Bamako is the capital of Mali, located on the Niger river. With a population of around 1.7 million, it's the largest city in the country and one of the largest in West Africa.
Bamako has been continuously inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. In 1883 it was conquered by French troops, and in 1908 became the capital of French Sudan. The city has only a few paved main roads (goudrons), the rest of the city's roads are unpaved, and get dusty during the dry season (November to May) and muddy during the rainy season, offering breeding grounds to malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The city can be hard to navigate through due to the lack of road signs, the complicated layout of the streets and the one way system in the city. The roads are very crowded both with motor vehicles and motorcycles who appear to fill every available space possible. Traffic police are particularly vigilant and will sometimes appear to enforce very arbitrary traffic rules. They are usually on motorcycles as well so it is unwise to try and out run them in your vehicle as they will easily catch up.