Known as the jewel in the crown of West Africa, Mali is one of the most culturally
rich and diverse countries in Africa. It is a nation of unusual interest and charm that is intimately linked to a great river, the Niger. It is also home to some of the continents greatest cultural sites; the legendary Timbuktu, the dramatic Bandiagara escarpment and the fascinating Dogon culture.
Mali also has a distinctive musical tradition that has achieved worldwide fame and each year the celebrated ‘Festival au Desert’ attracts world music fans to the small town of Essakane, on the
edge of the Sahara.
WHEN IN MALI WHY NOT…?
Visit a music club in Bamako Music from Mali is known around the world and many of West Africa’s finest musicians come from Mali. Check out one of the music clubs where you can boogie to those hypnotic rhythms.
Travel by boat along the Niger River The river is a hive of activity as it is the lifeline of Mali. Spend a few hours travelling by dugout pirogue or motorised pinnasse (large canoes) passing fishing villages, markets and the wildlife along the marshy shores.
Trek into the Dogon hinterland Spend time getting to know the Dogon by trekking through villages whose traditional way of life is fiercely protected by its people. Discover their distinctive architecture, ancient Telem cave dwellings and witness a spectacular Dogon mask dance (if taking place).
Attend the Festival of the Desert, Mali’s version of Glastonbury You can be sure that you won’t get caked in mud at the Festival of the Desert, a music fest attended by the great musicians from across West Africa as well some well-known Western musicians. Located at the settlement of Essakane, reached by 4WD across 100km of desert, you will camp alongside Tuareg nomads and their camels for this most atmospheric of festivals in January.