From Its glorious past, marked by the history of the great empires, Mali inherited a rich person cultural heritage, real contribution to human and universal civilization. It is thus not a chance, if our country has 4 classified sites world heritage by UNESCO: Tombouctou, for its mosques going back to several centuries, Djenné, known thousand-year-old city entirely built, the Dogon Country, with its magic and mythical universe and the Tomb of Askias in the town of Gao, relic of the dynasty founder of the Songhoï Empire. The history of Mali, it is also that of Soundiata Keïta, paralytic child become king of one of the greatest empires; that of Africa of Soumangourou Kanté, the king wizard and that of Sonni Ali Ber, Ali the Large one.
The Second City, a good six hour bus journey from the capital Bamako, has a fabulous riverside food market selling everything you can imagine and more. Walk through the market, around the harbour, and enjoy a fine meal with local ingredients, and very welcome cool beer, in the pub on the harbour front.
I took a trip to Mali in January this year. Our aim was the festival au desert, a Tuareg music festival north of Timbuktu in an oasis called Essakane.
Our journey was a bit ad hoc; arriving in Bamako, travelled by bus to Mopti, then boat from Mopti to Timbuktu, then 4*4 into the desert to get to the festival. On the way back we travelled via Mopti again, but headed into the Dogon country for 3 nights and four days of walking, before busing back to Bamako via Segou.
The festival was absolutely indescribably amazing, plus the fact that most of the tour groups that head out that way had been cancelled because of travel warnings in the area, so the ambiance was perfect! I particularily enjoyed evenings spent listening to the music around campfires. The people of Mali were welcoming, kind and generous, which made for a fascinating and dusty adventure (of which there are too many places/people to pick a favourite)!
A family-orientated bed and breakfast. I stayed there on and off for a month with my two year-old. Way better than an impersonal hotel. The hosts, Jeremy and Tewah and their family, were warm and welcoming - it was a brilliant insight into west African family life for me and my daughter. Tewah is a great cook!
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