Day 1: Bamako. After our International flight arrives in Bamako, capital of Mali, we are met by our guide and have an airport-to-hotel transfer. The rest of the day is free. Overnight: Mande Hotel, Bamako (Dinner).
Day 2: Bamako - Segou. After breakfast, we leave Bamako and drive northeast to Segou, Mali's second largest city and former colonial administrative center. At Segou we will observe the city’s old, beautiful Sudanese-style colonial architecture, and then visit the lively port on the Niger, the pottery makers, the traditional weavers and mud cloth artisans. By the way we visit the nearby village of Sekoro, former capital of the Bambara Kingdom and see the tomb of King Biton Coulibaly. Overnight: Independence Hotel, Segou (1 night)(Breakfast,).
Day 3: Segou - Mopti. We’ll continue today Mali’s exploration and after breakfast we drive along the banks of the Niger River to Mopti, known as the Venice of Mali. Nestled between the Niger and the Bani Rivers, Mopti is a major fishing port and has a bustling market, where we can spot many of Mali's ethnic groups, an effervescent amalgam of cultural diversity like: Bambara, Bobo, Bozo, Dogon, Fulani, Tuareg and Songhay. Here we can shop gold or silver jewelry, Tuareg leatherwork, or Fulani blankets of cotton or wool. Spend some time cruising on the Bani and Niger rivers by visiting the fishermen’s village. After we visit the city’s beautiful mosque, we’ll enjoy a sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional pirogue. Overnight: Kanaga Hotel, Mopti (1 night),(Breakfast).
Day 4: Mopti - Songo - Teli. After breakfast, drive to Mali's fascinating Dogon country. Being among of the most enigmatic people of Africa, the Dogons are living in stones and mud houses and granaries built up high on the narrow edges of the cliffs. The Dogons are animists, worshipping their ancestors and the spirits of nature. Having preserved their traditions through the centuries, the Dogon architecture is certainly the most well known element by external world, along with other practices such as mask dances (to request to a deceased spirit to leave the village and then rejoin the ancestors) or the fox divinatory game. The Dogons are farmers cultivating their fields either high on the cliff, in the plain or down of the cliff.
The Dogons fled the advancing of Arabs coming from the north, and found shelter in one of West Africa's most inhospitable areas difficult to reach. This difficulty contributes to Dogon’s isolation even between them, and in time each village developed its own dialect, un-comprehended by the neighbors. Today, there are about fifty of idioms in spoken Dogon language. First we’ll visit the Dogon village Songo, renowned for its rock paintings and circumcision grotto, and then continue to Teli to meet your donkey for a trekking, where we stay overnight (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 5: Teli - Ende donkey back. Breakfast and start with your donkey trekking to explore the fascinating dogon land, lunch in village continuation to Ende for your overninght in Ende. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 6: Ende – Begnemato on foot. Breakfast and walk to Begnemato to enjoy more dongon culture, overnight in Begnemato (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 7: Begnemato-Dourou on foot. Breakfast and continue with our dongon exploration trekking to Dourou for your overnight (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 8: Dourou-Gimini to meet your donkey. Breakfast and trekking through dogon villages to meet your donkeys in Gimini, overnight in Gimini (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 9: Gimini - Tireli. Breakfast and take your donkey for Tireli to discover dogon traditional granaries, the table of divinisation and the hogon the spiritual chief of Dogon, overnight in Tireli (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 10: Tireli - Ireli. Breakfast and continue to visit Amani, where we visit the sacred crocodile sanctuary, overnight in Ireli (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 11: Ireli - Banani - Ibi. This morning we descend the Bandiagara escarpment to visit the village of Banani, where the ancient Tellem Cave dwellings in the cliff face, and continuation for your overnight in Ibi.
Day 12: Ibi - Koundou. Breakfast and continue to visit with your donkey some other small but interesting Dogon villages, overnight in Koundou (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 13: Koundou - Three Youga - Yendouma. Breakfast and up to visit the three youga lunch in one Youga and down to take your donkey for your overnight in Yendouma (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).
Day 14: Yendouma - Bamba with donkey to meet your car drive to Djenne. We’ll spend another morning exploring Dogon country, before our early afternoon drive to Djenne. Djenne, Timbuktu’s ancient sister city when they were at their glory time, has been preserving the atmosphere for centuries with its mud buildings along the old narrow streets. The city was an important port for caravans selling the salt coming from the desert to the south areas. Presently, Djenne is well known for its interesting weekly market and the big mosque, the biggest mud architecture in the world, built in the 13th century and declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Even now, Djenne is continuing to be an important trade center. Here we can spot all of Mali’s ethnic groups: Bambara, Malinké, Peul, Bobo, bozo, Dogon Songhaï, Tuareg, Haussa, all coming to exhibit their wares in the bustling market. The atmosphere on the streets ‘teleports’ you back to medieval times. We will visit the magnificent Grand Mosque, the largest mud brick architecture in the world and wander around all day long, Overnight: Hotel Campement Djenné (Breakfast, Dinner).
Day 15: Djenne - Bamako. Breakfast early and drive to the Capital city of Mali, Bamako is situated on the Niger, one of Africa's great rivers. Mali is a country of many tribal peoples, each with its own exuberant style of clothing and jewelry. There is nowhere better to see this colorful diversity than in the streets and markets of Bamako. After a refreshing night-rest and breakfast at our hotel we start with a leisurely Bamako city tour and visit the Point G for the panoramic overview of the city, the National Museum, the city market, the antiquary’s village and the artisan’s village.
The city has a large art and craft centre where sculptors, weavers, leather workers, jewelers and metal workers exhibit their wares and skills. You can spend hours exploring the hundreds of stalls. From carvings and cassettes, to fabrics, beads, brass and gold, the variety of goods is staggering. One area of the market is devoted entirely for traditional African medicines. Here you'll find the freshly shrunken heads of birds, monkeys and crocodiles, along with lizard skins and other gruesome treatments, do your last your shopping before your departure.
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