Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Farako Tour : Mali and Senegal – 11 days
from Mali's Dogon country to historic Goree Island
10 nights hotel; no camping
Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Saturday in Bamako, MALI and ending on a Tuesday in Dakar, SENEGAL; 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.
Option: add Timbuktu to this itinerary; this adds three supplemental days (see bottom of page).
Please specify if you want to add Timbuktu.
Day 1 Saturday: 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 Sunday: Bamako - Djenne (570 km; ~7½hrs)
Breakfast, then 08h00 AM departure from Bamako 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 3 Monday: Djenne - Dogon country (230 km; ~3½hrs)
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.
This is Djenne's colorful 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 lastly we will visit the Djenne museum as we depart Djenne, driving to Dogon country. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
Day 4 Tuesday: 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, a large agglomeration of 10 distinct Dogon villages, some animist, some Islamic. 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. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
Day 5 Wednesday: Dogon country - Mopti (120 km; ~2hrs) / Niger River
We will depart Dogon country today; but first, we visit one last Dogon village: Songo, renowned for its rock paintings and circumcision grotto—circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years, and the rock paintings are historical representation of noble Dogon families.
Then we continue to Mopti, the Venice of Mali, nestled between the Niger and the Bani rivers. City tour of Mopti, including the beautiful mosque, the fishing port and the bustling market. And we end our day with a tranquil sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional pirogue (river boat). Overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
Day 6 Thursday: Mopti - Bamako (640 km; ~8hrs)
08h00 AM breakfast, and return drive to Bamako; en route, we will visit Terekongo village, site of a sacred well inhabited by protector spirits of the Bobo people—every morning a sacrificial chicken is offered to the spirits to assure the well-being of the village. We continue to Bamako for overnight (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 7 Friday: Bamako - Dakar, SENEGAL
This morning we embark on our Bamako city tour: over-view of this sprawling city from Point G, with a visit of the ancient grottos and 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; ancient Bamanan, Dogon and Senoufo sculptures; terracotta objects from archeological sites; and contemporary African paintings and sculptures. In the afternoon we will visit the city market, the artisans' village, and the fetish market for traditional medicine.
In the evening, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Dakar; in Dakar, your will be met by your Senegal guide and transfered to your hotel. Overnight in Dakar (Hotel Farid, or similar).
Day 8 Saturday: Dakar / Goree Island - Saint Louis (265 km; ~3½hrs)
07h00 AM breakfast, then we begin our full day with a city tour of Dakar, including the colorful Kermel market and the historic IFAN Museum. Then we will board the ferry (chaloupe) for Goree Island, an old slavery depot for some 300 years. We will visit the notorious House of Slaves and the Historical Museum.
After lunch, we return by ferry and drive to historic Saint Louis, the first French settlement in Africa, founded in 1659, and by 1895 the capital of the French colonial empire. Overnight in Saint Louis (Hotel Cap St. Louis, or similar).
Day 9 Sunday: Saint Louis / Parc Djoudj (60 km; ~½hr)
This morning we start with an excursion to the Parc Djoudj national bird sanctuary, another of Unesco's World Heritage sites, and one of the world's richest in bird species—around 3 million birds pass through the parc annually, and some 350 species have been recorded. We will enjoy a pirogue ride to better view the many types of cormorants, pelicans, ducks, flamingos, various songbirds and more; you may also see crocodiles, boas and wild boars.
In the afternoon, we return to Saint Louis and visit the old colonial city. Overnight in Saint Louis (Hotel Cap St. Louis, or similar).
Day 10 Monday: Saint Louis - Thies - Saly (250 km; ~3hrs)
We depart Saint Louis via Thies, Senegal's third largest city, where we will visit the renowned tapestry cooperative—all weaving is done on hand looms, and each weaver completes about 1 sq.meter per month. Only eight tapestries are made of each design; one tapestry is on display in Buckingham Palace, and most are similarly offered as gifts from the government to foreign dignitaries.
We continue our journey to Saly beach resort, with the remainder of the day at leisure to enjoy the sun, the sand, and the ocean. Overnight in Saly (Savana Saly, or similar).
Day 11 Tuesday: Saly - Dakar (80 km; ~1hr) - final departure
Today we relax on the beach, or enjoy one of the many activities available at the resort: surf boarding, jet skiing, tennis, etc. In the afternoon we transfer to Dakar airport for final departure.
1 km ~ 0.6 mile; distances are approximate
Driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions and stops
NB: Hotels subject to availability; see
proposed hotels description.
Suggestion: you may wish to add-on a few days at the end of the tour, to relax on the beach.
If so, just let us know and we will re-program your airport transfer for the day of your choice.
Please note: during the rainy season (July/Aug/Sep) the visit to Parc Djoudj in Senegal is replaced by the Langue de Barbarie bird sanctuary, as Parc Djoudj is closed.
Tour package includes:
- 10 nights hotel, double occupancy, with breakfast
- private ground transportation by air-conditioned vehicle, with driver and fuel
- Bamako-Dakar flight (priced separately; airfare is subject to change)
- sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat
- excursion to historic Goree Island
- day trip to Parc Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
- experienced English-speaking guide throughout
- all airport transfers upon arrival and departure in Bamako and in Dakar
- all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
- all sightseeing, excursion, and entry fees as per tour program
Tour package does not include: international travel to Bamako, MALI and onward from Dakar, SENEGAL; tourism visas; non-specified meals, drinks/bottled water; optional Dogon mask dance; resort activities; tips and personal expenses.
Option: traditional Dogon mask dance in a village — upon request
Option: include Timbuktu; this requires three more days, for a 14-day/13-night itinerary.
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; airfare is subject to change until tickets are purchased.
Optional Timbuktu extension :
|Day 6 Thursday: Mopti - Timbuktu (550 km; ~6hrs)
Interesting drive across the Sahel ecosystem, to the legendary city of Timbuktu, gateway to the Sahara Desert; overnight in Timbuktu (Hotel Hendrina Khan, or similar).
|Day 7 Friday: Timbuktu - Sahara Desert
Visit the legendary and historical city of Timbuktu: see the ancient mosques and former universities, the museum and the Ahmed Baba Institute archives of ancient Islamic manuscripts, the explorers' houses, and the market which receives the azalaïs, the salt caravans from the desert — at one time salt was literally worth its weight in gold; in the afternoon, depart on your camel caravan into the desert to visit a Tuareg camp on the dunes; the Tuareg people are known as the Princes of the desert, or the Blue Men of the desert (for the blue tinge on their skin from their indigo-dyed clothing); return to Timbuktu for overnight (Hotel Hendrina Khan, or similar).
|Day 8 Saturday: Timbuktu - Mopti (550 km; ~6hrs)
Return drive across the Sahel to Mopti; overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
|Day 9 Sunday: tour resumes where it was interrupted, Day 6 - Day 11 (becoming Day 9 - Day 14)
|Supplemental services package:
- 3 extra nights hotel, double occupancy; with breakfast
- 3 extra days private ground transportation by air-conditioned vehicle with driver
- excursion into the Sahara Desert by camel caravan to visit a Tuareg camp
- all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
- all sightseeing, excursion, and entry fees as per tour program
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.