This was probably the most Westernized place I stayed at in Dogon Country. It has sit down type toilets and real showers (not the bucket type). Make not of the ladders as one of them in quite narrow and if you are going enjoy some beers that night make sure you get a bunk that can be reached via steps, I would not want to have to rush down one of the ladders in the middle of the night to take a beer *** only to have my drunk butt fall off one of these things. Sorry I forgot to take a pic of one.
The roof top beds have great views and the rooms below can turn into hot houses...take the roof..can't be beat
This was where I spent my first night in Dogon...probably my best night in Mali. Danny is the village chief and I would have to say one of the kindest individuals I met during my stay. He has built quite a place with his revenue from beer sales to tourists. While I did stay in more modern camp sites this one had to be the place I felt most at home in. Danny will probably be one of the first to greet you when you arrive..either by car or foot if you trek as I did.
This place has some great views off the top of the plateau, cold beer and great people. Danny the village chief speaks enough English to get by although...speaking to him in French would probably be a bit more enjoyable for him.
Spent a night here. Rooms are nice and clean with a/c and western style sit down toilets.
There is a bar in the lobby and a restaurant out on the patio between the lobby and the rooms.
This place is a great place to meet a guide for a trip to Dogon Country or to rest up prior to heading out to the plateau.
The encampment should be arranged with your guide, although it's certainly possible to arrive in any village and seek out a space at an encampment. When deciding where to place your mosquito net, be careful about surprise thunderstoms. We had a room, and decided to place out mosquito net on the roof because the evening was clear and the room was hot. Then, a thunderstorm moved through and we had to move quickly. Unfortunately, the room was still hot, but some other campers had arrived and already staked out a place under an overhang. So, we had a miserable place to put our net. However, a worse problem would have been if we had to place the net downwind from the vault type toilets used at the encampments. The shower and toilets are very primative and not for the squeamish. Most of the problems we faced were due to our guide though who apparently gave money away and tried to impose himself on the encampment. Also, be careful about food arrangements. The encampment will cook the food, but they may require you to bring the supplies. Showers at the encampment consist of a bucket of water and a gourd to pour water on yourself, so bring your own soap and shampoo as well. After a hot day's walk in the sun, even this type of shower will be well received by the sweaty hiker.
The beauty of the Dogon country can be appreciated from the rooftop of the encampment, but as I said, be careful about sudden thunderstorms. Basically, the encampment is a place to put your tent or mosquito net, and nothing more. I recommed therefore that the mosquito net be the kind that is self-supporting, so that you don't have to depend upon hanging it from somewhere. The price of these facilities are much higher than they are worth, but one doesn't really have much choice.
We usually look for a simple room with a private bath, but in Mali, we tended to choose the best we could find. In Bandiagara this is especially true. While college students and adventuresome singles may accept the Bandiagara mud house hotel, we opted for the only true hotel in town. The Hotel Kambary/Cheval Blanc is not overly priced and worth every nickel. The rooms are individual dome shaped and buildings with attached bathroom. One can choose air-conditioned or not, but we recommend the air-conditioned room, not only because the stone of the dome building holds heat, but also because it eliminates the need for a mosquito net. The restaurant and bar is also quite good. We ate traditional Mali dishes of various sorts, and had the advantage of bar drinks with ice or fresh fruit juice. There's also a swimming pool. The hotel staff will shelter the visitor, and can provide tours. The tours they provide are a bit pricey, but this will eliminate the potential hassle of getting taken by a guide once in Dogon country itself (see dangers and annoyances). We had trouble with a guide who wanted a considerable sum over and above our contracted amount, but the hotel manager quickly dispatched this fellow and we never saw him again.
The architecture of this hotel is one of the most unusual I've found anywhere in the world, and so for that reason it's worth the expense. The French-Swiss owners are very accommodating. The hotel is within walking distance of the bachee/bus station in town, which is the center of Bandiagara. I would guess that reservations are rarely needed, but then we were not there during high season either.
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