Mali tour, Mud Mosques and the Dogon
Description of Mali tour, Mud Mosques and the Dogon
Mali is one of the most rewarding countries in West Africa, a colourful and vibrant destination, dominated by the Niger River, the largest in the region. Once the giant of West African tourism and hugely popular with travellers, its fortunes have suffered greatly in recent years, but we feel that now is the right time to venture back to this incredible place.
Starting in the bustling capital Bamako we first head south to the little visited region of Sikasso, home to the Senoufou people and their unique customs.
From here we continue to Djenne – a place that needs little introduction due to its imposing mud built mosque, the most impressive in West Africa. We have time to explore its traditional neighbourhoods and soak up its unique atmosphere before continuing on to Segou, a lively city that is rich in history. Here we take a pinasse out on the Niger to discover riverside communities and the ancient village of Segoukouro, once the capital of the Bambara kingdom.
Returning back to Bamako, we head to Manding country to meet the Dogon people, seeing an elaborate mask dance – travelling here is a little like stepping back to an age before Europeans ‘discovered’ Africa. Sadly it’s not currently possible to visit Timbuktu, but even without this Mali has a huge amount to offer, and one cannot say that one truly knows West Africa without visited at least once.
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1 Reviews of Mali tour, Mud Mosques and the Dogon
Reviewed on 20 Feb 2019 by Bob Ward
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Djenne with its huge mud mosque and Dogon Country with its culture and history together with the Treli villages built into the escarpment.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Travel as lightly as possible.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, unfortunately visitors are almost non-existent at the moment.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Memorable. Mali is an outstanding country in terms of history and culture.
PlanetThis tour travels through some very remote regions, many of which have barely been touched by the presence of humans, and we strongly believe in maintaining their pristine nature. We strive to ensure that we leave these areas as we find them and our team have been trained in strict no litter policies, meaning that we take all refuse to either be recycled or properly disposed of in nearby towns.
Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – again in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off.
Our travellers are specifically briefed on not to buy souvenirs made from endangered species – people in remote parts of the country do not always have the same respect towards wildlife as most travellers will have, and can sometimes offer such things for sale. This also extends to bushmeat – it is quite common to find antelope, porcupine or even monkey served in restaurants, and we specifically advise our travellers against contributing to the depletion of local populations.
PeopleAs with many of the trips that we offer, this tour has a strong focus on local culture and different ethnic groups. Where possible we try to ensure that local people benefit from our presence.
We are careful not to disrupt the traditional way of life of the people that we meet. As a way to say thank you for allowing us to visit, we bring traditional gifts, such as sugar, tea and so on – we do not bring modern accoutrements that may change their way of life as we feel that it is important for all tribal groups that any move towards a more ‘modern’ lifestyle is made on their own terms and not imposed upon them. We give gifts to the elders of the villages who will then ensure that they are distributed appropriately, rather than just giving them to individuals, which can cause problems, jealousy and fights within small communities.
These are very traditional areas with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities.
We buy supplies from local people where this is feasible – usually meat and other foodstuffs, and try to have a positive economic impact upon the communities we visit.
We work with Malian drivers and guides, and at the end of each tour encourage our travellers to leave unwanted clothes that they can then distribute to their extended families. We do not encourage travellers to leave these for villagers in more remote regions as we feel it is important that they are able to maintain their traditional lifestyles, which have generally served them well throughout the centuries in often difficult environments. We do not feel that the emulation of western culture, of which western clothing is just the start, would be wholly beneficial for the local people.
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