Cultural Tour of Mali
16-day Cultural tour of Mali: A cultural adventure from the niger river to the desert.
Bamako, Djenne Dogon country, Mopti, Niger River, Timbuktu and the desert, 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
You will enjoy breakfast in the lovely shaded terraces and start with a morning tour of the city of Djenne and learn its rich history. Visit the largest and most beautiful mud mosque in Africa and the world, one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mali.
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.
Djenné 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. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight at a hotel.**
Days 4 – 7: Tuesday to Friday – Dogon Country
Depart in the morning for Dogon country by way of the Bandiagara cliffs. Lunch en route. This will be a change of scenery for four days amid Dogon country 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 deep blue indigo, as well as 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 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 and observe dugout canoes, pirouges, and pinasses being built. You will be surprised by the elegance and unique colors of each pinasse on the niger river; 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! Eat dinner and stay overnight at the hotel “Ya Pas de Problème” - the quaintly named “There is No Problem” hotel.**
Days 8-10: Saturday to Monday – Mopti to Timbuktu by Pinasse
Depart in the morning for Timbuktu in a fully equipped, motorized pinasse to sail on the Niger River. We will spend three days and two nights and experience the tranquility of the river. We will meet Bozo fishermen, visit villages and witness the smoking of fish, see the roaming livestock, and witness petty trade while crossing Lake Debo, Mali's largest lake, where many species of migratory birds gather. Maybe we will swim with our friends the hippos!
Every night at sunset, we reach beautiful places to camp along the niger river banks in complete safety. Somehow the river will make you work up quite an appetite for fresh-caught fish, eaten sitting around the campfire under a brilliant sky of stars.
On the tenth day, arrive in Timbuktu in the afternoon and stay overnight at the hotel .**
Day 11: Tuesday – Timbuktu
Tour in the morning on the city of Timbuktu with a historian who will unveil the rich cultures and traditions of this most famous, mysterious city. Discover its mosques, the center of 16th century manuscripts, the houses of early explorers, the museum, the traditional spice market, and witness the creation of handicrafts and silver jewelry.
During lunch with a Timbuktu family, you will taste a local specialty with 12 spices. In the afternoon, depart for a camel ride in the desert. You can savor the beauty and total silence of the desert. Meet my friends the Touareg and their leader Ibrahim who will tell you the legends of the Sahara under a star-studded night sky by the fire. We will partake in traditional Touareg meals and tea, and spend the night under the dazzling stars or in a Touareg tent.
Day 12: Wednesday – Timbuktu
Return to Timbuktu by camel. Afternoon is free in the city of 333 saints. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight at the hotel.**
Day 13: Thursday – Timbuktu to Mopti
Depart in the morning from Timbuktu in an air-conditioned 4x4and enjoy the magnificent scenery as we return to Mopti, stopping for a picnic along the way. Arrive in Mopti in the early afternoon. Dinner and stay overnight at the hotel “Ya Pas de Problème.”**
Day 14: Friday -- Mopti to Segou
Leave for Ségou in the morning. 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. Arrive in Segou in the mid-afternoon, then dinner and stay overnight at the hotel Esplanade.**
Day 15: Saturday – Segou to Bamako
In a morning tour of Segou, you will have the opportunity to discover the pottery in the market made by a cooperative of women, and visit the dye house where everyone can paint a bogolan.
Lunch in the restaurant, then depart for Bamako, a 3 and a half hour drive. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, and have dinner at a local restaurant. Stay overnight at the hotel Tamana**
Day 16: Sunday – 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 16-day cultural tour of Mali : 1940 Euros
Included on the cultural tour of Mali:
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.
Not included on the Cultural tour of Mali:
International flights, visa for Mali, 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.