World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

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A World Heritage Sites Tour of Mali
Few know Africa and even fewer know ancient Africa. Timbuktu exemplifies this best as it is so close to Europe and yet it was only in 1828 that the first European set eyes on this place that was founded in 1100AD. Timbuktu enjoys a rich history starting with its incorporation into the Mali Empire in the late 13th Century when it became a focal point of the gold and salt trades. It continued to play a vital role until its mysterious decline after 1591. Timbuktu, living up to its name, is a remote outpost that is difficult to access. This journey is our foray across the empire that was Mali to pay homage to Timbuktu.

Tour Summary

Bamako / Djenne
03 & 04 Djenne / Bani River / Mopti (Boat)
Mopti / Nombori
06 & 07
Nombori / Tirelli
Tirelli / Douantza
Douantza / Timbuktu
Timbuktu / Homburi
Homburi / Mopti / Segou
Segou / Bamako / Departure

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited
This tour has been tailored to include the following World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites in Mali covered on this tour
Old Towns of Djenne (1988) Inhabited since 250 B.C., Djenne developed into a market centre and a link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it became one of the spiritual centres for the dissemination of Islam. Its traditional houses, of which close to 2000 have survived, are built on hillocks (toguere) and adapted to the environment of seasonal floods.
Timbuktu (1988) Home of the prestigious Koranic Sankore University and other medersas, Timbuktu was in the 15th and 16th centuries an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the expansion of Islam throughout Africa. Its three great mosques, the Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, speak of Timbuktu's Golden Age. Although restored in the 16th century, these monuments are today threatened by the encroachment of sand.
Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) (1989) These cliffs protect architectural structures of great beauty (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and toguna -- meeting places), which have been for centuries the soul of traditional, secular Dogon culture. The Bandiagara plateau is one of the most impressive geological and landscape features in West Africa.
Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bamako
On arrival in Bamako we are met and transferred to our hotel.  Check in time starts from 1400 hrs.  Bamako defies its role as the capital of one of the poorest countries in the world.  It is a brash cacophony of music, noise and color with people buying and selling their wares under the hot sun.  It is a bustling place, full of like with the Grand Marche being the center of things.
Overnight: Hotel Le Compagnard, Bamako

Day 02: Bamako/Djenne (Drive)
Today you will arrive to Djenne, a 14th century trading centre on the Niger River dominated by the largest mud mosque in Mali.  Djenné is often missed by travellers because it lies off the main route between Bamako and Mopti but is well worth the visit. It lies on the Niger River delta and is particularly picturesque in the rainy season when it becomes an island surrounded by water. Djenné  claims to be the oldest city in West Africa and it appears that little has changed in centuries. Djenné has elevated the childish past-time of mud-pie making to an art form; they've built an entire town from the stuff! The mud houses with their thatched roofs and wooden window shutters and doors decorated with paint and metal objects give the town its otherworldly charm. The much-photographed Djenné Mosque intensifies this air of strangeness. Built entirely out of mud, complete with turret-like projection, it rises from the desert floor like an over-achiever's sandcastle. It is, not unnaturally, the largest mud structure in the world and is one of the finest examples of Sudanese architecture. The only drawback is that it tends to melt in the rain and major mud-pie sessions are required after the rainy season to keep it from disintegrating. Unfortunately, non-Muslim visitors were banned from the interior after a fashion photographer and a horde of models ran amok inside but you can still get an excellent view of the outer walls from the roof of the Petit Marché opposite the mosque. Djenné is about 400km (248mi) from Bamako and can be reached by bus or pinasse (large motorised canoe).  The Campement de Djenne is the best accommodation that can be found in Djenne. It is basic, but adequate and there is a restaurant that serves simple food.
Overnight: Camp, Djenne (B)

Day 03 & Day 04: Djenne/Bani River/Mopti (Boat)
We continue by boat on Bani River (one night camping on the river bank) to Mopti, arriving there the next day in the morning. We visit the mosque, the largest mud building in the world and wander through the old part of town with its mud brick houses and narrow streets.
Overnight: Hotel Sevare, Mopti (B, L)

Day 05: Mopti/Nombori (Drive/Trek)
An early start for the drive to Dourou in the heart of Dogon country. We start our hike to Nombori, following the escarpment with stunning views of villages, gardens and sand dunes –- an interesting mix!
Overnight: Camp, Nombori (B, L, D)           

Day 06 & Day 07: Nombori/Tirelli/Banani (Trek)
An early start to see the sunrise over the escarpment. We spend the morning trekking through Dogon villages and in the afternoon have a more in-depth tour around Tirelli village, known as the village of masks.
Overnight: Camp, Banani (2 nights) (B, L, D)          

Day 08: Banani/Hombori (Drive)
After breakfast we take a short climb to the edge of the escarpment, with spectacular views, and meet our cars. We continue by car to Fatimas Hand, which is the famous mountain known as Licke Meka in Mali to view the alpine.   Onto Hombori –- home of the biggest camel market in Mali.
Overnight: Camp, Hombori (B, L)  

Day 09: Hombori/Timbuktu (Drive)
5 hours driving through the desert will take us to Timbuktu, in French "Tombouctou", means, "well of the woman named 'Bouctou'. And "Bouctou" is a word that means, "belly button". This was the meeting place for tradesmen who would travel across Africa from the North, East and South, to barter their goods with the West Africans.
Overnight: Hotel La Colombe, Timbuktu (2 nights) (B)

Day 10: Timbuktu
Our camels await us today to take us to a Tuareg camp where we will spend time with these nomadic people observing their lifestyle. The ride will take about 1 hour in each direction. (B)

Day 11: Timbuktu/Mopti (Drive)
Return drive to Mopti.
Overnight: Hotel Sevare, Mopti (B)

Day 12: Mopti/Segou (Drive)
Mopti began its transition from small Bozo fishing village to the commercial hub of central Mali and the capital of the country's fifth region at the start of the 19th century. Today it lives in the present rather than the past. Its commercial importance and ideal river location mean that life is dominated by the daily activity around the busy port, which is the essence of Mopti. The small settlements on the other side of the river are Bozo fishing villages. They can be reached by pirogue from the port or various points along the Mopti side of the river. In the same way that Mopti inherited Djenne's trading functions, it also tried to emulate its neighbor's beautiful architecture. These attempts are best viewed in the quarter of Komoguel, which has retained many of the traditional banco houses typical of Djenne. The town's main mosque is also in Komoguel.
Overnight: Hotel Independence, Segou (B)

Day 13: Segou/Bamako (Drive)
An asphalt road will take us to Bamako, where we will have time to visit the town before transfer to the airport for the departure flight. (B)

B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

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Departure Dates

Please call for details - 1-800-663-0844 / 1-604-264-7378

Season Tour Price US$ Single Sup US$

Please call for details - 1-800-663-0844 / 1-604-264-7378

Tour Price Includes Tour Price Does Not Include:

• Hotel accommodation as mentioned
• Meal plan as mentioned
• All sightseeing and transfers

Necessary visa supports
Entrance fees to museums and sites
• Local English speaking guides

• International Airfare / Departure Taxes
• Personal Insurances
• Visa Fees
• Drinks / Beverages with meals
• Tips / Gratuities to Drivers & Guides
• Compulsory local incidental charges of
$215.00 per person

Estimated International Airfare (not included in tour price)
East Coast US $ 1400
West Coast US $ 1600
Please note: This tour operates with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 participants.

Other Dates / Customized Itinerary / Languages
In addition to our set programs we are also pleased to offer customized tours.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your individual needs.

Customized tours can be conducted in English, French, German, Spanish or Italian. Each departure is conducted in the designated language only.

Contact Information
Bestway Tours & Safaris
Fax: +1-604-264-7774
206–8678 Greenall Ave Phone: +1-604-264-7378
Burnaby B.C., Canada Toll Free (US & Canada): 1-800-663-0844
V5J 3M6 Email:
33 years in small group journeys

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photographs © Peter Langer
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