Will I get to Kayes from Georgetown in one day? If I have to stop short of the Senegal-Mali border, wouldn't that lose me an entire day as all the transport onward to Bamako would be gone by the time I made it to Kayes the next morning, on the late side?
I read my Rough Guide to West Africa on the train today. I came home and opened up the Lonely Planet Mali PDF chapter on my computer. I went to Seat61.com and check the latest on the trains. I read the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum.
All reports agreed.
Kayes to Bamako=pain in the ass.
The train from Dakar to Bamako has been out of service for some time, but the Kayes-Bamako leg is running. Scroll down on this page to read a glowing review of that train journey.
And then I read this, from May, 2010. Eh, not so appealing anymore.
I scoured the guidebooks and the Thorntree. Everyone agreed. Bus or 4x4 from Kayes to Bamako? 12 hours. If you're lucky. The road is being built still, and some of it isn't quite done.
Then I found this, written recently, in December.
The road seems to be finished.
Or if not, pretty close.
March 21: Kayes (or border area) to Bamako. Overnight in Bamako at the Sleeping Camel. Yay! Now I get to get onward visas and then wander off into Mali.