Bafing is located some 250 km west of Bamako and 40 km south of the town of Manantali, where there is a dam on the Bafing river. The waters of the artificial lake so created form the eastern boundary of the reserve for much of its length. The area is characterized by rugged and broken terrain, especially in the west, formed by a succession of lateritic plateaux, averaging 300 m in altitude, and sandstone hills varying between 400 and 600 m. There are spectacular escarpments at Solo near the northern boundary. The relief is less marked along the gently sloping alluvial river plains. The park is drained by the Bafing river and a network of small watercourses including the Balinn, Dassabola and Naria rivers. Hill summits and their immediate surroundings are denuded by erosion. Vegetation is predominantly wooded savanna, shrub savanna and gallery forest. Forest occurs not only along watercourses, but also in enclosed valleys, geological faults and even at the base of certain hills from which spring small, seasonal rivers. These forests are characterized by Khaya senegalensis, Celtis integrifolia, Daniella oliveri, Prosopis africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Pterocarpus erinaceus, with a shrubby and a herbaceous layer. Wooded savanna occurs at higher altitudes and is characterized by Pterocarpus erinaceus, Daniella sp., Vitellaria paradoxa, Parkia biglobosa, Cordyla pinnata, Khaya sp., Bombax costatum, Detarium microcarpum and an understorey of small shrubs and grasses. Shrub savanna is characterized by Acacia, Gardenia and Ziziphus spp. and Combretaceae, with a graminaceous layer of Pennisetum, Loudetia and Vetiveria spp. and Andropogoneae.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Although data on the birds of the reserve itself are few, a number of species have been recorded from its vicinity, including those listed below, and are expected to occur within it.
Non-bird biodiversity: The following mammal species have been recorded from the site, although their current status is unknown: Loxodonta africana (EN) (an estimated population of 30), Pan troglodytes (EN), Panthera leo (VU) and Taurotragus derbianus (LR/nt).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bafing. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/01/2020.