Mali & Burkina Faso
January 30 to February 14, 2020
Mali, a landlocked country is bisected by the Niger River, one of the great rivers of the world. It marks an approximate boundary between the Sahara desert and the Sahel. Mali means hippo in one of the local languages; hippos can be seen during the dry season. Head to Timbuktu the city of legend that truly exists on the fringes of the Sahara Desert. Visit its ancient mosque as well as the Grand Mosque in Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Stroll through the weekly markets in Djenne and Mopti, known to attract thousands of people from Mali’s many tribes. Spend time in Dogon country home to one of the most fascinating tribes in Africa. End your tour at the River Niger Festival, a celebration of music, dancing and culture.
Burkina Faso may not have many big-ticket attractions, but the warmth of its welcome and the friendliness of the Burkinabé people is unique. Wherever you go you'll be greeted with a memorable bonne arrivée ('welcome') and a handshake. There's also the lively cultural scene. The capital, Ouagadougou, and Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina's two largest and gloriously named cities, are famous for their musical traditions and beautiful handicrafts.
Per person sharing in double occupancy (Land Only): $8,995.00
Single Supplement: $795.00
Mali Only Land cost: $5,995.00 per person sharing in double occupancy
Mali Only Single Supplement:$400.00
Led by lecturer/guide Mr. Mohamed Halouani
Price based on a group size minimum of 8 and maximum of 15 participants
Your tour does not include
Airline ticket from USA to Bamako/back from Ouagadougou (approx. $1,200.00 based on Air France from NYC)
All Visa expenses (Approx. $400.00 for both)
Additional fee for charter flight if number drops below 8 passengers.
Vaccinations, yellow fever immunization, anti-malaria prophylaxis (all highly recommended).
Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.
Items of a personal nature: beverages, laundry, phone calls, email, souvenirs, etc.
Hotel accommodations necessitated by changes in air schedules or misconnections.
Travel protection insurance (highly recommended).
Your tour includes
Accommodation at hotels mentioned or similar.
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: breakfast, L: lunch and D: dinner).
Transportation in a mini-bus bus with A/C.
All visits to sites, villages, monuments and museums.
English speaking guide and local guides at the various villages.
Gratuities to guide, drivers, hotel & restaurant staff and porters.
Mask dance in Dogon country.
Charter plane to Timbuktu (with MIN 8 travelers).
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.
*** Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars)
Important Trip Notes: This tour requires a flexible spirit and a sense of adventure as you will drive some big distances, on roads that are dusty, bumpy, with bathroom facilities in the wild or in very poorly maintained state. The charter flight in/out of Timbuktu is the ONLY way to get there but we cannot guarantee any changes to their operation/schedule. You must treat this tour as an exploratory trip since we have not sent tours there since 2011. If the flight cancels, we will do the trip from Bamako to Mopti by land (& skip Timbuktu with a refund of $1500 to each participant). Also the itinerary sequence may change as the Festival dates can alter up or down a day or 2.
View Tour Itinerary
Thursday, Jan 30
USA to Bamako (Mali)
Depart the US arriving Bamako the next day.
Friday, Jan 31
Arrive in Bamako
Upon arrival you are met, assisted and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive before 8 PM, you will have dinner at the hotel then overnight. (D) Remark: Standard check in time at the hotel is 15:00 pm.
Saturday, Feb 01
Breakfast at the hotel then start your city tour of Bamako including the museum, the handicraft market, the recycling market, the view point from the top of the hill then after lunch drive to Siby in Manden area to visit the historical caves (kuru koro kale Fanfan) and the Arch of Kamandjan. It is also the weekly colorful market of Siby where all neighboring villagers come to trade and shop. Back to Bamako for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, Feb 02
Bamako - Timbuktu – Mopti
Early breakfast then transfer to the airport for the 3 hours’ charter flight to Timbuktu. Strategically located on the southern edge of the Sahara and on the top of the Niger bend, Timbuktu is the terminus of a camel caravan route that linked West Africa and the Mediterranean since the medieval times. Today Timbuktu is the shadow of its former self. Upon arrival in Timbuktu, we are transferred to town for city tour including the Djingerayber Mosque built by the Mali Emperor Mansa Musa when was coming from his pilgrimage to Mecca. The Mosque Sankore which was the former most famous University in the medieval time. The Mosque Sidy Yahiya built by a woman who said not to reveal her name. Then we will visit the houses occupied by the different explorers: the French Rene Caillé, English Mungo Park etc… Then we continue our visit to the museum, where you discover Neolithic objects discover in Sahara, then you will visit Tim Buktu «Buktu well “. You walk to the main market and the artisan market. Lunch in a hotel and transfer to the airport for you flight back to Mopti, where upon arrival, you will be transferred to Hotel Kanaga located on the bank of the Bani river. Time permitting, have a sunset cruise on the Bani and Niger Rivers. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (B,L,D)
Monday, Feb 03
Mopti – Djenne – Bandiagara
Today, attend to the famous Monday market of Djenne, and then visit the mosque- the biggest mud construction in the world- and continue to the Koranic schools. After lunch, drive to Bandiagara (203 mi). Time permitting, we will visit the village of Songho (a Dogon village) famous for its circumcision cave and rock paintings before arriving to Bandiagara for dinner and overnight at Hotel La Falaise. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, Feb 04
Bandiagara – Dogon Country - Bandiagara
Today we will visit the fascinating Dogon Country. We will take our 4WD vehicle and drive to Sangha to visit the two quarters: fetish houses, the ancestral house la Guinna, the women house, the blacksmith workshop, the granaries, the Toguna and lunch at Hotel Guinna. You will also attend a traditional mask dance. Return to Bandiagara for dinner and overnight at your hotel (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Feb 05
Bandiagara - Segou
Today, we will drive to Segou (277 mi) to assist to the opening of the Festival sur le Niger. En route we will visit Terekoungo, a Bobo village known for its sacred well, the fetish house and millet beer making. We continue our way to Segou. At about 20 km from Segou, we will stop by an over eight century Baobab to see the bee hives and honey in the trunk. Today please do not use any perfume. The perfume attracts bees. Arrive in Segou, check in at hotel Esplanade for dinner and overnight. At night we will attend the Festival on the bank of the river Niger. (B,L,D)
Thursday, Feb 06
Today we will discover Segou the city of 4444 Balanza trees (Acacia trees) -symbol of the city. We will visit the Ndomo (mud cloth painting workshop), the colonial buildings and continue to Sekoro, the ancient Capital of the Bambara Kingdom. We pay visit to a direct descendant of the King Biton Mamary Coulibaly. We visit the king’s tomb, the vestibule where he received his guests and the mosque he built for his mother although he was animist. Drive back to Segou for lunch. In the afternoon, we go back to enjoy the music at the festival and see different activities and workshops. Dinner at your hotel and overnight. (B,L,D)
Friday, Feb 07
Morning at leisure, guide and driver at your disposal. You may visit some Bambara arts or rest at the hotel. Afternoon enjoy the Festival. Dinner and overnight at your hotel (B,L,D)
Saturday, Feb 08
Segou – Bobo Dioulaso (Bukina Faso)
Today we have a long driving day with crossing the border to Burkina Faso (339 Mi). Time permitting; we may visit some villages on our way. Upon arrival, transfer to Hotel Sissiman for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, Feb 09
Bobo Dioulaso - Banfora
This morning start your city tour of Bobo Dioulasso, including the Sudanese style Mosque, the old quarter and the sacred cat fish in the river and the colorful market. Lunch in a restaurant and drive to Banfora (52 mi) to see the sugar cane fields along the road. Upon arrival, check-in at Hotel Canne à Sucre. Afternoon visit Tengrela Lake with possibility to see the hippos. Return to Banfora for dinner and Overnight. (B,L,D)
Monday, Feb 10
Banfora - Gaoua
After breakfast, drive to Gaoua (123 mi), via the ruins of Loropeni, which are classified as world heritage by UNESCO in 2009. In Obiré you may be lucky to meet the 29th Gan King of the dynasty with his 20 wives. (It is forbidden to shake his hand) Here you will learn about the Gan people’s tradition and believes. Visit their museum where you can see the representation of the 28 former kings and learn Continue to Gaoua. Upon arrival check-in at Hotel Hala and lunch. In the afternoon tour of Gaoua to visit the women’s cooperative and the local traditional museum. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Hala. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, Feb 11
Gaoua - Ouagadoufou
Today drive to Ouagadougou (123 mi). En route visit of some Mossi villages and the sacred crocodiles of Sabou. We can buy some chickens in the village to feed the crocodiles. Continue to Ouagadougou and visit the capital’s National Museum and the artisans’ village. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Feb 12
Ouagadougou – Tiebele - Ouagadougou
After breakfast, lave on an excursion to Tiebele (221 mi) to see the unique painted houses, a few of the local sacred places and the amazing decoration and type of buildings. You will have a chance to enter one of the houses to see the inside then continue to walk through the market. Picnic lunch and return to Ouagadougou for dinner and overnight.(B,L,D)
Thursday, Feb 13
Ouagadougou – Manega - Ouagadougou – USA
Today an excursion to Manega (68 mi) to visit the famous cultural museum, in which you will have a full understanding of the local cultures while browsing the lovely displays and you will learn about the funeral celebration. Return to Ouagadougou in time for lunch at Zaka Restaurant. Afternoon at leisure. Farewell dinner in a local restaurant before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to USA (B,L,D)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed