A Journey to West Africa
West Africa tour 15-day Tour: Mali and Burkina Faso
Discover the magic of Mali’s landscapes and people, and the rich history of Burkina Faso, home to the Mossi, the largest ethnic group in the nation.
Bamako, Djenne, Dogon Country, Mopti, Bobo, Gaoua, Segou, Bamako
Day 1: Saturday - Bamako
Upon arrival at the airport in Bamako, your guide is there to welcome you and accompany you to dinner. Stay overnight at the Hotel Tamana.**
Day 2: Sunday - Bamako to Djenne
Depart in the morning from Bamako to Djenne via an air-conditioned 4x4. We will pass beautiful mud villages and meet with villagers who will explain the tradition of millet and the traditional costumes made from bazin. Lunch will be en route. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel.**
Day 3: Monday - Djenne
In the morning you will enjoy breakfast in the lovely shaded terraces and then tour the city and learn its rich history, with the largest and most beautiful mud mosque in Africa and the world. Monday is the day of the colorful weekly market, where you can find lovely traditional fabrics. You will walk through the narrow alleys to explore the majestic Sudanese-style mud buildings. Behind each door a warm welcome awaits you.
Djenne is the ideal setting to enjoy the great variety of ethnic groups that inhabit the Niger River valley and the inland delta. Lunch will be in a local restaurant and the afternoon is free to enjoy the market. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel.**
Days 4 – 7: Tuesday to Friday – Dogon Country
Depart in the morning for Dogon country via the Bandiagara cliffs. Lunch en route. This will be a change of scenery for four days amid Dogon villages with their unique cultures and long-held traditions.
Hike along the cliffs to meet the villagers and see the ancient dwellings of the “Tellem.” You will discover the Dogon country traditions of weaving cotton to make bogolan (mud cloth) and carving wooden masks and fertility statues. Each village hosts its Tougouna, a place of exchange that welcomes all village elders, called the “house of words.” Discover Dogon cliffs, plateaus and plains through trekking. Nights are spent in safe, comfortable village encampments. The trekking in the Dogon country will take us to Songho, Bandiagara, Kani Kombole, Telli, Ende, Wabatalou and Begne Matou.
On the seventh day, we return to the 4x4 and depart for Mopti, the crossroads of trade on the Niger River. After lunch you will have a guided tour of the city of Mopti and observe dugout canoes, pirouges, and pinasses being built. You will be surprised by the elegance and unique colors of each pinasse; this is how the city of Mopti gained the prestigious name “the Venice of Mali.” You don't want to miss a meal of capitaine skewers, a succulent white fish and local Mopti specialty! Dinner and stay overnight at the hotel “Ya Pas de Problème” - the quaintly named “There is No Problem” hotel.**
Day 8: Saturday - Mopti to Sikasso
After breakfast we drive to Sikasso, considered to be the green belt of Mali. The city still has the remnants of the Tata, an ancient palisade that encircled the city and for a time held off the French colonial army. You will see the Mamelon, the residence of the kings of Sikasso and a sacred site that housed the city’s protector spirits. Later we visit the Missirikoro Mosque. We will travel about 15 km from Sikasso to the Mansa Daoula Tomb of the founder of Kenedougou Kingdom and visit Farako Falls. Stay overnight at the Hotel Zanga, Sikasso.**
Day 9: Sunday – Sikasso to Bobo Dioulasso
This morning we leave Sikasso and cross the border from Mali to Burkina Faso. After a smooth ride we arrive in Bobo Dioulasso, “house of the Bobo merchants,” where we check into our hotel first, then have a brief tour of of the city.
Bobo Dioulasso is a very relaxed place and it will be a pleasure to spend a day. It has boulevards and interesting market places with a chilled-out feel and very little hassle even in the Grand Marché. Among the major highlights to see is the Musée Provincial du Houet, but without a doubt the most interesting sight is the Grande Mosquée (the old great mosque). Stay overnight in the Hotel Auberge, Bobo.**
Day 10: Monday – Bobo to Gaoua
Today we complete our tour of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second largest city and visit the old mosque and visit the old Kibidwé artisan's district.
The old Kibidwé district is a great area to stroll around and it's well worth the experience to see how this side of the city lives. If we are lucky we may be treated to a performance by some of the musicians who live in the part of the town.
In the afternoon we leave Bobo and drive to Gaoua. En route we stop in Banforo to visit the Karfiguela waterfalls and Lac Tengrela. We also stop at the mysterious stone ruins of Loropeni whose origins are unknown, but the local Gan people call them the “house of refusal.” Arrive in the evening at Gaoua for an overnight stay in the Hala Hotel.**
Day 11: Tuesday – Gaoua to Ouagadougou
After breakfast we'll drive to explore Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capitol city. Ouagadougou, as the capitol is generally known, is home to the Mossi, the largest ethnic group in the nation. All the sights can be easily reached on foot. The city’s atmosphere is relaxed and the Burkinabe arevery hospitable and friendly people. We’ll visit the Grand Market and the National Museum with its interesting collection of regional clothing, masks, household utensils and ancestral statues. We will also visit the crafts market at the Artisans Centre, where we will find basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelery, leather-work and bronze castings. Stay overnight at the Hotel Relax Ouaga or a similar hotel.**
Day 12: Wednesday – Ouagadougou to San (Mali)
Depart from Ouagadougou and drive to San. We stop to visit beautiful mud villages, take pictures, and meet with the villagers. You will marvel at the giant, luxurious baobab trees lining the roads, as well as the Bambara and Bobo villages. We will stop briefly to admire the mosque in San and stay overnight at Hotel Teriya.**
Day 13: Thursday – San to Segou
Depart in the morning and arrive in Ségou in about 2.5 hours. You will have the opportunity in the market to discover the pottery made by a cooperative of women, and visit the dye house where everyone can paint a bogolan. We will have dinner and stay overnight at the Hotel Esplanade.**
Day 14: Friday – Segou to Bamako
Depart in the morning and arrive in Bamako after 3 and a half hours; enjoy the afternoon at leisure; dinner is at a local restaurant. Stay overnight at the Hotel Tamana.**
Day 15: Saturday – Bamako
We will tour Bamako in the morning and see the home of artisans, the market with fruit and spices, and the National Museum. Lunch is at a restaurant and the afternoon is at leisure. Finally, transfer to the airport with the help of your guide.
** Accommodations are deluxe by African standards. Actual lodging may change subject to availability.
The price for the 15-day West Africa tour: 2080 Euros
The rental of the car and driver throughout the stay including fuel, pinasse (boat) rental, hotel and encampment overnight stays, three complete meals per day, bottled water, your guide, local guides in the cities, tourist and hotel taxes and fees.
International flights, visas for Mali and Burkina Faso, alcoholic beverages, laundry, personal cell and internet access costs. If you have enjoyed the tour, it is allowed to tip the guide(s) and driver.