Mali Timbuktu & Festivals Tour

January 28th – February 9th, 13 days

We have a very special journey for you. Our festivals tour of Mali will take you to the famous Festival Sur Le Niger in Ségou, where the best musicians from all over the country will perform, as well as the Dogon festival in Bamako. We’ll get the chance to attend many of the events happening around Bamako during this time, including various mask dances from local Dogon villages. On top of that, we’ll venture to Timbuktu on a private charter flight to discover this mysterious and historical city, together with Mopti, aka the Venice of Mali.
Of course no trip to Mali wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Djenné and Siby, in Manding country, to experience the beauty of Mali’s natural landscapes.

full itinerary

day 1 – 28/1/2023 • Bamako

• Morning arrival in Bamako, the warmth of Mali welcomes you!
• Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your guide and driver before hiffing the road for the drive to the town of San, via Ségou.
• We’ll do a few stops along the way including one in Segoukoro, the former capital of the Bambara kingdom, where we’ll meet the village chief for a tea.
• Once we reach Ségou, we’ll explore the town and find a nice restaurant to eat

Overnight in Bamako, Hotel Tamana, AC room

day 2 – 29/1/2023 • Bamako – Siby

• Today, our journey takes us to Siby, in Manding country. The region is home of the Mandinka people, an ethnic group descended from the 13th century Mali Empire
• We’ll visit Kamadjan Arch, a beautiful natural and historic stone arch that served as a meeting place for soldiers, war councils and people of great intelligence all the way back in the 13th century
• Around the site are other historic places to visit, including sacrificial caves and the ‘consultation cave’
• Dinner and overnight in Siby, perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals

Overnight in Siby, Campement de l’Arche, basic facilities

day 3 – 30/1/2023 • Siby – Bamako

• After breakfast, our journey takes us back to Mali’s capital
• The day will be dedicated to the Dogon festival in Bamako, where we will meet up with Dogon people originating from various villages, will get the chance to see some performances and learn about their amazing yet secretive culture and beliefs.

Overnight in Bamako, Hotel Tamana, AC room

day 4 – 31/1/2023 • Bamako

• The morning will be dedicated to exploring Mali’s capital
• We’ll start our tour of Bamako off by visiting the bustling ‘Rose Market’, a massive open air market where you can haggle furiously with the locals and pick up a wide variety of local goods to bring home!
• Explore the National Museum of Mali – With a collection of items 10,000 strong, ranging from traditional masks and costumes to textiles, old photos and many videos, this is a great place to dip your toes in Malian culture before getting stuck in for the rest of the tour
• Visit the Tower of Africa – The tallest structure in Mali at 80m (262ft) in height, this is no drab grey city skyscraper
• See the grand, marble Malian Independence Monument and the capital’s railway station!
• If we have time and didn’t get to see it earlier, we may even be able to check out a puppet-makers workshop!
• Lunch at Bafing Restaurant providing incredible local dishes such as Poulet Yassa, a spicy marinated chicken or fish dish with lemon, mustard or onions
• In the afternoon, we will join another day of performances at the Dogon festival
• At last we will spend another night in Bamako, to enjoy the local cuisine and music

Overnight in Bamako, Hotel Tamana, AC room

day 5 – 1/2/2023 • Bamako – Sikasso

• After a nice and early breakfast, our journey takes us to Sikasso, Mali’s second largest city
• The ride will take us most of the day, and we will as always do a few stops along the way to get some food and meet some local villagers
• Late afternoon arrival in Sikasso, perfect for an evening tour of the city and dinner in town

Overnight in Sikasso, Hotel Cinquantenaire, AC room

day 6 – 2/2/2022 • Sikasso

• Today, we will explore Sikasso and all of its secrets, starting with a visit to the symbolic Mamelon hill
• Following on our visit we will see the fortified wall of Tata, the Regional Museum, the tomb of Babemba Traoré, and the Grand Marché.
• In the afternoon, we will head out to see a local village inhabited by the Senoufo people, where we’ll learn about their customs and traditions

Overnight in Sikasso, Hotel Cinquantenaire, AC room

day 7 – 3/2/2022 • Sikasso – San

• In the morning, we will depart for the town of San
• The ride will also take us most of the day, and we will do a few stops along the way to stretch our legs and see how life goes in the local villages
• Late afternoon arrival expected in San, where we will stroll around town to find a good place to eat. Time permits we will see the local mosque, a smaller and more local version of the one in Djenné

Overnight in San, Hotel Teriya, AC room

day 8 – 4/2/2023 • San – Djenné – Ségou

• We’ll start the day nice and early for the drive to Djenné
• Once we arrived, we will wander around the old town of this unique city, along Koranic schools and mud structures.
• We’ll visit the sacred well, Tapama’s tomb, climb a rooftop for a good view on the Great Mosque
• The regional dish Tion Tion – prepared by the wife of our guide – is served for lunch • Early afternoon departure for the drive back to Ségou.
• At last we’ll arrive in Ségou, depending on the time we might have the chance to partake to a Malian tea ceremony!
• We’ll get to attend our first night at the Festival Sur Le Niger, where various performances and concerts are awaiting us

Overnight in Ségou, Hotel Djoliba, AC room

day 9 – 5/2/2023 • Ségou

• Music, culture and music culture, it’s festival time! The Ségou river quay has been turned into a festival site with the crème de la crème of the Malian music scene climbing the stage. The evenings are filled with music, the days with culture, local groups and raging talents. A colorful market, bars and restaurants add to the festival atmosphere. Ségou is bustling! In between enjoying the performances you’re taken on side trips in Ségou and its surroundings. You’ll learn about mud-cloth making, visit a hamlet where the locals master the art of decorating calabashes, set out on a river trip to a nearby pottery village, where with a bit of luck the weekly baking will take place, do a donkey cart tour, taste of traditionally brew millet beer and stroll the ancient neighborhoods of Ségou. Above all you’re immersed in the vibrant atmosphere, drawing you to the festival site again and again.

Overnight in Ségou, Hotel Djoliba, AC room

day 10 – 6/2/2023 • Ségou

• After breakfast, visit to the Soroblé bogolan (mud-cloth) center. This traditional cotton fabric is dyed with fermented mud and represents one of Mali’s most influential cultural practices. • Following the visit, we’ll explore more of Ségou, its colonial and Somono neighborhoods
• In the afternoon we’ll drive to Segoukoro. This village, also known as Sekoro, was in times past the capital of the Bambara Kingdom. We’ll pay a visit to the village chief, a descendent of the Bambara Kings and will explore the village, where traces of the past – including the tomb of Biton Coulibaly and the mosque he had built for his mother – are still to be seen
• Dinner and evening in town

Overnight in Ségou, Hotel Djoliba, AC room

day 11 – 7/2/2023 • Ségou – Bamako

• In the morning, we will head back to Bamako
• Upon arrival, we will embark on a pinasse – the Malian boat of choice – for a day on the Niger River, third longest one in Africa. We will have the chance to spot local flora and fauna
• Late afternoon, we get back on land for another fun night in the capital

Overnight in Bamako, Hotel Tamana, AC room

day 12 – 8/2/2023 • Bamako

• Today, we will discover some local neighborhoods and backroads of Bamako, for a truly local experience. We will stop by the blacksmith market, where the locals are able to build anything new out of metal scraps.
• Lunch in town, followed by our ascension to the top of Point G Hill – offering a scenic view over Bamako
• For those flying out of Bamako on that day, your transfer to the airport will be arranged.

Overnight in Bamako, Hotel Tamana, AC room

day 13 – 9/2/2023 • Bamako – Timbuktu – Mopti – Bamako

• Morning departure from Bamako on private charter plane to the mysterious city of Timbuktu
• We will visit three adobe mosques, the explorer’s houses, the high library of manuscripts, the Ethnological museum where we will see the well of Buktu and will attend a traditional Touareg dance, together with a camel ride
• Lunch will be served at the Hotel du Desert before your flight to Mopti, the Venice of Mali
• In Mopti we will visit the fish market and adobe mosque followed by boat trip on the river
• Flight back to Bamako, transfer to your hotel for a shower and dinner before your evening transfer to the airport

Auberge Amassakoul, AC room (day use)

includes

Breakfast on days 2-13
Lunch on days 2-3, 5-8, 11-13
Dinner on days 2 & 11
Private transport
Accommodation

excludes

Flight to/from Bamako
Visa
PCR test if needed
Tips for local guide & driver
Drinks, souvenirs
Personal spendings

prices

• Days 1-13, including charter plane to Timbuktu, Mopti and back: 3,790 per person
• Days 1-12: 2,060€
• Day 13 only, including charter plane to Timbuktu, Mopti and back: 2,030€
• Single room supplement 280€ per person