Traffic drives on the right in Mali. Roads range from moderate to very bad. Particular care should be taken if driving in Bamako. The main road runs from Sikasso in the south to Bamako, and to Mopti and Gao. Between Mopti and Gao, travel can be difficult during the rainy season (mid June to mid September) when the Niger, at its confluence with the Bani, splits into a network of channels, and floods its banks to form the marshlands of the Macina. On many roads outside of the capital, deep sand and ditches are common. Four-wheel drive vehicles with spare tires and emergency equipment are recommended. Stops at customs and police checkpoints are frequent on major roads and driving is particularly hazardous after dark.
Speed limits range from 40-60 km per hour (25-40 miles per hour) within towns, to 100 km per hour (60 miles per hour) between cities. Road conditions often require much lower speeds.
Excessive speeds, poorly maintained vehicles, lack of street lighting, and roving livestock pose serious road hazards. Many vehicles are not well-maintained,and headlights are either extremely dim or not used at all, while rear lights or reflectors are often missing or broken.
Driving conditions in the capital of Bamako can be particularly dangerous due to limited street lighting, the absence of side-walks for pedestrians, and the number of motorcycles, mopeds, and bicycles. Most major streets in Bamako are paved but are often in disrepair. Most residential streets are unpaved and filled with potholes; they are dusty during the dry season and muddy and full of puddles during the rainy season.
A valid driver's licence is required to drive in Mali. International Driving Permit is also acceptable, although not legally required. Insurance and a carnet de passage are also needed.