Coming into Mali
If you go the 'normal' route into Mali from Mauretania over Nioro,
you are likely to spend time with the douane and then take a military escort to Bamako and perhaps beyond, to the next border.
A friend just spent a harrowing four hours with the douane and finally had to deposit money for the two vehicles they were bringing.
Since this isn't my idea of a nice drive with a snoring soldier w Kalashnikov in the car I prefer coming in over a piste.
Usually over Selibabi to Kayes. Or Kiffa over Kankossa (border post) to Kayes.
Now there is a border post on both sides of the frontier at Mellge if you come from Selibabi.
You get the laisser-paser in Mellge and then the passport is stamped in the next village.
But they make you take an escort to Kayes, 40 euros.
Still many car dealers even prefer this route, although difficult without a 4wd.
So, we stamped out of Mauretania, crossed the dry river oued and then veered due south, avoiding all checkpoints. This went very well. Passed through one village with a gendarme post and the locals knowing the problem pointed us how to depasser. Now we came through some very remote villages and the amazing landscape dominated by huge baobab trees in a way I haven't seen elsewhere. Some villages with barechested women.
Arrived at the Senegal river at Ginga and followed it east to Kayes.
There we drove only 50 m of goudron before there was a problem in the shape of a young ambitious policeman. But, an hour later I had the visa in my passport (20000 CFA, and with this 'visa at the border' they won't waste a whole page, you just get a small stamp). The police officer doing the passports is Marabou Kané, and he is good but in kohorts with an insurance agent who will try to sell it to you for only three times the regular price (which is 20000 CFA two weeks of carte brun, ECOWAS, covering most of WA)-
The douane in Kayes was supposed to work 24/7 but irl the guardien asked
me to come back aprës-demain. So no laisser-passer.....to be continued