Mopti day tour: visit Komoguel mosque, market, fishing port
April 2nd 3rd 6th, 2010
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.
The big Komoguel Mosque in Mopti, made with dried mud bricks. The dried mud is an important and widely used building material here in Mali, but requires frequent maintenance. I get a view of the mosque from the street level and from the roof of an house.
I get a view of Mopti from the roof of an house. The streets below are like a kind of labyrinth, while the sun is slightly obscured by a thick layer of dust. The weather of Mali is an interesting part of the travel experience too, as it changes quite sharply throughout the year, changing the landscape also (it would be nice to visit both the dry and wet seasons, to see the differences).
Mopti pictures of the big fishing port. Mopti is one of the most important city and trading place in Mali, because of the position over the confluence of two big african rivers: the Niger and the Bani. Because this is almost the end of the dry season, the rivers are several meters lower than normal, with the beach getting much wider. Because of the many wooden pirogues, Mopti is also called " The Venice of Mali ".
Pictures of Sahara desert salt from salt mine. The salt extracted from salt mines far into the Sahara desert (mainly in northern Mali, near Taoudenni village) is transported to Timbuktu by camel caravans or, more recently, even by truck. Then, from Timbuktu, the salt is loaded into ships and delivered to Mopti via the Niger river. Here in Mopti, the salt slates are reduced in smaller blocks and sold.
The salt has the aspect of pieces of marble and, if touched, it appears very hard. The salt is often protected by plastic coverage. People at the salt market cut the salt table into smaller blocks, easier to be carry.
The fruit and vegetable market in Mopti, frequented mainly by woman.
A meat seller
The fish market in Mopti.
Generally, the markets in Mali are very full of life and a view from top gives an idea.
Selling dried fish in Mopti
A seller offering different types of soaps, some of them naturally made with local products.
Spices, legumes and pottery to hold them.
The Calabash is a container widely used in Mali and West Africa in general. They are made from a kind of pumpkin and are sometimes finely decorated. Because of their importance in a house, to carry food or water, this is the first gift that a woman receives from her mother when she gets married.
I visit this facility in Mopti where iron smiths make tools for fishing, like harpoons. The hot iron is worked entirely by using only own muscles and no automation.
Here, workers are busy in building the nice wooden pirogues that you can see everywhere along the Niger river in Mopti. The tables are sealed between them by using cotton, as it expands in contact with water, closing any hole.
The tour to Mopti in the hearth of Mali continues with a sunset cruise onto the Niger river. The river is used by locals in many different way, also to wash trucks, cars, animals, and also clothes and own body.
Cruising the Niger river in Mopti, by wooden pirogue.
A pirogue under a sun obscured by dust and, perhaps, some cloud. Regardless of this sky, the temperature approaches +40°C, a value normal for the month of April.
I visit a Bozo village along the Niger river, with its beautiful dried mud mosque.
My hotel in Mopti: the comfortable Kanaga hotel, offering a swimming pool and very charming air conditioned rooms.