When to go

Mali is wettest between July and August, although the rainy season is when torrential downpours and thunderstorms are preceded by strong winds which runs from June to September. Its hottest between April and June, when temperatures exceed 40 Celcius. September and October are also extremely hot, and Timbuktu in particular can be unpleasant. From November through to January is the best time to visit - the alize wind blows cooler air from the northeast, keeping daytime temperatures in the 30s. From January to June, the hot and dusty harmattan blows, irritating throats, and on some days reducing visibility to a few hundred metres. River trips are usually only possible until December, after which a lack of rain sees water levels drop.