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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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Old 10 Sep 2003
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crossing borders

Can anyone help? I am flying to Gambia from the UK, but we want to travel to Mali also, is it easy to cross the Senegal border and possibly catch a train to Mali? and would I need to apply for visas through both countries first? I am not a backpacker experienced traveller or anything just two women looking for something different when we get to Gambia. We dont fear the travelling alone but are not sure on the legallities when crossing borders. We plan to go in November, 2 weeks in Gambia and possibly another two weeks in Mali. Also is it best to then travel back to gambia for our flight home? we dont seem to be able to obtain this info anywhere. Please help two damsels in distress.
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Old 11 Sep 2003
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For travel around within Mali I would recommend the Bradt Travel Guide. From memory they cover travel from surrounding countries. There is certainly a train from Kayes to Bamoko and looking at the map it appears to originate in Dakar. Quite where you are best off joining it if coming from the Gambia I dont know. Depending on how much time you have it may be worth flying directly into Bamoko.

Re visas you dont say what nationality you are but if you are British you'll need to obtain a Malian visa prior to travel unless you intend buying it the Malian embassy in Senegal. I dont know about visas situation for Senegal.

[This message has been edited by ctc (edited 11 September 2003).]
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Old 12 Sep 2003
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The easiest way to get overland to Bamako is to take a bush taxi either via Kaolack, Tambacounda, Kidira/Diboli (border) to Kayes; or via Basse Sante Su, Velingara, Tambacounda, to Kayes. The train leaves Kayes to Bamako almost every day whereas the Dakar-Bamako train fdoes it twice a week. The roads are generally good. Plan 2-3 days (maybe 4) non stop.

You dont need a visa for Senegal or Gambia if you are British. Visas for Mali are available at the border for CFA5,000 (€7.50). This practise has existed for years but I'm not sure if its official or not. Maybe its better to get it in the UK.

Flights from Bamako to Paris and the UK twice a week with Air Algerie (03.2003) cost less than €350 but they may be booked out. Otherwise take Air France to Paris €500.

I think the Rough Guide to West Africa is the best guide book in English but admit I never heard of the "Bradt Travel Guide"
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Old 12 Sep 2003
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I would think you would get lots of help on this from the Lonely Planet posting board (the thorn tree).

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Old 13 Sep 2003
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Thanks for all ur replies, i definately will get myself a bradt guide as when we travelled through ghana we never went anywhere without it, it was brilliant. didnt realise there was one on mali. at least i know there is a train from senegal to mali. if anyone has more input on the visa situation to enter mali i would be grateful as i have since learnt visa prices from the UK are very high. but then again if i take a chance who knows how much i could end up paying at the border, if you know what i mean.
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