Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Mali Music Tour – Malian music and more !
spotlight on the music of Mali: enjoy listening to Mali's music stars and traditional musicians
with opportunities to learn African dance, drumming and various traditional music instruments in Bamako
11 days / 10 nights hotel, no camping
Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Thursday 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.
Regretfully this tour is temporarily unavailable as-is, due to security issues in Timbuktu.
A modified version can be implemented, excluding Timbuktu.
Who are your favorite Malian artists?
||Amadou & Mariam
and there are so many more !
We cannot specify in advance which music artists will be playing in Bamako on what dates, this is never known very long ahead of time. But this tour has three Friday and Saturday nights in Bamako so you will have three opportunities to see and hear the best music that Mali has to offer. In the smaller towns authentic traditional musicians will perform at your local hotel. And there is even a spectacular Dogon mask dance on the program !
This tour also has all of the usual must-see sites in Mali —
Day 1 Thursday: 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 Friday: Bamako
Today we have a full day planned in Mali's vibrant capital city: at 09h00 AM, we begin with an 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. We will also visit the Carrefour des Jeunes to arrange your optional dance or drumming course for next week. In the evening, attend a music performance (artist and venue to be determined). Overnight in Bamako (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 3 Saturday: Bamako - Timbuktu (by air)
This morning you will be transfered to the airport for early morning flight to the legendary city of Timbuktu, gateway to the Sahara Desert. In its glory-days, Timbuktu attracted Muslim scholars from the entire Arab world.
City tour of Timbuktu—we will visit 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, we have an excursion into the Sahara Desert by camel caravan to visit a Tuareg camp on the dunes. Enjoy a Takamba, traditional Tuareg dance, and dinner with your Tuareg hosts, the Princes of the Desert. Return to and overnight in Timbuktu (Hotel Hendrina Khan, or similar).
NB: due to security concerns we do not go deep into the desert.
with Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 Sunday: Timbuktu - Mopti (by air) / Niger River
Another early morning airport transfer for the flight to Mopti, the Venice of Mali, nestled between the Niger and the Bani rivers. We check into our Mopti hotel, then begin city tour of Mopti: we will visit the beautiful Komoguel mosque, the fishing port, and the bustling market where many of Mali's cultural 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's actitivities with a relaxing private sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional river boat. Return to our hotel for dinner, with some live Malian music. Overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
Day 5 Monday: Mopti - Djenne (130 km; ~1½hr) - Dogon country (240 km; ~3½hr)
Breakfast, then 08h30 AM departurefor our excursion to Djenne, Timbuktu's historical sister-city, 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.
We will take in the sights and sounds of the market, then 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).
with Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 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. Then 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 will witness the colorful spectacle of a traditional Dogon mask dance, which is part of the Dogon people's funerary rites. Return to Sangha for overnight (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Wednesday: Dogon country
8h00 AM we will drive to the southern end of the Bandiagara escarpment to visit Tely and Ende villages; see ancient Tellem cave dwellings in the cliff face. If time permits we may also visit the villages Nando (see the interesting mud-castle mosque) and Niongono, perched on the cliff like a medieval citadel (NB: climbing is required to visit Niongogo). Overnight in Bandiagara (Hotel Falaise, or similar).
with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 Thursday: Dogon country - Segou (525 km; ~7hrs)
Today we visit one last Dogon village, Songo, 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 return to Segou for overnight (Hotel Independance, or similar).
Day 9 Friday: Segou - Bamako (235 km; ~3hrs)
City tour of Segou, Mali's former colonial capital, with its interesting mix of traditional and colonial architecture. We will visit the market and 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; then visit another women's cooperative that makes traditional millet beer. On departing Segou we will visit Sekoro village, which was the original Segou and former capital of the Bambara kingdom; we will meet the village chief, who is a descendant of the King Biton Coulibaly. Then, onward drive to Bamako. In the evening, attend a musical performance (artist and venue to be determined). Overnight in Bamako (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 10 Saturday: Bamako
Attend your African dance course, or learn to play the djembe (drum) or another traditional African insturment (balafon, kora, etc). In the evening, attend a music performance (artist and venue to be determined). Overnight in Bamako (Grand Hotel, or similar).
Day 11 Sunday: Bamako - final departure
This is a day at leisure to relax by the hotel pool, or perhaps do some last-minute shopping at the local markets. 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; see
proposed hotels description.
NB: Domestic flights to/from Timbuktu are contingent upon availability. If flights are not available, overland
transportation to/from Timbuktu may be provided; this will require modifying the itinerary and omitting some visits, due to time constraints.
The baggage allowance on domestic flights is 20 kg/passenger, plus one piece of hand-luggage maximum 5 kg.
(1 kg = 2.2 pounds)
Tour package includes:
- 10 nights hotel, double occupancy
- day-room in Bamako on the final day
- 10 breakfasts (B), 2 lunches (L), 4 dinners (D)
- private ground transportation by 4x4 vehicle, with driver and fuel
- domestic flight Bamako-Timbuktu-Mopti (flights subject to availability)
- excursion into the Sahara Desert by camel caravan, to visit a Tuareg camp on the dunes
- Takamba, traditional Tuareg dance
- sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat
- traditional Dogon mask dance in a village
- entry to concerts in Bamako (up to three concerts)
- 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 classes to learn African dance, drumming, etc.; tips and personal expenses.
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.
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