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
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:
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:
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: In the north of Mali - which is the desert - it is hot, hot, hot! It cools down a little toward the end of the year, but still it stays hot and there is almost no rainfall!
The humid rainy season is June to September although this really only applies to the south. In the Sahel the rainfall is variable. Often there are the dusty Harmattan winds blowing off the desert between December and February.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: The largest ethnical group in Mali is the Bambara, who occupy many of the civil servant positions. The Dogons and the Tuareg live a more traditional life.
The Tuareg, or 'blue men of the desert' (named for their indigo robes and turbans) are an ancient nomadic tribe.They are a proud race of people, famous for their fighting abilities and artwork. Drought and government policy are threatening their traditional way of life now.
The Dogons are very busy farmers living on the edges of a long narrow escarpment in the inland delta. Their homeland, the Dogon country, has been designated a World Heritage site because of its cultural significance. The Dogon are also famous for their artistic abilities and wonderful masks.Add to your Trip Planner
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
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)Add to your Trip Planner
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)Add to your Trip Planner
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!Add to your Trip Planner
Facts about Mali
Favorite thing: .
Population: 11.4 million
Capital City: Bamako
National Language: French
Per capita income: US$ 240/year
Life expectancy: 51 years
Access to safe drinking water: 65%
Adequate sanitation facilities: 69%
Under 5 mortality rate: 233/1,000 live births
(Source: State of the World's Children 2002)
Fondest memory: The women we met! They were proud and pretty and were laughing so much - despite the difficult life they have to live!Related to:
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
Travelling with Aliou
Favorite thing: If you come to Mali, you defenitly will need a guide to get to the interesting places. I was very lucky to find ALI, a nice guy, sincere, speaking english and with the highest social competence I ever met in the world. He showed me many interesting places in Bamako and other parts of Mali. We were hiking through DOGON land and had some nice days in Mopti.
You will have much fun with him and please, say hello from me.Related to:
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 peopleAdd to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
ACI 2000, Hamdallaye, (formerly Radisson SAS), Bamako, 2566, Mali
Good for: Couples
The Ya Pas de Problem hase nice rooms from 10000 CFA (2012), dorm 5000 CFA and a decent restaurant...more
I have stayed several times at the Salam. It is conveniently located just into the city across the...more
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