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Adventure Tours

14 Days of Grand Mali Highlights Tour

Bamako Dabanani Imm Simpara 1Er Etage Bamako, Bamako, Mali

Activity provided by Blue

14 days (approx.) - English

Blue

See the best parts of Mali on this two-week comprehensive tour from Bamako

Highlights
  • Explore the ancient Sudanese-style mud buildings and visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Mosque in Djenne
  • Witness the Dogon Masked Dance Ceremony in the morning light
  • Visit the Ethnological Museum, the Al-Mansur Korey House, the marketplace, and the Ahmed Baba Center and Haidara Library in Timbuktu
  • Enjoy a sunset experience by the majestic Niger River in Mopti
  • Visit Boubacar Doumbia’s atelier, Mali’s leading Bogolon, or mud cloth artist in Segou
Description

A landlocked country situated mostly in the Saharan and Sahelian regions, Mali is largely flat and arid just like its neighbors. What sets this West African country apart from the other countries though is its prestigious cultural sites, being the most endowed in World Heritage Sites in the continent. These cultural sites added to the beautiful landscapes, vibrant and colorful neighborhoods, and villages, and welcoming and talented people make Mali a top tourism destination when in West Africa. 


What to expect


Day 1: Arrival in Bamako

Arrive in Bamako Senou Airport where you’ll be welcomed by your friendly driver-guide. You’ll then be transferred to the hotel and you may spend the rest at your leisure.

Overnight at Grand Hotel or similar

Day 2: Bamako – Djenne

After breakfast, take a 7-hour ride from Bamako to Djenne, one of the oldest towns in West Africa and is said to be the sister of Timbuktu. After a quick ferry ride and upon arrival, stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Djenne to see the ancient Sudanese-style mud buildings and visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Mosque, the biggest dried mud building in the world

Overnight in Djenne.

Day 3: Djenne – Mopti

Your third day of exploring Mali falls on a Monday, and in Djenne, Monday means market day. The market takes place in the large square in front of the Great Mosque, where locals from different corners of Mali gather to sell, buy, and exchange local produce. You will also visit the town’s Mission Cultural which houses excavated artifacts and more.

In the afternoon, take a two-hour ride to Mopti where you will be spending the night.

Day 4: Mopti – Dogon Country

Depart from Mopti to Dogon Country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dogon people still live as they have since centuries ago up the escarpment and because of this, renowned anthropologists from other parts of the world travel here to get a glimpse of their daily lives. Continue to Dourou for lunch, then visit a local village and begin your trek down the Bandiagara escarpment to the village of Nombori. Spend the night here on the rooftop of the chief’s compound.

The trekking distance to Nombori: approx 5 km | 1.5 hrs

Day 5: Dogon Country

Wake up to the sound of roosters and donkeys at the crack of dawn and witness as the glorious sun rises over the escarpment. Explore the village of Nombori then go on a light trek to Idjeli, where you’ll have lunch. Then, visit the Hogon or spiritual leader in the village then continue your trek to the village of Tireli where you will spend the night. 

*Nombori to Idjeli distance: approx 2.5 km on flat land, a donkey or cow cart is available

*Idjeli to Tireli distance: approx 5 km | 1.5 hrs

Day 6: Dogon Country

Today, see the impressive Dogon Masked Dance Ceremony in the morning light. After this, explore the village of Tireli and enjoy a 1-hr trek to Amani. Grab some lunch, visit a sacred crocodile pond, and continue your trek to Ireli, a village that offers numerous ancient Tellem ruins up on the escarpment and best-preserved former Dogon dwellings directly below. Spend the night here on the rooftop of the chief’s compound.

*Tireli to Amani trek distance: approx 4 km | 1 hr

*Amani to Ireli trek distance: approx 1 hr on flat land

Day 7: Dogon Country – Mopti

Today, trek back up the escarpment through a beautiful valley to Campement Hotel in Sangha. After lunch, travel back to Mopti and along the way, you will stop at the village of Songo, famous for its picturesque setting and rock paintings at an old circumcision site.

Spend the night at a hotel in Mopti

Day 8-9: Mopti – Niger River

From Mopti, board a traditional Pinasse that will take you to an unforgettable Niger River cruise. During the cruise, you’ll have a chance to see the fauna in the area, including birds, hippos, and more. Along the way, you will also stop by several villages where the Fulani and Bozo people reside. In the evening, camp along the banks of the Niger River where you’ll spend a lovely night under the star-filled Sahara skies.

Day 10: Niger River – Korioumé

Arrive in Korioumé in the afternoon, where your boat will dock. Korioumé is linked to Timbuktu by 18 km of paved road. Spend the night at Hotel La Maison, one of the better hotels in the area.

Day 11: Timbuktu

Spend the day exploring Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site perched on the edge of the Sahara and a was center of religion and scholarship for centuries. See three of West Africa’s oldest mosques, Sankore Mosque, Djingareber*, and Sidi Yehia, all of which are made from mud and timber and recall Timbuktu’s golden age. You will also explore the Ethnological Museum, the Al-Mansur Korey House, the marketplace, and the Ahmed Baba Center and Haidara Library before taking an amusing sunset camel ride into the desert and visit a Tuareg campsite. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to drink tea with the nomads and be entertained by their traditional singing, drumming, and dancing with sabers. An optional traditional moshe dinner is also available. At night, you have the option to spend the night in the desert or return to the center at Hotel La Maison or similar.

*Visit inside the Djingareber is not allowed for tourists.

Day 12: Timbuktu-Mopti

Travel from Timbuktu early in the morning and arrive in Mopti in the afternoon. Then, cool down and have a drink at Bar Bozo before enjoying a sunset experience by the majestic Niger River.

Overnight in Mopti

Day 13: Mopti – Segou

Take a tour around Mopti, visiting its bustling harbor, marketplace, old town, and mosque. Nicknamed as the “Venice of Mali”, Mopti is known for its port linking all of Mali’s towns and villages along the Niger River. In the marketplace, you’ll see the many different ethnic people of Mali interacting, selling, and buying local produce. You will also see the famous Fulani women wearing their iconic big gold earrings, as featured on national postage stamps and posters all over the country. After lunch, depart from Mopti and travel for 5 hours to Segou. If time permits, you will also visit the town’s port and colonial buildings before dinner.

Overnight in Segou.

Day 14: Segou – Bamako

In the morning, visit Boubacar Doumbia’s atelier, Mali’s leading Bogolon, or mud cloth artist. With the help of the artist himself or his staff, you may also try your own hands at making a sample piece which you can keep as a souvenir. Travel back to Bamako, and along the way, visit Ségou-Koro, the former seat of the Bambara Empire where the body of the late King Biton Coulibaly lies. Get to meet the village chief and see two ancient mosques; one was older than the village and the other was built by the King and given as a gift to his mother when she converted to Islam. Upon arrival in Bamako, explore the capital’s National Museum, recycling market, and Grand Marchee. If time permits, you will drive up to Point G for a panoramic view of Bamako and the Niger River.

Your 2-week tour ends with a transfer back to the airport.

Includes

  • English-speaking guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Hotel accommodation for 8 nights
  • Djenne ferry, tax, local guide, and entrance fees
  • Complete 3-night Dogon trek package including porters, cow carts, village taxes, sleeping fees, food and Masked Dance Ceremony
  • Foods, tents, and mattresses during the 2 night Niger River  Cruise
  • Timbuktu ferry, port transfer to hotel, tax, local guide, entrance fees 
  • Entrance fee to rooftop in Mopti, old town and to photograph Fulani women
  • Segou-Koro village atelier entrance fee and tax
  • Bamako National Museum and recycling market entrance fee

Excludes

  • Drinks, including mineral water
  • Lunch or dinner except during 3-night Dogon trek and 2-night Niger river trip to Timbuktu
  • Sleeping bags
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Visa and visa application fees
  • Travel insurance and immunizations

Itinerary

– Arrival in Bamako
– Transfer to hotel
– 7-hour ride from Bamako to Djenne
– Stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Djenne
– Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Mosque
– Monday market day in Djenne
– Two-hour ride to Mopti
– Dogon Country
– Trek down the Bandiagara escarpment to the village of Nombori
– Visit a local village
– Dogon Masked Dance Ceremony
– Visit the Hogon or spiritual leader in the village
– Visit the village of Tireli
– Trek to Amani
– Visit a sacred crocodile pond
– Trek to Ireli
– Trek back up the escarpment through a beautiful valley to Campement Hotel in Sangha
– Travel back to Mopti and visit the village of Songo
– Board a traditional Pinasse that will take you to an unforgettable Niger River cruise
– Stop by several villages where the Fulani and Bozo people reside
– Camp along the banks of the Niger River
– Arrive in Korioumé
– Explore Timbuktu
– See three of West Africa’s oldest mosques
– Visit the Ethnological Museum, the Al-Mansur Korey House, the marketplace, and the Ahmed Baba Center and Haidara Library
– Take an amusing sunset camel ride into the desert and visit a Tuareg campsite
– Optional traditional moshe dinner
– Spend the night in the desert or return to the center at Hotel La Maison
– Tour around Mopti
– Visit Boubacar Doumbia’s atelier
– Travel for 5 hours to Segou
– Visit the town’s port and colonial buildings
– Visit Ségou-Koro
– Get to meet the village chief and see two ancient mosques
– Explore the capital’s National Museum, recycling market, and Grand Marchee
– Drive up to Point G for a panoramic view of Bamako and the Niger River
– Transfer back to the airport

Starting Location
Bamako Dabanani Imm Simpara 1Er Etage Bamako, Bamako, Mali.
Itineraries are subject to change.
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