About Mali

MALI, with a population of 12,000,000, is the largest West African country, land locked by Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, and Mauritania. 65% of the land area is desert or semi desert and it has a subtropical to arid climate.

BAMAKO, the capital, is a major regional trade centre – manufacturing textiles, processed meat and metal goods. French is widely spoken throughout Mali along with local languages (in the Bambara language “Bamako” means crocodile and “Mali” means hippopotamus).

The National Museum of Mali, in Bamako, houses a superb collection of over 600 objects including 150 musical instruments, while the city centre market is a bustling, colorful event where one can find everything from shoes to spices, fabrics, jewelry, handmade musical instruments, beads and clothes.

What Mali offers, besides the intrigue of it’s capital, are cities like

IMG_0062_1.jpgDJENNE – the home of the largest mud/brick building in the world. This elegant mosque is a classic example of Mali’s extraordinary architecture. It also hosts the most colorful market event in West Africa every Monday where thousands of traders from all over the region gather to sell their wares.


CIMG5621.jpgMOPTI – the “Venice of Mali” is another wonderful city in central Mali where the River Niger and the Bani rivers meet. In addition to Mopti and Djenne,


IMG_0222.jpg SEGOU, also on the River Niger is known for beautiful textiles.



CIMG3389_1.jpgTIMBUKTU – the city at the end of the earth – is in northern Mali on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and was once an important centre of Islamic learning. The most remote music festival in the world is staged in the Sahara Desert in the city of ESSAKANE, Timbuktu each January. Being on the River Niger’s ‘great bend’ it is possible to travel there by pinasse – a large motorized boat – from Mopti when the river is high.


Mali 12_1.jpgDOGON COUNTRY is a remote area with a breathtaking landscape. The best way to visit the many different villages is on foot, trekking from one village to the next – stopping at the cliff dwellings along the Bandiagara Escapement. Although Mali is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world, it is among the richest when it comes to it’s vibrant culture.  Some of the best world music musicians have emerged from Mali.

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