U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Mali has a few paved roads that are in fair condition. U.S. citizens traveling by road should exercise extreme caution. Poorly maintained, overloaded transport and cargo vehicles frequently break down and cause accidents. Undisciplined drivers render traffic movements unpredictable. Construction work is often poorly indicated. Speed bumps - commonly used on paved roads in and near villages - are seldom indicated. Night time driving is particularly hazardous as vehicles frequently lack headlights and/or tail lights. Mali's unpaved roads vary in quality. Deep sand and/or ditches are common. During the rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, dirt roads often become impassable. Four wheel drive vehicles with full spare tires and emergency equipment are recommended.
CURRENCY: Currency exchange facilities are slow and often involve out-of-date rates. The U.S. Embassy cannot provide exchange facilities for private Americans. Credit cards are accepted only at major hotels, a few travel agencies and selected restaurants. Cash advances on credit cards are performed by only one bank in Mali, the BMCD Bank in Bamako, and only on a "VISA" credit card.
TELEPHONE SERVICE: International calls are expensive, and collect calls cannot be made from outside Bamako.
EXPORTATION OF ARTIFACTS: Mali is signatory to the Treaty on Cultural Property that restricts exportation of certain Malian archeological objects, in particular those from the Niger River Valley. Visitors seeking to export any such property are required by Malian law to obtain an export authorization from the National Museum in Bamako.
As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Mali, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Mali's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Mali's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 618-229-4801.
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