Kayes Region

Kayes Region (Bambara: ߞߊߦߌ ߘߌߣߋߖߊ tr. Kayi Dineja) is one of eight first level national subdivisions in Mali called Regions. It is the first administrative area of Mali and covers an area of 120,760 square kilometres or 46,630 square miles. Its capital is the town of Kayes. The province was historically part of the Ghana Empire and the Mali Empire.

Kayes Region
Sahel forest
Sahel forest
Location within Mali
Location within Mali
Coordinates: 14°6′54″N 10°34′7″W / 14.11500°N 10.56861°W / 14.11500; -10.56861Coordinates: 14°6′54″N 10°34′7″W / 14.11500°N 10.56861°W / 14.11500; -10.56861
Country Mali
 • Total119,743 km2 (46,233 sq mi)
 (2009 census)[1]
 • Total1,996,812
 • Density17/km2 (43/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (UTC)
HDI (2017)0.387[2]
Kayes Region. Unpaved roads are shown by dashed lines. The borders of the Boucle du Baoulé National Park are approximate.
Cercles of Kayes Region


The region of Kayes is bordered to the north by Mauritania, to the west by Senegal, to the south by Guinea and to the east by the region of Koulikoro.

In 2009 the region has a population of 1,996,812 inhabitants. Ethnic groups of the area include Soninkés, Khassonkés, Malinkés, Dialonkés, and Fulas (French: Peuls; Fula: Fulɓe).

Several rivers cross the region: the Baoulé, the Bafing, and the Bakoy which join at the town of Bafoulabé to form the Sénégal River. The Falls of Félou (15 km from Kayes), the Falls of Gouina (60 km to the south-east of Kayes on the Sénégal River), Talari Gorges, Lake Magui and Lake Doro are located in the region.

At the Guinean border, the climate is rather wet, but becomes Sudanian and later Sahelian to the north.

The largest cities in the region are Kayes, Kita, Bafoulabé, Nioro du Sahel, Diéma, Yélimané, Sadiola, and Kéniéba The Bafing National Park and the Boucle du Baoulé National Park are located in the region.


For administrative purposes the Region of Kayes is divided into seven cercles:[3]

Cercle name Area (km2) Population
Census 1998
Census 2009
Kayes 22,190 327,891 513,362
Bafoulabé 20,220 168,731 233,926
Kéniéba 12,883 144,971 194,153
Kita 35,250 303,647 434,379
Diéma 12,440 141,905 212,062
Nioro 11,060 165,708 230,488
Yélimané 5,700 121,463 178,442


The region of Kayes is the cradle of the Kingdom of Khasso founded at the beginning of the 19th century.

In 1855, Louis Faidherbe, Governor of Senegal, built a fort at Medina which would be besieged by El Hadj Omar Tall, in an 1857 war against the sovereign of Khasso. In 1892, the town of Kayes became the capital of French Sudan.

The construction of the railway line of Dakar-Niger, inaugurated in 1904, made of Kayes a city-crossroads. Essential at the time, the railroad had an important place in the lives of the inhabitants, as described in Ousmane Sembène's novel God's Bits of Wood.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Resultats Provisoires RGPH 2009 (Région de Kayes) (PDF) (in French), République de Mali: Institut National de la Statistique, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-27.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ Communes de la Région de Kayes (PDF) (in French), Ministère de l’administration territoriale et des collectivités locales, République du Mali, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-09.

External linksEdit