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