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This page is about the general geography of Mali:

Mali, the largest country in West Africa, is bordered by seven other states: Algeria lies to the north and northeast, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso to the southeast and, with the Ivory Coast, to the south. On the west are Senegal and Mauritania.
Mali is shaped a bit like a butterfly, leaning to the northwest, with a much smaller left than right wing. The larger northwestern region of the country, which extends into the Sahara, is almost entirely arid desert or semidesert. In the central region, known as the Sahel, life follows the Niger River's annual flood cycle, with high water between August and November. In the southwestern area, rainfall and rivers are more plentiful, and this region is marginally more lush than the rest of the country. Mali's single most important geographic feature is undoubtedly the great Niger River, which traverses both the Sahel and the southeastern section of the country. The Niger, like the Nile, is both a critical source of sustenance and a major transportation artery--and in this latter capacity it is an excellent venue for boat travel.

Mali lies on a plateu, a plateu is like a flat table land. Some importantant features of Mali's south are:

  • Fouta Djallon highlands of the southwest
  • Bandiagra plateu and escarpment (steep slpe) of the south east
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* Hombori mountains of the far south east.

Mali includes a long strech of the Niger river. It rises over the Fouta Djalon and flows 1,000 miles through Mali. The Niger provides:

  • Household uses
  • Fishing
  • Trade

In the rainy season (summer) it expands up to a mile wide, along it's course there is an inland delta which is the remanents of an inland lake where the niger once stopped. During the rainy season the niger fills the inland delta with it's water nd when it dries there is grass for grazing animals and for planting rice.


The Mali empire streched from the Atlantic coast, south of the Senegal river to Gao on the east of middle Niger bend. It extended from the fringes of the forest in the south west through the savanna "ports" of Walata and Tedmekka. The Mali Empire included the gold fields of Balmun, Bure and the great cities of Timbuktu, Djenne and Gao on the niger.



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Map of Mali
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