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MALI MAP AND SUGGESTED MALI TRIP ITINERARY
MALI TRAVEL INFO
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE IN MALI?
Mali trip description: a trip in Mali is recommended to every enthusiast traveler looking for traditional cultures, different ethnics experiences and extreme landscapes. This trip review illustrates a tour to Mali in West Africa, discovering the cities along the Niger river and its branches, before visiting the Dogon country on the Bandiagara cliff. The trip to Mali starts in Bamako where I meet my personal guide and driver, whom will bring me to the various places along the planned itinerary, by an air-conditioned 4x4 car. Accommodations into hotels were comfortable, into air-conditioned rooms. The road was paved for most of the places, except for some segment far into the Dogon Country.
The first stop was made in Mopti, one of Mali's most important city because of its strategic position over the confluence between Niger and Bani rivers, where there is a very active river port, with its traditional wooden pirogues and colorful markets along the shores. The trip continues to the Dogon Country visiting the villages along the Bandiagara escarpment, above and below the cliff. Here the people still live on unique traditional culture and build beautiful oddly shaped buildings, almost entirely made of dried mud. This place is also very interesting because of the amazing landscape, easily one of the most beautiful that I've seen during my trips to Africa. The tour to Mali continues to Djenne, a city made almost entirely of dried-mud bricks. Here, there is the famous Great Mosque, the world's biggest dried-mud building, which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Djenne is visited on a Monday, during its very busy and colorful market, where people sell, buy and exchange everything. The trip continues to Segou, visiting the interesting Traditional Painting Institute, before going back to Bamako, where I visit the national museum and do a brief city tour. Then, an evening Airfrance flight brings me back to Italy via Paris.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MALI?
During this trip in April 2010, the weather has been always fine, but very hot (this is typical for early spring months). If you would like to avoid the heat, then December and January may be fine months to travel to Mali, although they may see a little more dust. Summer months see instead cooler temperatures but rain, so everything becomes green and much less dusty.
HOW TO GET TO MALI?
Mali is served daily by Airfrance with flights operating onto Paris CDG (these flights have best schedule and service, with same day connections from and to most of the world). Alternatives may be Royal Air Maroc and other smaller West Africa airlines.
HOW TO BOOK A TOUR TO MALI?
This trip to Mali has been operated by Saga Tours, a tour operator based in Mali offering group or private tours to Mali, the jewel of West Africa. Thank You to Saga Tours for the excellent services provided. For additional Mali tours information please check Saga Tours web site.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO MALI?
I've found the places that I've visited to be safe, with many friendly people very open to the visitors. There are anyway some parts of the country that it's better to be avoided, like the northern desert and, recently, Timbuktu. Anyway, like for many other developing country, the situation evolves quickly, so it's advisable to consult the Foreign Affairs web site of your country of residence, for up-to-date safety situation and travel advisory in Mali. Please note that these notes are valid for the trip review period, made in April 2010.
MALI PICTURES - MALI TRIP REVIEW
|<<-- GO 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. Along the way, you will cross the african savannah, full of baobab, with the road going across many smaller towns on the way.|
|<<-- GO Mopti is one of the most important city and trading place in Mali, because of the geographical position over the confluence of great Niger and Bani river, where there is an important fishing port full of activity. Mopti is also a city where many different ethnic groups and cultures meet together, like Dogon, Bozo, Bambara, Tuareg and more.|
|<<-- GO A two hours trek brings me from Sangha, on the top of a plateau, down to other Dogon villages, below a beautiful cliff where there is one of the most spectacular landscape that you can find in Africa. Along the cliff there are archaeological remains of ancient buildings and below there are the more "modern" dried-mud buildings of the Dogon people.|
|<<-- GO The trip to Dogon Country continues with a day tour to the village of Sangha on the top of the plateau, then with a transfer by 4x4 to other towns below the Bandiagara escarpment. At sunset, visit the major Dogon village Songho, near Bandiagara, while a circumcision ceremony is in progress.|
|<<-- GO Djenne is a very interesting city in Mali, largely made of dried mud bricks. The city stays actually on an island created by Bani river and its many branches. On mondays, people coming from many corners of Mali, meet here for the important trading market held in front of the Great Mosque, the world's biggest mud building and UNESCO site.|