Mali, Jan 2007
My Mali Photo Journal, Jan 2007:
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- I arrived in Bamako the night before joining day after 36 hours in transit. The Harmattan, Sahara winds, blow hard the entire trip. No photos at all this day.
- The first full day begins with the Blacksmiths Market, then to the hill overlooking the city, the Wall of History and lastly the Archeological Museum and lunch before our drive to Segou. We stop briefly for market day at Konorobougou Village.
- We spend the night at the Hotel Independence in Segou. The next morning, after a stop at the bridge crossing the Bani River, we drive to Sevare. After lunch there, we transfer from our bus to 4x4's for the journey to Dogon country. I visit Farafina Tigne next door.
- We stop in Songho where we tour of the village and visit the boys Initiation site. We continue to the town of Bandiagara, and finally arrive in Koundou in Dogon country after dark for 2 nights camping on the roof of the Encampment. In the morning after breakfast we go hiking up the Bandiagara Escarpment and visit several villages there. After lunch and a rest, we drive to the Market in the next village and later in the opposite direction to the Crocodile compound before going to the village where the Dogon Mask Dance is performed.
- Wed, we have a long day travelling by 4X4's to the ferry to Tombouctou. We make a couple of stops along the way. There is a lot of malnutrition in one of the very remote villages.
- After catching the ferry to Tombouctou and spending the night, we have a morning tour of the city. About noon, we leave in a convoy to the Festival au Desert in Essakene.
- We spend 3 days at the Festival with a ferocious sandstorm the first days. My camera was put away during most of this. The festival was fantastic.
- From Essakene we drive to Niafunke to board our Pinasse for our Niger River trip
- We spent 3 days/2 nights on the Niger camping where we could on land at night. The first night we spend with a lone shepherd and his flock of lambs and the second with the cattle and their overseer. We visited several Fulani or Bozo villages each day.
- We disembarked from the Pinasse about 50 miles from Mopti and reunited with our bus for the drive to Mopti where we spent the night. Our Mopti hotel was a lovely oasis outside the city. We visit the Women’s Pottery Collective but they did allow photos. Back on the bus, we had a driving tour of Mopti where the streets allowed it before starting our our walking tour at a Market Building. From there we walked to the mud Mosque of Mopti and continued through the streets to the Harbour. Here we saw the Salt Tablets from Tombouctou, the local ferry for Bamako and Tombouctou, anything and everything for sale and dozens of working pinasses.
- The next morning we drive to Djenne. After lunch, we take a lengthy walking tour of the city with the same guide as Michael Pallin in his Sahara series. After dinner, some of us visit a local night spot where we are the star attraction.
- We had a long, long drive back to Bamako (8 hrs) for our last night of the tour.
- Our tour had ended but our tour leader took us to the Artisan Market the next morning. He saw everyone off that evening.
- I spent 2 more days in Bamako at an Auberge on the other side of the city. This was a very pleasant retreat before catching my flights to London via Paris.
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