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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 1 Dec 2003
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Best road Dakar-Bamako?

Hello!

Can anyone give me tips on the best (or less worse) route to go from Dakar (Senegal) to Bamako (Mali). Note that I am willing to use the train from Kayes to Bamako if necessary.

Your feedback is very welcome.
Cheers,
Frederic
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  #2  
Old 2 Dec 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by tuareg:
Can anyone give me tips on the best (or less worse) route to go from Dakar (Senegal) to Bamako (Mali). Note that I am willing to use the train from Kayes to Bamako if necessary.
This is a classic question, the answer changes every year depending on season, rains, roads upgraded, bridges collapsed etc. Your best bet is to ask around as you get there (unless you're already on the ground?!). You can't be sure that any advice given today is valid 6 months from now.

It also depends on your roadworthyness. You don't say what vehicle you're on, but I take it's not a car, since you're looking at the train option.

I never did this route myself but some co-travellers were planning for it as we were in Dakar.

Jan
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  #3  
Old 3 Dec 2003
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Hi Tuareg,

In addition to the previous reaction I would like to say that, if you are by car, it needs to be a robust 4WD vehicle if you intend to drive straight from Kayes to Bafoulabé. This road is indicated as dangerous or difficult on the Michelin road map, but is certainly not dangerous if you take the time for this road and have high ground clearance. We were there almost a year ago with our Landcruiser, and the stretch from Diamou to Bafoulabé (65 km) took us one day and it was great fun!
I have no experience with the trip by train but from what I hear from other travellers it seems relatively straightforward.

Succes,
Andres
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  #4  
Old 3 Dec 2003
hed hed is offline
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Hello Tuareg,

I used to live south of Kayes in western Mali until a year ago and can only confirm what Andres is saying. The road from Kayes to Diamou is straightforward and easy. From Diamou onwards you have 2 options.

1. Carry on along the river between the river and teh railway line. This is a difficult but very doable stretch until Bafouabe. After Bafoulabe all the way to Bamako via Mahina no problem at all anymore. Advantage of this road is that you pass teh absolutely stunning water falls 13 km,s past Diamou. Pay attention to turn right off the bad tarred road, about 6 km oout of Diamou. Just turn right along the powerline taking one of teh small tracks. Don#t miss the water falls, they are 13 kilometres off teh tarred road. If you have gone over the river bridge to the north of the river you know that you have gone too far.

Option 2: Take the road over the bridge and just keep going all teh way to Bafoulabe, quite a straightforward road:

Option3: From Kayes turn souith towards Sadiola. Just ask around. This road is in very good condition and goes past Sadiola mine where you will find lots of expatriates, a western style restaurant, western style super market, mechanics eztc etc etc. in case you need to have repairs done or stock up all can be done here. This road continues all the way to Kenieba. 50 km,s before Kenieba this road turns noth and then crosses the Tambaoura escarpment and goes on to Mahina, from where it is straightforward again. This road is very very scenic, too and very remote, well worth the detour !!

PS. Remember that all three options will be challenging, maybe impossible during teh months of August to October due to the rainy season.

Good luck,

hed
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  #5  
Old 4 Dec 2003
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I would be traveling on a motorcycle. Thanks for all the tips above! Very useful.
Frederic
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  #6  
Old 4 Dec 2003
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Hej

If you want an easier option, go by road to Kayes from Dakar, then north via Diema and south to Bamako. I did this road some weeks ago and there is a lot of road work but it is used by heavy trafic and in a pretty good condition.
I tried the piste Kita-Kayes acc to the Michelin but had to give up. To much water and no good, it was more like donkey trails. Others I meet had tried the other direction Kayes-Kita and had also to give upp the attempt.

Rgds
Skonte

[This message has been edited by Skonte (edited 04 December 2003).]
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  #7  
Old 5 Dec 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by hed:

Option3: From Kayes turn souith towards Sadiola. Just ask around. This road is in very good condition and goes past Sadiola mine where you will find lots of expatriates, a western style restaurant, western style super market, mechanics eztc etc etc. in case you need to have repairs done or stock up all can be done here. This road continues all the way to Kenieba. 50 km,s before Kenieba this road turns noth and then crosses the Tambaoura escarpment and goes on to Mahina, from where it is straightforward again. This road is very very scenic, too and very remote, well worth the detour !!

PS. Remember that all three options will be challenging, maybe impossible during teh months of August to October due to the rainy season.

Good luck,

hed
I would like to add that this very scenic third option is, in my opinion, more difficult to drive than the road from Diamou to Bafoulabé, most certainly for motorbikes. The part where you climb the Tambaoura escarpment is literally washed away; driving this with our Landcruiser reminded us of stair climbing.
IMHO it is the most scenic option, especially if you're there before the season of Harmattan winds. I took many beautiful pictures there.

In fact we drove all three options. we went down from Kayes to Sadiola and up to Bafoulabé, from there to diamou through the so called dangerous road, and then north to selinnkegni and south to Mahina. And from Mahina onwards it is a piece of cake.

Good luck,
Andres


[This message has been edited by Andres (edited 04 December 2003).]
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  #8  
Old 9 Dec 2003
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Hi there,

we just did the trip from Dakar to Bamako; from Dakar to Kayes is pretty straightforward (although we did it the hard way, going via Kédougou, then with the bike on a pirogue crossing the river, up to Kénieba, then to Kayes - pretty hard route, but very rewarding).
In Kayes we took the train to Bamako, which is pretty straightforward: you get yourself a ticket (best first class, will cost approx. 13000 CFA), then a ticket for the bike (to be bought at the station itself, best day of departure, otherwise you have to leave the bike at the station - I didn't want to loose sight of the bike), ticket for the bike will cost youp 9615 CFA, then they will want to charge you 5000 CFA to load the bike but you should pay maximum 2000 CFA, same procedure in Bamako on arrival. It's all pretty easy (but you should best speak a bit of french, don't expect english-speaking guys), but for the ease of it it's also handy if you get yourself a 'guide' in the station to show you around, to look at your luggage etc, they will do it for approx 1000 CFA.
The ride itself is definitely worth it...

Good luck,

Jef and Ruth (currently in Segou in Mali)
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  #9  
Old 27 Dec 2003
Mal Mal is offline
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Option 1 along the railway line is ok at the moment with high clearance, took 2 hard days driving in a defender, a few tricky bits but worth it. Bushcamped at falls. Friends have just come by Option 2 its ok but sounds like a bit of a donkey track;
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