Mali Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Mali: Holidays, climate, national customs

Public holidays

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
January 20 Armed Forces Day
February Tabaski (Festival of Sacrifice)
26th of March Day of democracy
March April Easter
1st of May Labor Day
May 15 Mouloud (Prophet’s Birthday)
25. May Africa Day (anniversary of the founding of the OAU)
June Baptism of the Prophet
September 22 Independence Day/National Day
November Korité (end of Ramadan)
25./26. December Christmas

Source: Countryaah – Mali Holidays

The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the Korité festival, Muslims are not allowed to eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The Korité and Tabaski festivals last 2-10 days, depending on the region.


Rencontres africaines de la photographie in Bamako

Every second year the “Rencontres africaines de la photographie”, the African meeting of photography, take place in Mali’s capital Bamako. This unique photography exhibition draws its enthusiastic fans to the city.


music trophies in Bamako Mali’s music trophies are awarded every year in Bamako. Those who accept the musical challenge and win can count themselves among the best musicians in Mali.

Mali: climate

Temperature zones

Southern zone

In summer the average temperature is around 25-30 °C. It doesn’t get much colder in winter either, temperatures don’t drop below 20-25 °C even in January. The annual rainfall is around 700-1,000 mm.

Northern zone

About 40% of the area of Mali belongs to the Sahara zone in the north. Here the average temperatures in July are around 30 °C. Sometimes they even rise to 40 °C. In January they drop to 10-20 °C. Only 20-250 mm of precipitation fall here annually.

Climatic periods

In Mali, three climatic periods can be distinguished: rainy season, cool and hot dry season.

Rainy season

It lasts from June to October, but is less pronounced in the north. In the south, the rainy season brings heavy rainfall.

The cool dry season

lasts from November to February. At the end of the cool dry season, the northeast trade wind, which is also known as “Harmattan” in West Africa, sweeps across the country. This strong and relatively constant wind brings with it the finest dust particles from the desert sand.

Hot dry season

This time lasts from March to May and brings very hot temperatures (up to 40 °C) with it.

National customs

In Mali, greeting people is extremely important. It is therefore a matter of respect and courtesy to memorize a few greetings in French or – even better – in Bambara before setting off on your journey. Such a form of politeness should also be observed towards traders, even if one only buys fruit or bread. It is also considered very polite to show interest in the other by asking friendly questions about the state of the family (Et la famille?) And about work (Et le travail?) Etc. In response to the Bonjour, ça va? (= Good morning, how are you?) You will usually only hear a Ça va (= everything is okay.), Because the other person should not answer in a negative way.

Mali: Sights

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Djenné, Islamic city and pre-Islamic cities

The Islamic district (Mali) of the trading city on the Trans-Sahara Caravan Route, founded in 1250, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. The Djenné mosque is one of the largest adobe buildings in the world. Together with the old town of Djenné, the mosque was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

The completion of the old mosque is estimated to be in 1240, in 1834 it was destroyed because it was considered too luxurious, and it was restored according to old plans until 1896. But this building was also demolished for the construction of today’s mosque, which was then completed around 1909.

Bandiagara Rocks (Land of the Dogon)

The Bandiagara rock massif is located in the south of the country in the area of the Dogon – an African ethnic group.

The massif begins 100 km east of Mopti, and ends 44 km northeast of Bandiagara a town on the Grandamia massif.

The massif is made of ferrous sandstone and the highest mountain, the Hombori Tondo, is 1115 m high.

The Tellem, a Pymean people who were expelled by the Dogon and who no longer exist today, lived in the valleys of the mountain range. Only the Tellem culture is reminiscent of this extinct tribe. Their places of worship were not destroyed by the Dogon, they took them over and adapted them to their own traditions.

The Dogon cultural center sits over the cliff. In the 19th century mosques were built in the immediate vicinity of the shrines.

The rocks have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989 as well as a World Natural Heritage Site


Tomb The tomb was built from mud bricks, the preferred construction method in West Africa in the Sahel region, and is 17 m high. Mohammed I Touré, king of the Songhairean who lived at the end of the 15th century, was probably buried there.

The protected place consists of the funerary pyramid, two mosques, a square and a cemetery. Askia Tomb was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004.

Mosques, mausoleums and cemeteries of Timbuktu

Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu, Djingerebur Mosque in Timbuktu, Sidi Yahaya Mosque in Timbuktu.

The city of Timbuktu, which in the 15th century was both the center of the gold and salt trade and an Islamic center, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.

Many old Islamic books still bear witness to the former importance of the Islamic center. The mosques and tombs from the 14th century and the clay architecture of the city are particularly worth seeing.



Around 1,810,000 people live in Bamako, the capital and most important business location of Mali. The city on the Niger River with its government district Koulouba offers not only the Musée National du Mali and the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale du Mali, but also cultural events such as the photography exhibition Rencontres africaines de la photographie and the music festival Trophées de la musique au Mali.


The city of Gao, located in northeast Mali, spreads out on the left bank of the Niger and is inhabited by about 87,000 people. As a junction of important trade routes, the city was of great importance for the Trans-Saharan trade in the past. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the tomb of Askia Muhammad and the red dune of Koyma are located in or near the former capital of the Songhay Empire. The dune is bathed in a breathtaking, almost pink-colored light at sunrise and sunset.


Almost 100,000 people live in Koutiala, a steadily growing city, which is also known as the white gold capital because of its significant cotton production. In addition, Koutiala is Mali’s second most industrialized city.


The center of the city of Mopti, inhabited by about 114,000 people, spreads over three islands, which explains the nickname Venice of Mali. Probably the most important port city in the country lures with a picturesque old town full of mosques and markets.

Nioro du Sahel

In western Mali is Nioro du Sahel, a city of 34,000 people that was founded in the 16th or 17th centuries by a slave named Diawandé. The conqueror Al-Hajj Omar had an imposing mosque built in the city.

Ségou or Segu

After all, 131,000 people live in the city on the Niger, which is an important place for the fishing industry. The city, dominated by a dominant water tower, attracts travelers in particular with Segou-Koro, the old part of the city, which extends about ten kilometers from today’s city center.


In the south of Mali is Sikasso, the second largest city in the country with 226,000 residents. The tourist highlights of the city include the remains of the historic fortress wall and the prehistoric Missikoro caves.


An estimated 54,500 people live in Timbuktu, the legendary oasis town on the southern edge of the Sahara. The old city is struggling with desertification, which manifests itself in the fact that the hot Sahara sand is getting closer and closer to the city and is already crowding the streets everywhere. When you hear the name Timbuktu, everyone first thinks of the center of Trans-Saharan trade, which once a year thousands of caravans came to trade here, but also to move on to other regions. The city, which is currently still quite difficult to reach, also impresses with its grandiose beauty and such wonderful buildings as the three Islamic houses of worship Djinger-ber Mosque, Sankóre Mosque and Sidi Yahia Mosque,


BCEAO Tower in Bamako It is

20 floors high, the BCEAO Tower in Bamako’s city center, which is not only the tallest structure in Mali, but in all of West Africa. Reaching the sky on the north bank of the Niger, the structure is the headquarters of the Central Bank of West African States, which provides development and government finance for several French-speaking nations in West Africa. The tower was designed in New Sudanese architecture and was inspired by the Suda Sahel architecture of the famous mosques of Djenné and Timbuktu. To the east of the BCEAO complex, a park and smaller gardens surround this Bamako’s landmark.

Dogon villages on the

Bandiagara plateau southeast of Mopti

The traditional

Dogon way of life remained largely untouched by Islam and can be read off wonderfully in the Dogon villages. For visits to the villages, however, you should book a guide who knows about the culture and history of the Dogon.

Great Mosque of


The Great Mosque, one of the largest buildings in the city, rises in the city center of Bamako on the north bank of the Niger River and near the Grand Marché. The construction of the Islamic house of worship was funded by Saudi Arabia and was completed in the 1970s. With its huge minarets, the mosque is closer to the Saudi architecture than that of West Africa. The mosque, visible from most parts of the city, is open to tourists.

King Fahd Bridge ( French: Pont Roi Fahd) in Bamako

The King Fahd Bridge connects the older parts of Bamako with the wide outskirts at the southern end of the Niger River. The structure, also known as the New Bridge, is one of two car bridges that cross this river. The bridge, which opened in 1992, was financed with Saudi funds and named after the Saudi King Fahd. Like Bamako’s first bridge, the Martyrs Bridge, designed in 1957 under French colonial rule, it connects the central district of Commune III with Badalabougou. Avenue de la CDEAO runs over the bridge.

Mosque of Mopti

The mosque is also known as the Mosque of Komoguel. The Mopti mosque, designed between 1933 and 1935 in the Sudanese style, rises on the spot where a mosque from 1908 once stood.

The Islamic building was built from the river clay of the Niger (= Banco) and modeled on the famous Great Mosque of Djenné. In 2004 the financial support of the Aga Khan Foundation was used and the mosque was restored. Since 2005 it has been one of the National Monuments of Mali.

Museums and art institutions

Bibliothèque Nationale du Mali in Bamako

Around 60,000 works are housed in the National Library of Mali. This includes books, magazines, audio documents, and software. These materials are available to the public free of charge; only a small fee is required.

Musée National du Mali in Bamako

Archaeological and ethnological collections can be found in the National Museum of Mali. In addition to permanent exhibitions, special exhibitions on the early history and culture of Mali are offered again and again.

Natural beauties

Adrar des Ifoghas

This large plateau in the eastern region of Kidal covers almost 250,000 square kilometers. By the way, Adrar des Ifoghas means mountain of the Ifoghas, a Tuareg clan that lives in the area. Worth seeing in the area are the many animals (including gazelles, antelopes, hyenas, snakes and lizards) that have found a home in the area. Apart from this wonderful fauna, Adrar des Ifoghas attracts with a breathtaking desert landscape, which is interrupted by sandstones, grantiblocks and an ancient river valley.

La Boucle du Baoule National Park

Some representatives of Mali’s fauna, which has unfortunately been severely decimated, can be observed in the La Boucle du Baoule National Park. Its residents include buffalo, giraffes and hippos.

Niger Inland Delta

The Niger Delta is the point at which the Niger River divides into many small tributaries. These together form a gigantic lake on the edge of the desert during the rainy season.

Pink Dune of Koyma (French: La Dune Rose de Koyma) near Gao

The Pink Dune of Koyma, which can be reached by boat, rises directly in Gao on the Niger bank. The dune, on which one can also walk, drops very steeply into the Niger River on the front side. But it is also known for its almost pink glow at sunrise and sunset.

About the author