This round-trip through Mali takes you along the highlights in the southern regions of the country, while connecting with the local people, their daily lives and their culture. You visit the ancient town of Djenné, known for its mud-culture, hike through mysterious Dogon Country and make a day trip on the River Niger.
Explore Mali – 8 DAYS journey
Minimum two persons
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On arrival in Bamako Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight.
Depart Bamako in the morning and head to Djenné – one of four Unesco’s World Heritage sites in Mali. The journey of over 500 kms takes you through savannah landscape with acacia and baobab trees. The villages you see offer you a chance to get an impression of daily life beside one of Mali’s main roads.
You arrive in Djenné in the late afternoon. Located on an isle in the Bani River, the capital of mud, as Djenné is often referred to, is famous for its mud built structures, with the Grand Mosque being the largest mud-built structure in the world.
If time allows, in the later afternoon take a walk around the city, escorted by your guide, and enjoy the warm earthy colours in the light of the setting sun.
Today you explore some of the nearby villages, with each having its own dominant population group. The Bozo, Bambara and Fulani are the main ethnic groups in the area. The visits will give you an insight into their culture and daily life. If you arrive here on Monday you will be able to visit the local weekly market, a coulouful lively place attended by people from all around. Enjoy lunch in a family setting where you can taste the regional dish Tion Tion. Then set out to stroll through Djenné’s alleys and get an impression of the mud culture with its Moorish influence. Visit the museum and the manuscript library and some other points of interest such as the sacred well and the tomb of Tapama Djenepo, a young girl who sacrificed her life to save the town.
In the morning set out for Dogon country, located around the Cliff of Bandiagara, another Unesco’s World Heritage site. En-route stop in Songo, a lovely Dogon village known for its cave grotto and rock paintings, made by the village elders and used to teach the young boys in preparation for circumcision.
In Dogon country it feels as though time has stood still. Life in the mud built village is lived by the rhythms of day and night and the seasons – running water and electric light have not yet arrived here
After lunch in a Dogon encampment set out for a hike ( or go by car) to visit other Dogon villages. Spend the night under the stars (sleeping on a roof top) in a Dogon village or drive to one of the towns for accommodation with air conditioning.
Optional morning Activity:- Watch early morning mask dances that are part of Mali’s rich culture and you will see a selection of the most beautiful masks perform for you. Your guide will explain the meaning of the different types of masks. When the drums and the dance come to an end it is time to move on to another village.
In the afternoon depart for Mopti. Set out on a city walk in the afternoon and visit the lively harbour, where fully loaded pirogues arrive from and depart for the North of the country. Enjoy a short sunset trip on the river to where the Bani and Niger Rivers meet. Due to its location on the two rivers the town is often referred to as the Venice of Mali.
Your journey today takes you a distance of about 400 kms to Ségou. The city of Balanzans (acacia trees) is located on the Niger river bank. It is praised for its laid-back atmosphere, the Monday market on the river quay, traditional arts and its rich history. Set out on a late afternoon city walk through one of the old neighborhoods, visit and / or visit a bogolan atelier. Bogolan (mud-cloth) is a traditional way of dyeing and decorating cotton cloth. The all natural dyes are made of leaves and tree bark, resulting in a few earthy colors. Mud from the river is used for the decorations. Visit the atelier to learn about the techniques and materials used and decorate your own piece of cloth.
Set out on a day excursion by boat in the Niger River. The traditionally built wooden boat has been adapted to provide comfort during the day. Visit Segoukoro, in former times the capital of the Bambara Kingdom. The old village has kept its history alive by preserving the tomb of the first King. Start with a courtesy visit to the village chief, who grants permission for the visit. He enjoys answering questions!
Lunch is prepared by the crew on board. Then continue to Kalabougou, a pottery village. The women in the village master the art of pottery making. Traditional water jugs and modern vases are amongst the pottery made. Visit several courtyards to see the women at work. Usually during the weekends pots are being baked in huge fires on a square in the village. When time is left visit a Bozo village to get an impression of daily life of the fishermen. Beside of riverside villages there are temporary settlements of the nomadic Bozo.
Enjoy watching the sun setting on the river as you return to Ségou for overnight.
In the morning return by road to Bamako where a day room is available for your comfort and convience. Visit the national museum and it lush gardens or the art market. Enjoy a farewell dinner before your airport transfer.