), and beignets (deep-fried doughnuts) for dessert, all of which are prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and served with a generous dose of warm Malian hospitality.
2:00 PM – Take a stroll through the bustling markets of Bamako
As you meander through the colorful and vibrant markets of Bamako, such as the Grand Marché or the Marché Medina, you’ll be immersed in a sensory experience like no other, as you’re surrounded by a cacophony of sounds, sights, and smells, from the vendors hawking their wares to the mouth-watering aroma of grilled meats and spices; as you browse the myriad of stalls and shops, you can find a treasure trove of unique souvenirs and handicrafts, from intricately woven textiles and carved wooden figurines to vibrant paintings and traditional musical instruments, all of which are a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions.
5:00 PM – Witness a stunning sunset over the Niger River from the Pont du Roi Fahd bridge
As the sun slowly dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the Niger River, the Pont du Roi Fahd bridge offers a perfect vantage point to witness the breathtaking spectacle of the sky ablaze with hues of red, orange and purple, creating a mesmerizing and romantic ambiance that is further enhanced by the gentle sound of the river flowing beneath you; as you take in the stunning scenery, you’ll want to snap some photos to capture the moment and the beauty of Bamako’s natural landscape, a memory that you can cherish for a lifetime.
7:00 PM – Try some delicious food for dinner at a restaurant
Indulge in a luxurious dining experience at one of Bamako’s top restaurants, where you can sample some of the most delectable and exquisitely presented dishes that blend local ingredients and flavors with contemporary culinary techniques and international influences, such as grilled lamb chops with sweet potato puree, sautéed spinach and harissa, or poached fish with coconut curry sauce, accompanied by a carefully selected wine or cocktail that perfectly complements the flavors and textures of the food.
9:00 PM – End your evening with some live music and dancing at a popular nightclub or bar, such as Byblos or Le Terrace.
After a delightful dinner, unwind and dance the night away to the rhythms of live music at some of Bamako’s popular nightclubs or bars, such as Byblos or Le Terrace, where you can revel in the vibrant atmosphere and energy of the city’s nightlife scene; whether you prefer jazz, traditional Malian music or modern beats, there’s a venue to suit your taste, where you can mingle with locals and visitors alike, enjoy a refreshing drink or two, and create unforgettable memories that will linger in your mind long after the night is over.
Day Two: Bamako Zoo, Musée du Bogolan, Bamako Botanical Gardens and Point G Hill
Today, we’ll explore some of Bamako’s fascinating historic and cultural sites, immersing ourselves in the rich heritage and vibrant arts scene of the city, before experiencing the lively and colorful nightlife that Bamako is renowned for; so get ready for an exciting day of discovery and adventure! From ancient artifacts and traditional crafts to stunning architecture and scenic vistas, Bamako has so much to offer, and we’ll make the most of our time here, before we head out to experience the city’s buzzing nightlife, filled with music, dance, and good vibes. Get ready to discover the best of Bamako!
8:00 AM – Start your day with a trip to the Bamako Zoo
A fun way to start the day is with a trip to the Bamako Zoo, where you can get up and personal with a variety of African species. You’ll pass by enclosures housing some of the most recognizable creatures on the continent as you wander along the zoo’s well-kept trails, including regal lions, charming giraffes, and enormous elephants. Make use of the knowledge and experience of the zoo’s keepers, who are always available to provide intriguing insights into the biology and behavior of these fascinating animals.
10:00 AM – Visit the Musée du Bogolan
Anyone interested in traditional Malian textile art must pay a visit to the Musée du Bogolan. This one-of-a-kind museum is totally devoted to the bogolan fabric type, which has been worn in Mali for centuries. You may discover all about the history of bogolan at the museum, from its beginnings to its application in contemporary fashion and art.
12:00 PM – Enjoy a lunch of grilled meat and vegetables
At Restaurant Au Bord de L’Eau or Restaurant The Grill Meat Lover’s you may take in the lively atmosphere while smelling the delectable aroma of the meat roasting on an open flame. Enjoy succulently seasoned grilled meat and vegetables that are typically served with traditional side dishes such plantains, couscous, or rice. Don’t miss the chance to try some local specialties like thieboudienne, a rice and fish dish, or maafe, a pig stew with peanut sauce.
2:00 PM – Take a guided tour of the Bamako Botanical Gardens
The guided tour of the Bamako Botanical Gardens offers a fascinating insight into the flora and fauna of the region, with knowledgeable guides pointing out rare and exotic species. Visitors can also learn about the cultural and medicinal uses of many of the plants on display, as well as the conservation efforts being undertaken to protect them.
5:00 PM – Visit the Point G Hill
A visit to Point G Hill is an absolute must-do when in Bamako, as it provides one of the best viewpoints of the city and its picturesque surroundings. As you make your way up the hill, you’ll be able to see the cityscape gradually unfold before your eyes, with its mix of modern high-rises, colonial-era buildings, and traditional mud-brick houses. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking vista that stretches as far as the eye can see, encompassing the winding Niger River, verdant forests, and rugged mountains in the distance.
7:00 PM – Savor some delicious local cuisine
Amandine By Sel & Miel and La Vieille Marmite are two popular restaurants in Bamako where you can savor some of the most delicious local cuisine. At Amandine By Sel & Miel, try the tigadegena, a traditional Malian dish made with fish and served with rice, while at La Vieille Marmite, indulge in some succulent grilled meat dishes such as beef brochettes or lamb chops served with local side dishes like attiéké or alloco. Both restaurants offer a cozy and vibrant atmosphere, making them perfect for a relaxing and enjoyable dinner experience.
9:00 PM – End your evening with some live music
Why not take advantage of Bamako’s exciting nightlife after spending the day visiting the city’s numerous cultural and historic attractions? Visit Songhoy, a well-liked location noted for its vivacious music and dance performances. Here, you may listen to and watch traditional Malian music and dance, and if you’re feeling brave, you can even join in on the fun. Or, if you’re looking for a nightclub with a more varied music selection, check out Barramundi, which features everything from regional West African music to contemporary blockbusters. Barramundi is a terrific spot to dance the night away and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Bamako because of its upbeat environment and diversified clientele.
What to Pack for Your Bamako Itinerary
Choosing what to pack for your two days in Bamako can be tricky, as the weather can be hot and humid all year round, with occasional rain showers during the rainy season from June to September.
However, here are a few items you should consider bringing:
- Comfortable walking shoes, as Bamako’s streets can be uneven and dusty in some areas.
- Lightweight and breathable clothing, as the temperature can be high during the day.
- It’s also recommended to dress modestly out of respect for the local culture.
- A hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
- A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. Insect repellent, as mosquitoes can be present in some areas.
- Your camera or smartphone to capture the vibrant colors and bustling atmosphere of the city.
- Your passport and other important documents, just in case they are needed during your stay.
In conclusion, Bamako is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers visitors a unique experience. From its historic sites and museums to its bustling markets and lively nightlife, there is always something to discover in this West African gem. Whether you’re interested in art, music, food, or just soaking up the local atmosphere, Bamako has something for everyone. So why not plan a trip and experience the magic of this dynamic and welcoming city for yourself? With its friendly locals and fascinating attractions, you’re sure to have a memorable time in Bamako.
I’m a total Africa enthusiast! I’ve been exploring this amazing continent for years and I can’t get enough of its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife. From hiking through the savannahs to sampling local cuisine, I’m all about immersing myself in everything Africa has to offer. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences, and I love sharing my passion and knowledge with fellow travel lovers. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, Africa is the place to be, and I’m here to help you make the most of it!