From the Sahara Desert in the north, to the savannas of the south, Mali offers a wide range of scenery. The best time to visit is the cool and dry season of November through February.
The city of Bamako, the visitors’ usual starting point, offers an intricate blend of modern and traditional while maintaining an authentic African identity. Bamako is the capital of Mali, and is known as one of the best places in the world for music lovers and performers.
From Bamako, the next stop on your tour of Mali should be Mopti. Mopti owes its prosperity to the Niger River, part of which was reclaimed to accommodate the city. Mali’s most important port is located in Mopti, as well as fishing villages and Mopti Grand Mosque.
By road or ferry, continue to ancient Djenne, a large flourishing and prosperous city blessed with some of the most benevolent, friendly and hospitable people in the world. In Djenne, you will find mud brick buildings of 100 years or more, most notably the Great Mosque of Djenne.
Continue your experience with a visit to Dogon country. Dogon life is centered around sacred rights and rituals which take place in the hollow cliffs on which the Dogon houses are built. Dogon culture is surrounded in mysticism and intrigue, from an astonishing knowledge of the solar system to the unique structure of Dogon villages.
The Festival in the Desert is held every year in early January in the remote village of Essakane about 60 kilometers from Timbuktu. This is a world music event featuring musicians from several countries in West and Central Africa in addition to musicians from all over the world. This is a one of a kind even which celebrates the Tuareg people’s culture and traditions including singing, dancing, swordplay, camel races and artisans’ exhibits. Accommodations consist of tents and ground mats (NB: there are no hotels); hot meals are prepared on-site. This is not a luxury vacation but is indeed a unique cultural experience that is not soon forgotten.
Mali offers a variety of hotels, including the four star Le Grand Hotel in Bamako, which provides access to two pools, on site shopping, a business center, fitness center, and large meeting rooms. Hotel restaurants often provide an exciting mix of French and African cuisine.
Full country name: Republic of Mali
Area: 1,240,140 sq km (483,654 sq mi)
Population: Approximately 13 Million
Capital city: Bamako People: Bambara, Tuareg, Dogon, Songhaï, Senoufou, Fulani
Language: French. The main African languages are Bambara, Songhaï, Tuareg and Arabic
Religion: Muslim 90%, traditional African religion 9%, Christian 1%
President: Djonkounda Traore
Visas: Visas are required for all entry
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric