Mali Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Mali?


The Republic of Mali is located in the interior of West Africa, north of the Equator, reaching to the Tropic of Cancer. It is landlocked, sharing borders with seven other African nations. The capital city of Bamako lies at an elevation between 950 and 1,000 feet.

Mali stretches across three different climatic regions. To the south is tropical Sudanese savanna, wooded grasslands broken occasionally by cliffs and rock formations, watered by the Niger and Senegal Rivers and their tributaries. In the middle are the semi-arid steppe-lands of the Sahel. Dry, sandy plains dotted with sparse trees and bushes and a vast plateau broken by isolated rocky masses characterize this transitional zone between the savanna and the desert to the north. This middle area comprises the rock buttes of Hombori, as well as the Bandiagara escarpment, famous as the home of the Dogon people. The desert zone in the north covers the largest area of Mali and is a hot, barren plain whose terrain is contoured by sand dunes and rocky outcroppings with little vegetation other than occasional patches of thorn bush.

Mali has two large river systems, the Senegal and the Niger. The Senegal River crosses into Mali from Guinea in the south and follows a northwest course into Senegal. The Niger River flows through the heart of Mali and serves as its most important waterway. The river courses 2,600 miles, the third longest in Africa, and played a large role in European exploration of Africa. The Niger flows northeast to the edge of the Sahara at Timbuktu where it turns east and then south, passing the town of Gao before entering Niger. The Niger is navigable from Koulikoro to Gao by large riverboats from August to November and by smaller craft for most of the rest of the year. Just beyond the Mali-Niger border, rapids prevent the riverboats from going further downstream into Niger.

Geography - note

landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan

Mali Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 478,838 Square Miles
1,240,192 Square Kilometers
Land Area 471,115 Square Miles
1,220,190 Square Kilometers
Water Area 7,723 Square Miles
20,002 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 4,501 Miles
7,243 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 910 Square Miles
2,358 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Algeria 1,376 km, Burkina Faso 1,000 km, Guinea 858 km, Cote d'Ivoire 532 km, Mauritania 2,237 km, Niger 821 km, Senegal 419 km
Geographic Coordinates 17 00 N, 4 00 W
Terrain mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast
Highest Point 1,155 Meters
Highest Point Location Hombori Tondo 1,155 m
Lowest Point 23 Meters
Lowest Point Location Senegal River 23 m
Natural Resources gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone, uranium, hydropower
Time Zone UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island North Macedonia Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe