Saga Tours - Travel to Mali and West Africa Bamako, Mali
West Africa
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See also
Festival in the Desert Tour

See our Facebook photo albums

pirogue races

center stage on the waterfront

traditional hunters and musicians

puppet shows

contemporary Malian musicians

pottery market

water puppet

Niger Festival 2005 photos
courtesy of L. Daffé:

Festival on the Niger tour 2014

featuring Segou and the Festival on the Niger River —

plus Bamako, Djenne, Mopti, the Niger River and Dogon country

4 - 14 February 2014

11 days / 10 nights all-hotel accommodation
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The tenth annual Festival on the Niger will be held in Segou, MALI, on 5–9 February 2014. This cultural celebration will feature traditional music and contemporary musicians, arts and crafts expositions (textiles, pottery, sculpture, jewelry), traditional dance troupes and puppet troupes, pirogue races on the river, and more !

For more information, see the official website

NB: This is a private tour only, no group departures.

4 Feb. 2014
Arrival in Bamako, MALI
International flight arrives in Bamako in the evening; our staff will meet you in the Arrivals hall of Bamako airport, and provide your hotel transfer; overnight in Bamako.
Grand Hotel, or similar (no meals)
5 Feb. 2014
Bamako – Segou (235 km; ~3hrs) / Festival on the Niger
Breakfast, and 9h00 AM departure from Bamako for Segou, Mali's second largest city and former colonial center, arriving around noon. Check into our Segou hotel, and enjoy the festival opening activities (masks, puppets, music, and more). Overnight in Segou.
accommodations to be determined Breakfast
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
6, 7, 8 Feb. 2014
Segou / Festival on the Niger
We begin three full days of Festival on the Niger activities: speakers, demonstrations, artisan expositions, films, story-tellers, puppets, as well as traditional and contemporary music and dance; featuring some well-known stars as well as new performers on the music scene for the nightly concerts. Overnight in Segou.
accommodations to be determined Breakfast
9 Feb. 2014
Segou – Djenne (335 km; ~4½hrs)
Enjoy the final festival activities, then we will drive to Djenne, Timbuktu's ancient sister-city and one of Unesco's World Heritage sites. Overnight in Djenne/Sevare.
Hotel Campement, or similar (as available) Breakfast
10 Feb. 2014
Djenne – Dogon country (230 km; ~3½hrs)
Visit Djenne on its colorful weekly market day, when villagers from miles away come to buy and sell. Djenne was one of the first commercial centers of the Sahel region: it was the meeting place of the nomads from the Sahara, the local farmers and cattle herders, and the fishermen from the inland delta of the Niger.
After taking in the sights and sounds of the market, we will stroll the ancient alleys and narrow streets, and see the oldest house in Djenne, dating from the XIIth century. Also see the magnificent Great Mosque, the world's largest mud brick architecture, originally constructed in the XIIIth century, this is one of Unesco's World Heritage sites. We will visit the Djenne museum on our way out of town, as we drive to Mali's fascinating Dogon country. Overnight in Sangha.
Hotel Campement Guina, or similar (as available) Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
11 Feb. 2014
Dogon country
Today we begin exploring Dogon country. The Dogon tribe originated in the south of Mali, which they fled to preserve their animist religion from the spread of Islam. When they arrived at the Bandiagara cliffs, they found the Tellem people occupying grottos carved in the face of the cliff. They eventually displaced the Tellem people, and used the grottos to bury their dead—funerary rites are an important part of the Dogon culture.
We begin with a visit of Sangha, comprised of 10 distinct Dogon villages, some animist, some Islamic; see beautiful examples of traditional Dogon architecture and contemporary fetishes. We will descend the Bandiagara escarpment to visit Dogon cliff villages Banani, Ireli, Amani (see the sanctuary of sacred crocodiles, totem animal of the Dogon people), and Tireli, where we may (optionally) witness a traditional Dogon mask dance, which is part of the Dogon people's funerary rites. We return to Sangha for overnight.
Hotel Campement Guina, or similar (as available) Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
12 Feb. 2014
Dogon country – Mopti (120 km; ~2hrs) / Niger River
Today we will visit Songo village, renowned for its circumcision grotto with rock paintings; circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years for all Dogon boys aged 9-14 years old; the rock paintings are historical representations of noble Dogon families.
Then we proceed to Mopti, the melting pot of Mali. On our city tour of Mopti we visit see the Komoguel mosque, the fishing port (see pirogues being made by hand), and the bustling market where many of Mali's ethnic groups come to trade: Bambara, Bobo, Bozo, Dogon, Fulani, Tuareg and Songhay. Take this opportunity to shop for gold or silver jewelry, hand-made cotton or wool blankets, or some of Mali's beautiful wood carvings (masks, statues, etc.). We end our day with a relaxing sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat. Overnight in Mopti/Sevare.
Hotel Kanaga, or similar (as available) Breakfast
13 Feb. 2014
Mopti – Bamako (640 km; ~8hrs)
Today we will return to Bamako; this is a long but scenic drive across the heartland of Mali. Overnight in Bamako.
Grand Hotel, or similar Breakfast
14 Feb. 2014
Bamako / final departure
And today we visit Bamako: we begin wiwth an over-view of this sprawling city from Point G, with a visit of the ancient grotto and rock paintings. Then on to the National Museum (see, with its impressive collections of textiles from the 11th to the 20th century; ancient Bamanan, Dogon and Senoufo sculptures; terracotta objects from archeological sites; and contemporary African paintings and sculptures. In the afternoon we will also visit the city market, the artisans' village, and the fetish market for traditional medicine. And in the evening, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
day-room Breakfast

1 km ~ 0.6 mile; driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions and stops

NB: private departures only, this is not a group tour.

Tour package includes:
  • 10 nights accommodations, double occupancy, with breakfast
  • day-room in Bamako on the final day
  • 2 lunches and 2 dinners in Dogon country; excluding drinks
  • private ground transportation by air-conditioned vehicle, with driver and fuel
  • sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat
  • 4-day Festival on the Niger; entry fee priced separately (subject to change)
  • experienced English-speaking guide throughout
  • airport transfers upon arrival and departure in Bamako
  • all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
  • all touring, site visit, excursion and entry fees as per tour program

Tour package does not include: international flights to/from Bamako; Mali visas; non-specified meals, drinks/bottled water; optional Dogon mask dance; tips and personal expenses.

Optional traditional Dogon mask dance in a village — upon request

Please note: Saga Tours does not handle international air reservations and ticketing.

Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions

The Festival on the Niger in Segou, Mali— a unique cultural celebration of West African music, dance, theater, arts and crafts !

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Site Map

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