Trip by 4x4 from Bamako to Mopti with a stop in Segou
April 2nd and 7th 2010
The road trip from Bamako to Mopti requires about 8-9 hours and is about 640km long, over paved road. The trip can be done non stop in a day, or can be broken into two days, with an overnight in the very interesting city of Segou (there are actually a couple of more options, but this is how I did this trip). Along the way, you will cross the african savannah, full of baobab, with the road going across many smaller towns on the way.
The Africa Tower, a monument in Bamako dedicated to the union of the african countries.
The road from Bamako to Mopti via Segou crosses the african savannah. The distance between Bamako and Segou is about 230km and can be covered in about 3 hours, over paved road.
The road from Bamako to Segou crosses several villages where, from the car's window, you may already get a small taste about life in Africa.
A man walks in the dust of an hot summer day in Mali. Today the temperature exceeds 40°C, a value pretty normal for the month of April.
The african savannah is covered by different type of vegetation, most of which is dry in April because it's nor raining since several months. During the raining season, which typically occurs during northern hemisphere's summer, the landscape changes completely because everything turns green and also the day temperature is fresher and more pleasant. In the pictures, baobab trees, which can be found almost everywhere in this part of Africa.
During a stop in Segou, I visit the Institute of Traditional Painting. Here, the cotton made textile is skillfully painted with techniques involving multiple natural processes, without using chemicals. Learning the techniques is fascinating and really worth a stop here while in Segou.
On the back, leaves from a tree are kept into water to extract yellow ink.
A traditional painting teacher guides me to an experiment. On a piece of textile, previously colored in yellow using a dye from certain leaves, I use a small brush to pour plenty of Niger river's clay onto the textile, drawing the symbol of a camel (top-left, meaning "travel"), the symbol of a crocodile (top-right, meaning "life") and my name. Once all the clay is washed away, everything remains stamped in dark black, like a kind of "magic", everywhere the clay was. The result and, above of all, how I did get it, is very fascinating.
On top, the souvenir shop at the Traditional Painting Institute, containing many textiles, from scarf to blankets, painted using these natural techniques. On right: textiles in treatment under the sun.
This Segou tour continues to the old Segou, where there is a Bambara village, considered to be the capital of the Bambara ethnic.
Mosques made of dried mud and clay.
I visit the tomb of the village founder, where there is also a view from a top to the Bambara town. On the right, a
sculptured wooden door, in typical Bambara style.
The tour continues along the Niger river in Segou, where I see this nice store selling every kind of pottery.
A relaxing walk along the Niger river, waiting here for the sunset. At this time of the day, there are fisherman busy in their job and there are also boats of people returning to their village after a day of work in Segou.
The beautiful sunset on Niger river.
Other Niger river pictures.
Continuing to drive from Segou to Mopti, the road crosses the Bani river. The distance from Segou to Mopti is about 400km and can be covered in about 5 hours, always over paved road.
From the car windows, I see the life going on normally, during this hot day in Mali.
Just before getting into Mopti, the road crosses a huge alluvial plain, now completely dry and used as temporary area for pasture, before the rain season comes.