01 Jan 2018

How to avoid getting ripped off at the Bamako airport

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There have been several accounts recently of people being ripped off after landing at the Senou International Airport in Bamako.

On arrival you can often be targeted by what can only be described as fake guides. They are usually well dressed and quite often they will find you inside the airport whilst you are standing at the baggage carrousel waiting for your luggage. Their usual shtick has them act like they are employed at the airport as some sort of meet and greet official to ensure you have a soft landing in Mali. But after you have purchased a sim card at 10 times the normal price and paid 2 times what you would normally pay for a taxi then you will realise that you have been ripped off.

For reference:
• the two big phone companies in Mali are Orange and Malitel. A sim for either of these companies costs 1000 CFA (just under US$2)
• a taxi from the airport to Badalabougou or ACI 2000 should cost you no more than 7000 CFA.

You will also find men wearing coats that are actual porters. You can expect to tip these guys the equivalent of about a dollar to assist you with your luggage. Trolleys are readily available so this is of course something that most people could manage on their own.

If you are traveling for work and expect to meet someone at the airport then it is best they have a sign for the company rather than holding your name up. As soon as they hold your name up the fake guides have another angle to work on you with.

The new airport is very well laid out and most definitely should not be somewhere to be worried about, but we suggest you follow these tips to avoid your first experience of Mali being a negative one.

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