Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Mali Textiles Tour – 10 days
Discover the wonderful variety of Mali's traditional textile arts
Visit artisans in their workshops—try your hand at weaving or dying traditional fabrics
9 nights hotel; no camping
Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Friday and ending on a Sunday in Bamako, MALI; there are no fixed-date group departures.
Contact us for prices. Groups of any size are welcome. Be sure to specify the month/year of travel, and how many persons are in your partyprices are digressive, so a better value per person for a party of four than a party of two, etc.
Day 1 Friday: 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).
Day 2 Saturday: Bamako
Breakfast, then begin your textile tour of Mali with a city tour of Bamako: over-view of this sprawling city from Point G, with a visit of the ancient grotto with rock paintings. Then on to the National Museum (see www.mnm-mali.org), with its impressive collections of textiles (from the 11th to the 20th century); also featured are ancient Bamanan, Dogon and Senoufo sculptures; terracotta objects from archeological sites; and contemporary African paintings and sculptures. Then we go to the city market and the artisans' village, where you will get a look at Mali's huge variety of contemporary textiles.
In the afternoon, we will visit a workshop of weavers making the narrow bands of cloth that are a hallmark of many of Mali's traditional fabrics. We will also visit a batik workshop, where the West Africa "bazin" fabric is dyed—this fabric is worn by all the belles of West Africa. You will have the opportunity to place special orders (select your pattern and colors), to be picked up at the end of your tour. Overnight in Bamako (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 3 Sunday: Bamako - Djenne (570 km; ~7½hrs)
After breakfast, we depart Bamako at 08h00 AM for a scenic drive through the heartland of Mali, to Djenne, ancient sister-city of Timbuktu; with sight-seeing en-route. Overnight in Djenne (Hotel Campement, or similar).
Day 4 Monday: Djenne - Dogon country (250 km; ~3½hr)
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.
Today is the weekly market day, and after exploring 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 bogolan (mudcloth) artisans in their workshops, and also visit the Djenne museum as we depart Djenne for Dogon country. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 Tuesday: Dogon Country
Today we explore Mali's fascinating 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 will visit Dogon villages along the Bandiagara escarpment, another Unesco World Heritage site: Banani village, and Amani village with its sanctuary of sacred crocodiles. We will return to our Sangha hotel for lunch, and a walking tour of Sangha, comprised of 10 distinct villages, some animist and others Islamic—we will see many examples of the classic traditional Dogon architecture and contemporary fetishism. Then we will make our way to the village of indigo dyers—indigo-dyed fabric is used traditionally to make Dogon clothing, and it is still considered fashionable and high-status. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Wednesday: Dogon Country
Today we drive to the southern end of the escarpment to visit Ende and Tely villages, where we will see ancient Tellem dwellings carved out of the cliff face; we will visit traditional bogolan (mudcloth) dyers, and see how the mudcloth is made. Overnight in Bandiagara (Hotel Falaise, or similar).
with Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Day 7 Thursday: Dogon country - Mopti (75 km; ~¾hr)
After breakfast, we will visit one more Dogon village: Songo, renowned for its circumcision grotto with rock paintings. Traditional circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years, and the rock paintings are historical representations of noble Dogon families.
Then we move on to Mopti, the "melting pot" of Mali, located between the Bani and the Niger rivers. We have our city tour of Mopti in the afternoon: we will visit 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. We end our day with a relaxing sunset sail on the Niger River by private pirogue (river boat). Overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
Day 8 Friday: Mopti - Segou (450 km; ~5hrs)
08h00 AM departure from Mopti, and we drive to Segou, Mali's former colonial capital. We check into our Segou hotel for lunch, then begin exploring Segou: see the interesting mix of traditional and colonial architecture. We will visit the Kasobane boutique with its high-end traditional and contemporary textile art; we will stop by the Nieleni cooperative, which makes hand-woven high-quality wool rugs, and visit another women's cooperative that makes traditional millet beer. Then, enjoy a sunset stroll through the traditional pottery market on the waterfront. Overnight in Segou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
Day 9 Saturday: Segou - Bamako (235 km; ~3hrs)
Today we visit a mudcloth workshop, and we will try our hand at making mudcloth. After lunch, return to the workshop to pick up our dried, finished works, and we return to Bamako for overnight (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 10 Sunday: Bamako - final departure
Today is a "flex day" in Bamako—we can return to the markets to do some shopping, or go back to various textile workshops to pick up any special orders; otherwise, relax by your hotel pool. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your final departure.
1 km ~ 0.6 mile; driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions and stops
NB: Hotels subject to availability; on this ecotour we select simple hotels rather than our usual, more upscale hotels; see
proposed hotels description.
Upgrade to all-hotel accommodations/no-camping is also available—please specify if you prefer the no-camping option.
Tour package includes:
- 9 nights hotel, double occupancy
- day-room in Bamako on the final day
- 9 breakfasts (B), 2 lunches (L), 3 dinners (D)
- private ground transportation by 4x4 vehicle, with driver and fuel
- sunset sail on the Niger River, by private river boat
- experienced English-speaking guide throughout
- airport transfers upon arrival and departure in Bamako
- all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
- all excursion, site visit and entry fees as per tour program
Tour package does not include: international airfare to/from Bamako; Mali visas; non-specified meals, drinks/bottled water; optional Dogon mask dance; tips and personal expenses.
Option: traditional Dogon mask dance performed in a village — upon request
NB: Posted itineraries are subject to change, and quoted prices are accordingly subject to change; itineraries and prices are locked-in when a tour is booked.
Please note: Saga Tours does not handle international air reservations and ticketing.
Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions.