Map of Bamako
Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali. It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the Upper and Middle Niger Valleys, in the southwestern part of the country. The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning “place of crocodile”.
Arch of Bamako
The area of the city has been continuously inhabited since the Palaeolithic, but the founding of Bamako occurred in the seventeenth century by Seribadian Niaré and Soumba Coulibaly, or Bamba Sanogo, before its chiefdom passed to Diaoussadian Niaré. The city was an important market town. In 1883 the region was occupied by French troops, and in 1908, Bamako became the capital of the French Sudan. Its population has grown rapidly; in 1960 Bamako’s population was approximately 160,000 and now have grown to about 1.7 million people.
Niger River’s rapids at Bamako
Bamako is by the Niger River. The city is on a flood plain, the land bordering the river not suitable for massive city development. Bamako is relatively flat, except to the immediate north where there is an escarpment, and where the Presidential Palace and main hospital are located. This place called Kouluba and you can have an overall view of Bamako from Point G.
Bamako view from north at Point G
Bamako view from south, the escarpment and Kouloba at the background
Originally, the city developed on the northern side of the river, but as it grew, bridges were developed to connect the north with the south.
Bamako City and the Grand Mosque at the background
One of goat markets in Bamako
The first of these was the Pont des Martyrs and the Pont du Roi Fahd Abdul Aziz.
Pont des Martyrs
The new third bridge will be the largest in Mali is being constructed. The project is expected to take two years to complete. The bridge will be 1,450 metres in length, 24 metres broad with two lanes in each direction plus cycles tracks and pavements plus a kilometre of access roads. The bridge will also facilitate access to the proposed biggest hospital in Mali at Yirimadio.
Crossing over Niger River’s rock bed
Additionally there is an older bridge to the east of Bamako which was constructed on the Niger river’s rock bed.
Orange’s Building in ACI 2000, Bamako
Historically the city also contained a military airport to the west of the city. However, this has now been closed and is now a new business area known as ACI 2000.
New 1,008 units housing scheme in Yirimadio, south of Bamako
Notable landmarks in Bamako include the National Library of Mali, BCEAO building, Bamako Grand Mosque, Cathedral of Bamako and the King Fahd Abdul Aziz Bridge. The Mali Bamako-Senou International Airport, as well as the Dakar-Niger Railway, to Koulikoro in eastern Mali and Dakar in Senegal are situated in Bamako. Attractions include the Mali National Museum, Bamako Regional Museum, Bamako Zoo, the Bamako Botanical Gardens and the Point G hill, containing caves with rock paintings.
BCEAO (Banque Centrale des Etats de L’Afrique de l’Ouest) Tower
Grand Mosque Building
Catholic Cathedral Building
National Assembly Building
Post Office Building
Railway Train Station
National Museum of Mali