Take Polaroids and Become an Instant Celebrity
Favorite thing: My friend Alison had the foresight to bring along a Polaroid camera. In the rural villages many, if not most, of the people have not had the opportunity to pose for a photo and actually see the result. Invariably people were delighted to see their images come to life on the polaroid film. Naturally, you would expect the children to be excited about such things (and were they ever) but even the village elders were amused upon receipt of a Polaroid.
However, there was an unexpected hitch to the Polaroid plan. The kids would all pose in groups of five, six, seven or even ten or more. And while it was hard enough for them to wait patiently while the photo slowly appeared on the film, it was next to impossible to choose which child would ultimately land possession of the prized photo.
My own circumstances were far easier. I would take digital photos and then show the kids their images on the back of the camera. They were happy enough and since I was not about to give away my camera, I did not have to choose which child would be the lucky recipient of the photo.Related to:
Favorite thing: As with most places I visit, it was the people who captivated me most: The Dogon with their complicated lifestyle and animaist beliefs, the beautiful and majestic Fulani, the poor but friendly Bozo, the mysetrious and veiled Touareg.
The children were happy and carefree and always approached us for bonbons,cadeaux and bics, but more often than not just wanted to say hello and shake you hand.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Favorite thing: Markets are full of colours. However, even if you can find very cheap stuffs there, it is sometimes too expensive for many people. Some retailers are opening the boxes of pasta, rice, etc and sell small portions of them in plastic bags. A portion as big as a fist can satisfy the poorest for one day and costs around 100 CFA (20cents).
Learn some words Bambara
Favorite thing: In Mali it's easy , if you can speak French.
But if you travel around or visit small villages, it makes more fun to learn some Bambara words:
Hallo -I ni tjee.
Answer: M baa, i ni tjee (man), M see, i nitjee (woman)
Good morning - I ni sohgohma
Answer: M baa or M see, I ni soghoma
Good afternoon ( 12-16 hour) -I ni tillee
Answer: Mbaa or M see, I ni tillee
Good afternoon (16-19 hours) -I ni woellah
Answer: Mbaa or M see, I ni woellah
Good evening - I ni soe
Answer: M baa or M see, I ni soe
Goodbye - Kan boe foo (if you stay yourself)
Answer: Oe naa mehn.
Thank you - I ni tjee
Ja/ nee - ohwoh/ aj
What's your name? - I tohkow
Today/ yesterday/tomorrow - bi/koenoen/sini
Where is... ? - ... beh mi?
House/hotel - soo/ otelli
Postoffice/ busstation - Biro de post/ bus gari
Bread - boeroe
Drinking water- mieniedji
(words are phonetic (in dutch), not in the official orthography)
Learn the numbers in Bambara.
Favorite thing: A t the local markets, of course you can speak French, but it's nice to know the numbers in Bambara and who knows ... maybe it gives you some advantage, when you are shopping.
7 wohroon wilah
30 bi saba
40 bi naani
1120 waa kilin ani kehmeh kilin ani mugan
( the numbers are phonetic in dutch)
Of Sand and Water
Favorite thing: The best thing to do in Mali is meeting people: Dogon carvers at their villages, fishers, traders at the lively markets, thousands of children, touaregs at Timbuktu... People, people and people, and may be through them re-discover the humanistic part of you, so dfficult to hear in our big cities.
Fondest memory: A little girl who took my hand at a village near Mopti and remained like that all along the visit.
Being surrounded by children in a little village that repeated all that I said at once. It was magicalRelated to:
- Adventure Travel
Mopti - next to some of the main attractions
Favorite thing: If you are visiting Mali, there is a great chance that you will spend some days in Mopti.
Mopti is situated where the Bani river meets the Niger. Comming from Bamako, it takes about 7 hours by bus to go there.
For travellers, Mopti is situated in a excellent position within Mali. It is the good leaving point for visiting Bandiagara (~4-5 hours by shared taxi) and the pays du Dogon, as well as Djenne (~3 hours by shared taxi) or Timbuktu (~2-3 days by piroge).
Be aware of some hassle on Mopti's bus station, as there are plenty of touts and will-be-guides!
Fondest memory: The mosque and the piroge port at the shores of the Bani.
Favorite thing: Up on a camel near Timbuktu, the mysterious city in the desert.... It'sometimes not easy to reach, and even harder to leave this city behind ;-)
The best season to go to Timbuktu is after the rainy season, from october to january, when the Niger has enough water to go by boat to this town.
The other touristic areas like Djenne or Bandiagara and the pays du Dogon are more easy to reach. You can use busses or taxi brousses.
Fondest memory: The friendliness and enormous hospitality of the people
Mali - general
Favorite thing: Mali, a landlocked country in westafrica would be almost completely covered by the Sahara desert if there wouldn`t be the Niger river, which flows from west to east trough the country.
Along this river you`ll find most of the touristic spots of Mali. In this region is Bamako, the relaxed captal. Further east there is Djenne, Mopti and the nearby Pays du Dogon, the once mysterious village of Timbuktu as well as Gao, near the border to Niger.
Travelling off the beaten path can be difficult in this sahel country. Transportation is sometimes very low and roads can be in poor conditions.
This is not the case if you are bound to the main routes, as the paved road from Bamako to Mopti and further to Gao.
Fondest memory: The friendliness and enormous hospitality of the people
Senegalese-Malinese border Kidira-Diboli
Favorite thing: In 2004 we travelled from Senegal to Mali overland, taking the road from Tambacounda to Kayes. This is also the road when you travel from Dakar to Bamako.
In Kidira, the Senegalese bordertown, you have first to get a stamp at the policepost, before you can cross the borderriver. This police post is not at the border, but somewhere else in town. There are people around who can show you the way.
You don't need a visa for Mali in advance, but can buy it at the border. That means you get a stamp in your passport and have to register within 48 hours in Bamako, the capital.
First we had to pay 100 euro for each stamp. Finally we paid 25 euro. First they needed a ID-picture of all of us. When they ran out of forms, they gave some of the pictures back.
All together all the formalities at the Senegalese and Malinese side of the border took us almost 4 hours.Related to:
- Road Trip
Visa for Togo in Bamako
Favorite thing: If you need to get a visa for Togo here is the adress in Bamako for it. You can get a visa for 1 week at entry points to Togo ,but this saves the hassle of having to get an extension afterwards.
Immeuble Babintou center
rue Luyautey Porte B10 Bamako Mali
Tel : 00 223 227 78 08
A visa is issued on the spot in 1/2 hour for single or multiple entries. Cost 250000 cfa or around 38 Euros. Personnel very, very helpful. To save me waiting for the Consul to come back from lunch, the secretary signed the visa(with a smile). The visa issued is multiple-entry for 1 month.
Fondest memory: The consulat is found in a small street on the right,between the two BDM banks on avenue Modibo Keita, 15 mins. walk from the "Pont des Martyres".
Road from the Senegalese border to Kayes
Favorite thing: The main road from the Senegalese border to Kayes is 105 KM. It is an unpaved road of red earth. This main road is part of the route from Dakar to Bamako. Many overlanders, who travel from Europe to Capetown , take this route.
There was enough traffic to colour our bodies and the inside of the car red of the dust, caused by all the dust clouds all the oncoming vehicles produced. It even didn't matter we closed the windows.
Fondest memory: The landscape we passed was very scenic with many baobab trees. I never did see so many baobabs anywhere in Africa, not during all my trips in the African continent.Related to:
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: About 65% of Mali is now desert or semi-desert and it is getting more and more. The rapid desertification of Mali is due to on-going droughts, over-grazing, topsoil erosion, harsh desert winds, and the scavenging of trees for firewood.Related to:
Favorite thing: Poverty in Mali is worse for women in both urban and rural settings. Young girls are often denied access to education. They marry early, and one out of every 10 women will die during childbirth. Many spend their lives bearing and rearing children. Genital mutilation ist still a common practise in Mali.
This was a reason, why I wanted to sponsor a GIRL in Mali. Fatoumata does not attend school either, but at least I hope, that the general living conditions will improve, so that maybe HER daughters will lead a better life!
There is hope...
Favorite thing: .
Unfortunately Mali is rapidly being swallowed up by the desert, and is still suffering the aftershocks of an enormous drought. This has made it one of the five poorest countries in the world with a high infant mortality rate, extensive malnutrition, low levels of literacy, and a short life expectancy.
There are quite a few organisations that are trying to help improve the living conditions - but it is a very long process!
It might be good news, that just recently there has been a discovery of deposits of gold potentially huge enough to lift the country from its economic difficulties....
Let's just hope for the best!Related to:
ACI 2000, Hamdallaye, (formerly Radisson SAS), Bamako, 2566, Mali
Good for: Couples
Quartier du fleuve - rue 311, Bamako, BP E 3506, Mali
Good for: Couples
Le Relais is a three star hotel on the Koulikoro road in the Hippodrome area of town. Behind it's...more
Top Mali Hotels
- Bamako Hotels
- 99 Reviews - 162 Photos
- Bandiagara Hotels
- 41 Reviews - 122 Photos
- Timbuktu Hotels
- 95 Reviews - 400 Photos
- Selingue Hotels
- 3 Reviews - 17 Photos
- Segou Hotels
- 18 Reviews - 75 Photos
- Mopti Hotels
- 29 Reviews - 104 Photos
- Low rate guaranteed!
- Otel.com No booking or cancellation fees! Book with otel.com & get 5% bonus
- Huge discounts - Book online!
- Hotelsclick.com The Best Hotel Rates on the Internet Great rates always include taxes. Secure booking.
Explore the World
- Ostia Antica Hotels
- Thames Hotels
- Kampung Johor Lama Hotels
- Sioux Falls Hotels
- Yong Peng