Mali Explore and Local Life

Departure Date

Every Monday


16 days



Maximum Seats



  • Trekking in Dogon’s land
  • Boat trip on the Bani river
  • The Weekly market of Djenné


This tough but rewarding journey reveals the rich history and culture of Mali ,in the heart of west Africa .The sahara’s relentless advance has left his mark on the area yet the wealth of the great trading centres along its southern fringe have always lured the intrepid traveller.

From Bamako the capital you head first to the island city of Djenne on market day (Monday) the Bani river teems with the vessels of the traders who throng its streets .The region’s fascinating tribal mix is immediately apparent in the crowded bazaar.Broading a motorised boat you sail downstream to Mopti where the Bani river meets Riger river ,west Africa’s principal waterway.Then you trek days from village to village trough the ancestral lands of Dogon people, who rejected Islam in favour of a complex ancient belief system that lives on today, as well-preserved as their unique architecture.before you finally head back to Bamako.

Day 1: Bamako

Friday or Saturday is arrival day in Bamako because all the tour startd on sunday afther your flight you transfert to your first night’s accommodation in the early hours of the morning and check in.When you arrived on Friday you have the Saturday free to recover and acclimatise to the heat Bamako the capital of Mali, lies in the territory of the Bambara tribal people! As it’s the weekend there might be an opportunity to listen to some live African music.

Overnight Hotel Mandé and Breakfast

Day 2: Bamako-Djenne

Afther the early breakfast the trip starts on good asphalt road to Djenne (510 km) about 9 hours drive via Segou and San before turning off the highway to drive the last few kilometres to the the ferry which crossing to the town of Djenne on the Bani river.

Overnight Hotel Overnight Djenné-Djenno and Breakfast.


Day 3: On the Bani River

The regoin’s most pictures market town ,Djenne converted to islam in the13th century. It’s now renowned for the extraordinary architecture of its elaborate Grand Mosque which has rebuilt in 1905 the tallest building in the world constructed from dried earth.

You are here on marked day (Monday) ,so the morning is devoted to watching timeless scenes as hordes of traders assemble with their wares on the square in front of the mosque .The town has an almost medieval air,you will visit the mosque exterior only ,the historic building of the centre , and the archaeological site with a local guide. In the afternoon you board a pinasse a motorised wooden riverboat with a canvas roof for shade and head off down the bani river.As the pinasse motors sedately along you can take in life along the river,men fishing ,women washing clothes,children playing and cattle browsing.

You pass the old village with walls of mud baked brick,whose squat appearance is broken only the minaret of a traditional Sudanese style mosque.All the while other pinasse and canoe like pirogue are plying up and down the river,laden with goods and colourfully dressed people like you,some will be heading home afther Djenne’s weekly makert .

Overnight In the Tent in Full Board.

The boat trip is dependent on the level of the river .The Bani river is low then you will do the boat trip on the Niger river in Mopti.

Day 5: On the Bani River Mopti

You continue sailing until by mid afternoon,you reach Mopti close to the confluence of the Bani and the Niger river. The town is know as the Venice of Mali as it stands on series of islands connected by walkways.If there’s time you can visit the grand mosque in the old town, the daily market,and port –invariable a hubbub of commercial activity.Mopti’s centre is small and most interesting places can be easly reached on foot .Due to its position on the river,many of the region’s tribes assemble here to buy and sell–you will see all the ethenics groups of Mali.

Overnight Motel de Sevaré and Breakfast.


Day 6: Mopti-Dourou-Nombori (Dogon’s Land)

Today you leave for Dogon’s land,setting off on a good asphalt road to Badiangara on the banks of the Yame river. Although its population is predominantly Dogon,Badiangara bears little resemblance to the traditional villages you’ll see over the next few days .You then continue on a rougher dirt road to Dourou (25km) which you visit with a local guide,on top of the escarpment.Your route then follows the line of the escarpment as you walk through the cultivated area between the 300 metres high cliffs and the sand dunes of the desert to the picturesque village of Nombori ( roughtly 6km approximately 3hrs walk) .

Along the way you pass various villages with the terraced gardens full full of millet,onions and water melons for which for which the area is renowned .Your baggage is carried by poters,or possibly donkey cart .On arrival at Nombori your guide will check with the headman where you can spend the night –probably camped in the dunes just outside or on the roof of the campment.Then you can explore with the help of the local guide –essential to help you understand Dogon customs and respect the complex system of taboos.

For all of the nights indicated as camping,you may camp outside of the village on the roof of a house ,in a courtyard in a house .If is on a roof ,you use Dogon stairs i.e a tree trunk with steps chopped into it ,and pitch your tents on the roof . If you’re in a courtyard you can pitch A tent or just use a mostquito net if you’re inside you need only a mosquito net. Sanitation generally consists of a very basic toilet-cum-bathroom behind a mud wall.The toilet is no more than a hole in the ground latrine and you can take a splash bath from a bucket. This is participation camping i.e. everyone is expected to put up and take down their own tent and assist with camp chores such as preparing food and washing the dishes.

Overnight In the Tent in Full Board.


Day 6: Nombori-Tereli (Dogon’s Land)

Today you follow a track ( 9 km i.e around 3hours walk) which leads to terelli,the village of masks.Due largely to the relative isolation of their territory,strung along the sandstone ridge of the Badiangara escarpment,the Dogon hung on to their traditional culture for longer than any other tribe in the area. Although they are thought to originate from the nile valley the

Dogon have lived here for some five hundred yreas,taking refuge here in order to preserve their beliefs in the face of the expantion of Catholicism and islam.

As you walk ,the escarpment stretches for some 200 km in front of you .You pass several villages along the way and stop for lunch en route,then continue afther a siesta.On arrival in Tirelli,the biggest village in the area a local guide will show you the granaries and houses

built high up in the rocky cliffs above the village.These were constructed by the pygmy-statured Tellem people,who where here evenbefore the Dogon.No one knows quite how they to get up and down the sheer cliffs,but it’s thought that they twisted the fibrous bark from baobab trees to make primitive rope ladders.Tirelli is famous for its masks,each of which has a particular significance.Over eighty different masks are used depending on what ritual is being celebrated.This evening you invariably have an opportunity to see a masked dance and watch the village elders call up the appropriate masks.

Overnight In the Tent in Full Board


Day 7: Tireli-Banani ( Dogon’s Land)

You set off to walk to Banani via Amani (3kmi.e 1hour).Here you can see the sacred crocodile lake.Crocodiles are though by the Dogon to be the messengers of the god and although human sacrifices are no longer made,animals are still offered up the deities.You continue and stop for lunch at Ireli ( 5km/3 hours). Afther a further hour of walking you arrive in the early evening.Nearby is the village of Sangha where the first ever mission was established and the complexstrands of Dogon culture were unravelled by French anthropologist Marcel Giaule.

Overnight In the Tent in Full Board.


Day 8: Banani-Shanga-Mopti

Today we leave the dogon’s land behind us and head for Mopti.Afther breakfast we will climb the escarpement to Sangha (2 hours).The path leads through narrow corridors between cliffs and offers beautiful views. In Sangha the Car will be waiting for us and take us to Mopti.We will leave our luggage in the hotel and have lunch in town.In the afternoon free time or guided visit of town,visit of the mosque,the market,the port and the old city.The centre of Mopti is small and the places to visit can easily be reached on foot.

Overnight Motel de Sevaré and Breakfast.


Day 9: Mopti-Segou

Afther yesterday’s long haul today’s drive over tarmac roads seems a positive jauntas you retrace your route from Sevare to Segou ( 400km:5 hours ) all on tarmac.In fact this morning you dispense with the four wheel drive vehicle and travel by minibus. On arrival in Mali’s second largest city there’s time to visit the market the pleasant colonial area and the riverside area.Some tree centuries ago Segou was the capital of the vast Bamana kingdom that extended from the Senegal river far the west as far as Mopti at the end of nineteenth century with the period of the French occupation the town become an important admistrative centr .

Overnight Hotel Independence and Breakfast


Day 10: Segou-Bamako

Bamako’s main attraction is the centre artisanal a huge concentration of the region’s traditional crafts and great place to shop for presents to take home brightly coloured printed cotton, baskets,Afther a final look around Segou in the morning your last drive takes back to Bamako (230km /4hours) In the afternoon you’ll have a quick look around the city in the company of your guide the national Museum is well worth a visit just to see the splendid examples of African art from all stages of the country’s history. Bamako is also well know for its nightlife and for bowls,carving,masks and jewellery.Afther dinner you transfert to the airport.

Day-use Hotel Mandé

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Including: Transportation: 4X4 Car and Bus in good condition with AC. Hotel: Accommodation as itinerary with breakfast. Camping: Tents and Mattress at the Festival in Full board basis Guide: Good English speaking and experienced who has knowledge. Admission to the listed sightseeing. Excluding: International flights, visas, insurance, items of personal nature, gratuities/tips -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Please make sure to contact us by mail 30-40 Days before the planned departure date to make all the necessary arrangements.

Susan Boyle

Tour Guide

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