I am one of the lucky ones in that I have my own apartment that is wholly mine and not organized or owned by my organization. It’s a beautiful thing to come home to a place that has nothing to do with work and helps me continue a work life balance that I cherish (and am sometimes WAY better at than others!)
What I’ve concluded: apartment searching is the same the world over. You set you’re requirements (I want 2 bedrooms, bathrooms inside, and an inside kitchen or I want a small makeshift home with outside facilities or a luxury villa complete with pool). Then you hope that the apartment gods are on your side and make it happen.
Tangibly though, I reached out to the Bamakool listserve (an email list for foreigners looking to buy sell goods and services or pose general inquiries) describing what I was looking for, the price range, and neighbourhoods I would consider. Which in the end is found my place.
Then I reached out to three immobiliers (apartment hunters). I found them by doing deep google searches, looking around as I was out and about, and asking my friends who hooked them up. In Bamako TDI (at the faso Kanu round point), and Sogodogo (behind the smc and beside the Senegalese restaurant) were two pretty helpful sources. You will pay 2,000 per house they show or negotiate the viewing price before you leave. 2,000 per house seems pretty standard though.
You then have the luxury or misfortune of seeing places that will be varying degrees of what you asked for until you happen on the right place. The downfall of the immobiliers is if you want to negotiate repairs, modifications etc. It’s harder to do because you have a third party in the middle. But make sure you feel great about the price and what you’re getting for your money and I am sure you can find a great little place here in Bamako.