Mali — Visas and Vaccinations
Citizens of Andorra, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Monaco, and Morocco do not need a visa to enter Mali. Residents of all other nations must obtain both a visa and a formal invitation for travel to Mali. Visa costs vary depending on the country of origin and length of stay. Visitors must possess proof of vaccination against yellow fever and should get shots for typhoid, meningitis, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B before entering the country. Further visa and vaccination requirements are posted on Mali’s government website, http://www.primature.gov.ml/, which is only in French, and national embassy websites.
Health and Safety
Not long ago, walking around Bamako after dark and pickpockets in Gao were the biggest threat to foreigners in Mali. The country has become increasingly unstable since the June 2012 civil war which saw the nation separated into the Islamist controlled north and the military junta ruled south. Growing numbers of visitors have been kidnapped and killed in recent years, so potential travelers must stay up to date on the latest safety warnings from their embassy before making any travel plans.
Obtaining health insurance is imperative before traveling to Mali as the country’s medical facilities are limited, especially outside of Bamako and many hospitals and doctors demand cash payments up front. Mosquito nets, insect repellent and malaria prophylaxis throughout the duration of travel is the best prevention against the country’s frequent malaria epidemics. Ice cubes and dairy products made from unboiled milk should be avoided whenever possible. Bottled water, milk which is tinned or powdered, well-cooked meat and vegetables, and peeled fruits are the safest things to eat. Visitors should avoid swimming in fresh water and stick to well-chlorinated pools.