Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, and can be divided into three natural zones: 1) the southern, cultivated Sudanese, 2) the central, semiarid Sahelian, and 3) the northern, arid Saharan. The topography is mostly flat to rolling plains covered by sand in the north, savanna in the south, and rugged hills in the northeast. The highest point in Mali is Mount Hombori at 1,155 meters, and the area is popular for rock climbing.

The climate of Mali ranges from subtropical to arid, hot and dry from February to June, rainy, humid, and mild from June to November, and cool and dry from November to February. Natural hazards include the hot, dust-laden harmattan haze (common during dry seasons), recurring droughts, and occasional Niger River flooding. Environmental issues include deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, and inadequate supplies of potable water.

There are 30 protected areas listed for Mali, including 2 national parks, 4 partial wildlife reserves, 9 total wildlife reserves, 8 hunting areas, 1 chimpanzee sanctuary (Bafing Chimpanzee Sanctuary), 1 biosphere reserve, 1 natural world heritage site, and 4 wetlands of international importance. The Ministry of the Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development maintains a French language website at The local civil society organisation ONG Donko maintains a social media presence on Facebook.

Apparently, there are two green parties in Mali, “Parti Ecologiste du Mali” and “Parti Ecologiste pour l’intégration”. Diallo Fadimata Bintou Toure has been the long time president of the original “Parti Ecologiste du Mali”, but as of 2018 seems to have become the “national director of normal education” of Mali. In 2017, “Parti Ecologiste pour l’intégration” held their 5th annual congress in Siby, which they declared “the capital of Malian environmentalists”, and re-elected Souleymane Dembélé as party president.

Biosphere Reserves:


In Mali, the overwhelming majority of the population lives in the southern half of the country, with the greater density along the border with neighbouring Burkina Faso. Mali became independent from France in 1960, after a split with Senegal, but was ruled by dictatorship until 1991.

Following the 2011 Libyan civil war, ethnic Tuareg militias rebelled in the northern half of Mali in early 2012, an area they refer to as Azawad. In 2013, the United Nations authorised an African-led military intervention, which succeeded within a month for the most part. In 2015, a peace accord was signed between the Malian government and the Tuareg rebel groups; however, as of 2018, there has been little progress in implementing the accord.

During the Northern Mali conflict, there was flagrant destruction of cultural property, widely reported by the world press. For the first time in history, a Security Council resolution included the protection of cultural and historic sites in the mandate of a peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission In Mali. All three of Mali’s cultural world heritage sites are still listed by UNESCO as in danger, as of 2018. Mixed world heritage sites contain elements of both natural and cultural significance, such as Mali’s Cliff of Bandiagara in the land of the Dogons.

In contrast to the Tuareg people in the north of Mali, there are the Dogon people in the south, who have become perhaps Mali’s major tourist attraction. Also in the south, the Mali-Folkecenter Nyetaa in the capital Bamako is dedicated to sustainable development. Outside of Bamako, the Malian Association of Awakening to Sustainable Development is based in the city of Koutiala. There is a Museum of BamakoThe Sleeping Camel, hotel and restaurant in Bamako, is popular with travellers. Otherwise, Cool Camp Mali is a quiet and safe campground in the west of Mali.

Cultural World Heritage:

Mixed World Heritage:


  • Tourism Management in World Heritage Sites and its impact on economic development in Mali and Ethiopia – SM Farid – 2015
  • Addressing the measurement of tourism in terms of poverty reduction: Tourism value chain analysis in Lao PDR and Mali – F Thomas – 2014
  • Capture the wealth of heritage in a Holy City of Islam: the problem of developing tourism in Djenné in Mali – DC Togola, S Al Karjousli – 2014
  • Contested nation, global space: tourism and the politics of Tuareg heritage in Mali – AM Montague – 2014
  • Proud to be Dogon: An exploration of the local perspective on cultural tourism and cultural heritage management in Dogon country, Mali – RE van Deursen, WF Raaphorst – 2014
  • Addressing the Measurement of Tourism in Terms of Poverty Reduction: Tourism Value Chain Analysis in Lao PDR and Mali – F Thomas – 2013
  • The Ginna Kanda Programme, identity and intervention in African’s cultural landscape in Dogon’s country, Mali: an option for territorial and local cultural tourism project in hipodevelopment countries – M Vidal Pla, A Ayala de la Hoz – 2012
  • Cultural impacts of tourism: The case of the “Dogon Country” in Mali – M Ballo – 2010
  • Heritage and Tourism: Contested Discourses in Djenné, A World Heritage Site in Mali – C Joy – 2010
  • Tourism in the Hombori region (Mali) Mission Report 2009 – C Schaber, O Walther – 2009
  • Heaven on Earth? The development of tourism in the Dogon Country and the Hombori Mountains (Mali) – O Walther, T Renaud, J Kissling – 2008

Mali Data