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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Mali: Kayes to Bamako

Mud huts by the Kayes-Bamako railway line
As the train makes its way slowly to Bamako, the capital of Mali, it passes village after village of mud huts

In retrospect, yesterday's forced rest day was a good thing; the thought of going from the Kidira-Kayes bus journey straight onto the Kayes-Bamako train doesn't bear thinking about, though at the time we'd have jumped onto the train if there'd been one. Thank goodness there wasn't.

The scrubland of the Sahel
The scrubland of the Sahel as it whistles past the Bamako train

On the Train

Looking towards the front of the Kayes-Bamako train
Looking towards the front of the Kayes-Bamako train as it judders through the dusty scrubland of Mali

We got to the platform for 7am, just to make sure we didn't miss it, and we found our seats with a minimum of fuss. The seats in first class are generously spaced with two sets of two seats across the width of the carriage, and as I settled in after the fiasco of my hat I idly wondered how long it was going to take to cover the 510km southeast to the capital of Mali. When Steve had gone from Bamako to Kayes it had taken him 12 hours, and that was after the train had sat in Bamako station for five hours past its scheduled departure time; but every journey has its own story, especially when the only thing you can say about the timetable is that it is never right.

A glimpse of water from the Kayes-Bamako train
Every now and then the train goes past signs of water, but it's a rare occurrence
A train station between Kayes and Bamako
One of the many stops on the way