Mali Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by hannette
  • Things to Do
    by hannette
  • Things to Do
    by hannette

Mali Things to Do

  • BANDIGARA FALL

    After leaving the busy cities of Mali, the Bandigara Fall is an excellent place to forget the world for a while and do some nice trekkings. This landscape of cliffs and sandy plateaux (picture 1) is very interesting from many points of view: geological, ethnological, archaeological, naturalistic . . . It is very impressing. There are also some...

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  • DOGON COUNTRY

    Happily Dogon people have managed to preserve many of their traditional ways, including their mud brick houses, the shaggy roofed-granaries, the tiny markets under the wooden and straw roofs and some ceremonial dances. Nowadays the best way to visit the Dogon country is walking from one village (picture 1) to another. Along the way you can...

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  • DJENNÉ

    Djenné is situated on the shore of Bani River so you need a ferry to reach it. Djenné is probably the most ancient and most impressive city in all West Africa. Placed on a little hill, it's also known as the "Niger's Venice" (keeping the distances, of course :D) because during rainy season it is all surrounded by the water. Djenné was founded in...

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  • SEGOU: Walk along the Niger River shore

    If you walk along the Niger River shore in Segou you never will be bored! It’s like a film of popular traditions and funny street scenes. Apart from the busy port you will be able to see potters and craftsmen, people working on the cultivations and women using the Niger's waters to wash the dishes and the clothes (picture 1). And you won't be...

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  • BAMAKO: the capital

    Bamako is the capital of Mali and the busiest and richest city in the country. Situated on the shore of Niger River, it was founded in 1650. If you visit this city you'll find a pleasant blend of colonial buildings and busy African markets. It is the terminal of the train that arrives from Dakar too.Bamako is full of life! It's nice to visit its...

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  • MOPTI: the port

    For me Mopti’s harbor is one of the main attractions in Mali. I could compare it to Djennée’s market. Mopti’s harbor is the perfect place to understand something about life in Mali. Always very busy, it is also a perfect place to do some people watching. Always crowded with big pinasses that are loaded and unloaded with any kind of stuff (basically...

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  • DJENNÉ'S MARKET

    I've visited different markets in Morocco, Tunisia, Peru' . . . the big market of Samarkand, the grand bazaar in Istambul . . . but nothing can be compared to Djenné's Market.The grand marché of Djenné is a real sight of colors, life and activities! It's a good place to see all the different ethnic groups in Mali as well: Peuls, Bozos, Bambaras,...

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  • MOPTI: women's market

    Another interesting market in Mali, this colorful indoor market deserves a short visit when you are in Mopti. It has two floors: the ground floor is the real market where locals buy and sell food and on the second floor there are the jewelry stalls and gift stalls basically for tourists. This time I could not immerse myself into this market, it was...

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  • THE TELLEMS

    Tellem means for Dogon people “the people that were before”. We are talking about a community of small people (maybe pygmies?), basically hunters that, due to unknown reasons, had to leave this land long time ago. Even if there are a lot of legends about this people their origin is unknown. But you still can see their villages (some of them...

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  • TOMBOUCTOU

    A thousand-year-old and mythical city. Its name comes from the guardian "Buctú" that watched over the well "Tim" that was situated in that area. The city was built around this well and was named Timbuktu. Founded during the XIII th century and now in decadence, it was the old location of Touareg people. It was an important Islamic center in the...

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  • ON THE WAY TO TOMBOUCTOU

    From Mopti you have to ways to go to Tombouctou: -by pinasse following the Niger River, which takes you three days journey-by jeep, about 370km of bad roadDuring the journey by road you will find donkey caravans driven by Mauris. They transport salt from Taoudeni, in the central Sahara, to exchange it in Tombouctou -just like during ancient times-...

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  • MOPTI

    Mopti is an industrial and tourist city situated in the center of the country, on the shore of Niger River. Maybe it has the busiest river port of the country where hundreds of pinasses (traditional boats made of wood) are loaded and unloaded day and night. This port is a good place to see the Mopti’s everydaylife and to do a little of people...

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  • MOROCCAN STYLE IN DJENNÉ

    These houses were built for Moroccan merchants, who spent long time in Djennée for business and wanted to feel a little “at home”. We are always talking about the Mali's typical mud architecture but the style is Moroccan (look for example at the windows).

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  • INSIDE DJENNÉ'S MOSQUE

    The entrance to the mosque is only allowed to Muslims but if you walk around it early in the morning soon local people will come proposing you to visit it for some euros.I was very interested in visiting it because its importance so I agreed and followed them to the back entrance..The main space is a deep forest of columns without any interest....

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  • DJENNÉ'S MOSQUE

    This is the famous Djenné's Mosque, the jewel of the city. Djenné was founded during the IXth century so it can be considered the most ancient city in West Africa but its famous Mosque exists only since the XIXth century when it was built to replace a similar building built around year1300. This Mosque is built using the traditional Sahel's mud...

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  • CULTIVATIONS IN SEGOU

    These are the cultivations on the shore of Niger River. People still use traditional techniques to cultivate the land. This kind of cane walls is used to separate the lands of different owners;

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  • OLD SEGOU

    Segou is the capital of Bambaras. According to the tradition, it was founded by the Bambaras who were coming from the north and escaping from the wars. During XVIII th century it was the center of its empire. Nowadays Segou is a big and important city, the second one in Mali after Bamako, with a population of 90.000 inhabitants aprox. Like Bamako,...

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  • BAMAKO: National Museum of Mali

    This museum surprised me a lot! Talking about its architecture (inspired in traditional Bambara forms) and general interior arrangement it’s very well done. Its permanent exhibition about traditional Malian culture (local clothes, crafts etc) is very interesting as well. In fact it is considered one of the best museums in West Africa. Usually it...

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  • Near Djenné - local village fete

    We were lucky enough to come back from Djenné by the ferry late morning and caught this local village music and dance party. Good rhythms and vibes going on. Able to wander around and take photos as much as we liked. Unfortunately did not get the name of the village but it's the last one you cross after leaving the ferry before getting to the main...

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  • Dogon country - The onion culture.

    Halfway between Bandiagara and Sangha you start to see green fields alongside the dusty laterite road. This is the beginning of the onion fields. Marcel Griault helped the Dogon people, back in the 30's to build small dams on the small wareways that flow through here so creating irrigation channels to help the people get water to the fields. These...

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  • Djenné - Around the streets.

    Apart from the usual tourist things of the market and mosque, take a stroll around the streets of Djenné away from the hustle and the touts in the centre. One big problem with Djenné is the rubbish everywhere. The local council have managed to make the water as pure as possible (better than Bamako) but yet to solve the town's problems with the...

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  • Bamako - visit a street market.

    This one is in Badalabougou, Bamako and is typical of markets in West Africa. The noise and some of the smells though can be overpowering, so go prepared.

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  • Kalabougou revisited.

    This was my fourth time back in Kalabougou and as always the recognition of faces and people touches me profoundly. He's back, he's back cried a couple of the elder children. After dispensing with photos I had taken on former trips, I was invited for the customary tour and re-photos.

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  • Stop on the road - Nioro - Bamako III

    Once again coming down from Nioro to Bamako, hands waving prompted me to stop and say hallo in a small un-named village. The village chief came out to greet us with his wife and kids and we spent a pleasant half hour in the village. These really are the things that make a trip worthwhile. Don't forget to leave a small token of appreciation (1or...

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  • Visit Dogon country II

    As mentioned previously, Dogon country is hard work. Just look at the pics here showing parts of the way, up and down.Updated from our trip in January 2009 - We learnt, to our utter dismay, that Barké, our Dogon guide in 1999, that you can see here in photo no. 4, had collapsed and died in 2007 whilst taking a group of tourists to Sangha...

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  • Timbuktu, legendary town

    For many people in the world Timbuktu has an air of mystery. Many people think about this legendary city in Mali more as a mythical place than as a city with a real history. Timbuktu is often used as a metaphor for a remote and distant place beyond a person's experience.Timbuktu was founded around 1100 C.E. as a Tuareg nomad camp at a strategic...

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  • Stop on the road - Nioro to Bamako II

    A few kms after our stop in the village we came across these Fulani (or Peulh) pastors with their goats and some cattle. Once again we received a great welcome, even being offered some "funny carpet" to smoke. Stayed here for another hour.

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  • Bamako

    Bamako is the capital and is the place where most visitors start. It's not really a place for more than 1-2 days. It's interesting to wander around the central market and visit the National Museum. And it's a good place to do the last-minute shopping before you leave. But apart from that it's only a stop on your way to other places.It's a noisy and...

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  • ARRIVING TO TOMBOUCTOU

    "O toi qui vas à Gao fais un detour par Tombouctou. Murmure mon nom à mes amis et porte-leur le salut parfumé de l'exile qui soupire après le sol où resident ses amis, sa famille, ses voisins"Ahmed Baba (1556-1627)After a hard journey we finally arrived to Tombouctou and of course we took the commemorative picture of the adventure :-)Don't forget...

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  • Visit Dogon country V - Songo and...

    Bandiagara is the main town of the circle (county) on your way to Sangha. There are of course other ways to go but this is the most well known way. Along the road coming from Sevaré is a turn-off that takes you to Songo. Songo is well known for having a cave and a painted cliff face, re-done every 3 years, where the boys are circumcised in very...

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  • Visit Dogon country.

    Difficult to know whether this should be in "things to do" or "off the beaten path".It is very much a thing to do but so much of it is off the beaten path. Climbing up and down 400 metre high cliffs where at first look there is no passage, crossing arid plateaus searching for the legendary fox or serpent, or down at the bottom of the cliff walking...

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  • Visit Mopti.

    If someone describes Mopti to you as the Venice of Mali, don't believe them. The only thing similar is there's plenty of water about. I found Mopti to be one of the dirtiest places in the whole of West Africa. The smells around the port are absolutely horrible, and the filth on the floor !!!!! Only around the lovely mosque is it quite pleasant and...

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  • Visit a school - anywhere.....

    I've visited quite a few schools in my time in Africa, but I always remember the 1st one. This was in Sabalibougou, a village attached to Bamako. It was terrific, at 8 in the morning there were almost 800 kids at attention for the flag raising and national anthem. Strange as it may seem with all those children, not a sound was heard after the...

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  • Sunset on the Niger in Mopti.

    Walk along the river east from the restaurant "chez Sigui" in Mopti and wait for the sun to go down between 5 and 6 in the evening. Peaceful and relaxing before eating at the restaurant.

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  • Visit Dogon country IV - Tireli, mask...

    We went to the village of Tireli to witness the mask dance. Of course this is only the tourist's version, but quite a spectacle. With the musicians and dancers the whole village comes out to take part with hand clapping and a bit of foot stomping. Creates a very good atmosphere. We went quite early in the morning to be there for around 10.30am so...

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  • Visit Dogon country III - villages II

    Most Dogons do not like having their picture taken and most bluntly refuse, so this of course, must be respected. Some of the younger generation will however accept.

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  • Stop in San.

    Very dusty place at the crossroads on the main road from Bamako up to Mopti, and the road from Segou through Koutiala to Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina. Nice mosque sitting on the main square in town, and a good resto (see restaurant tips).

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  • More of Djenné market.

    Being dominated by the mosque,( it is the largest mud-brick building in the world) the market makes a terrific foreground for a picture. There has been a mosque on this site since the 13th century but this one only dates from the early 1900's. The palm wood that is seen sticking out all over the mosque is not only used to strengthen the...

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  • Djenné - market.

    This is one of those "must do, cannot be missed" things to do. Djenné on a monday. This is market day here in Djenné just in front of the world famous mosque. Superb atmosphere, friendly sellers- no hassle, photographers dream come true.A quiet stroll around the back streets and along the river behind town are a welcome break from the dust and heat...

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  • More from Kalabougou.

    On top of the 20.000 cfa for the pirogue trip to get here, cost of entry to the village is 3.500 cfa. The women, who do most of the work and in general are the ones photographed, complained that the money went into the elders pockets and they saw none of it. Now it is acceptable and the guide must confirm this, to give 2.500 to the village chief...

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  • Pirogue along the Niger in Segou.

    This is a trip to do in conjunction with a trip to Kalabougou or simply by itself.From Segou just take a leisurely ride up and down for a couple of hours. Plenty of villages along the riverside, fishermen out on the water, herons and egrets in abundance all things to be seen along the river. You can rent a pirogue down by the waterside or go...

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  • Stop on the road - Nioro to Bamako.

    On the road out of Nioro, on our way down to Bamako, we were passing through a village when we spotted the people out threshing the millet and just had to stop. We got a great welcome from the villagers as they don't see many toubabs in this part of the country, even less are the ones that stop for an hour.Threshing the millet is done by hand and...

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  • Kalabougou

    First visit - Nov. 1999. In Segou, take a half day trip on the Niger to Kalabougou to see the pottery makers( all women). No hassle to buy anything, just a good visit to be had and a relaxing time on the river. Return visit - Fev. 2007. I returned to Kalabougou early February 2007 to try and find the same little girl that I took a photo of in 1999,...

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  • Doing Djenne

    If you're in Mali, you cannot miss Djenne. Make sure you go on Mondays - that's when the market happens. Better yet, arrive a day or two early to see how quiet things really are in this town. Then.....get up early on market day and watch the events unfold. You will be able to find almost anything in this market, from flip-flops, to peanuts, to...

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  • Bozo village in Bamako.

    Best to take a guide for this short visit to the Bozo village that can be seen whilst crossing the"Pont des Martyres" from north to south on the right hand side. The Bozos are mainly fishermen whilst the women make the famous Bogolan cloth and then dye it on the banks of the river. They then soak the cloth in the river to fix the colours. Very...

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Mali Things to Do

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