Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mali. Plan B. The Adventure Begins!

Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that I will not be going to Timbuktu out of concern for my personal safety. So today, I emailed the tour agent (Sinamory Coulibaly with West Africa Travel Tours) with whom I have been working with to plan my week long trip through Mali, to say that I need to completely revamp my itinerary.  A short while later, Sinamory emailed me the following travel plan. My initial reaction was not a positive one as I only recognized the names of a handful of the places.  Where the hell am I going?  Plus, it's a trekking tour - I'll be walking across Dogon country! But, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got cause it's going to really take me "off the beaten path" and I'll really get to see and experience Malian village life. I have to admit that that intrigues me. I still have to work out some details with Sinamory but it looks like this will be Plan B.


Day 1.  The Adventure Begins.

Bamako - Djenne. After breakfast drive to Djenné the city classified as World Heritages because of its architecture. The city considered as the twin of Timbuktu because of its attachment to Islam. Founded around the 10th century by Soninkés, a religious city considered as one of the oldest
city in Africa. The visit of children learning in Coranic School is worthy. Djenné is very famous by its colorful market and the biggest mud monument in the world. Visit of San on the way. The capital of Bobo land, an ethnic very attached to its culture as they are animists, the mosque a
little similar to the one of Djenné. After lunch, visit in the afternoon of Djenné. Overnight in Djenné.

Day 1....so far, so good. 

Day 2.  Heading for the Dogon. I'm still  in a car!!

Djenne - Mopti - Dogon Country. Drive to the Dogon Country via  Mopti, lunch and Mopti city tour (you will see the fascinating mix of Malian cultures: Bambara, Bobo, Bozo, Dogon, Fulani, Tuareg, Songhai and Hausa). Visit the beautiful mosque, the fishing port and the bustling market, where you can shop for gold or silver jewelry, Tuareg leatherwork, or Fulani blankets of cotton or wool. The Dogon Country is considered as one of the most extraordinary places on earth. Built up high on the narrow
ledges of the cliffs are the villages of the Dogon people. This is such a  unique place that the United Nations has declared it a World Heritage site. Visit the village of Songo, renowned for its rock paintings and circumcision grotto, continuation to Bandiagara for your overnight.

Day 2.  Still good.  At least I recognize the names of the places and I still have a car.

Day 3.  Uh....where am I?  Where's the car?

 Bandiagara - Djiguibombo - Kani Kombole - Teli - Ende. DepartBandiagara for trekking to visit some villages in south in the descent of cliff like Djiguibombo, the village of Kani Kombole if possible. Continuation and lunch, then visit of Teli: old houses troglodytes of the Tellems, trekking to visit Ende, where you will discover the table of divination very much used by Dogons to undertake an unspecified adventure or to make a marriage and overnight at Ende.

Day 3 ends and I'm sure I'll be trying to find the car.  Hello car??

Day 4.  Still have no idea where I am but the trekking continues.  Who needs a map?

Ende - Yabatalou - Djoundjourou - Begnemato - Dourou. Breakfast and trekking for the others villages in South like Yabatalou, Djoundjourou.

Lunch at Begnemato, where you will discover the Hogon the spiritual Dogon leader and overnight in Dourou.

End of Day 4.  I think I will be looking for a good shower.

Days 5 & 6.  My walk across eastern Mali continues :-)

Dourou - Nombori - Tireli - Daga. Breakfast and departure for cliff. Classified world heritage of humanity to the double title of nature and the culture by UNESCO the visit of the country Dogon resembles as a true pilgrimage, certain villages on the foot of cliff such as Nombori, Tireli where you will have lunch, continuation to Daga for your overnight.

We will discover Toguna made up with 8 feet and 8 layers of roof. The figure 8 which indicates the number of ancestors come from Mande to escape from islamisation in, thus you will discover the culture of the Dogon people. People very attach to their culture and their tradition, you will be fill with wonder and surprised by the philosophy of this astonishing people. Overnight in Daga, where you will meet your car.

End of Day 5.  Happy, happy, joy, joy cause I will have a car back!!

Day 7.  Back to Bamako.

Daga - Bamako. Breakfast and drive to Bamako the Malian capital city, lunch in Segou, at your arrival, you will explore this capital city of Bamako situated on the Niger, one of Africa's great rivers. There is nowhere better to see Mali's colorful diversity than in the streets and markets of Bamako. Bamako has a large art and craft center where sculptors, weavers, leather workers, jewelers and metal workers exhibit their wares and skills. You will visit the Grand Marché, or Great Market, where you can spend hours exploring the hundreds of stalls. One area of the market is devoted entirely to traditional African medicines. Here
you'll find the freshly shrunken heads of birds, monkeys and crocodiles, along with lizard skins and other gruesome treatments and transfer in night to the airport.

End of Day 7.  I will be sad because my adventure comes to an end.