Mali – Lost Kingdoms of West Africa 7 days

Africa
|
7
days | 2 - 12 people in a group
tour description

nature, history, culture, sightseeing

We would like to invite you to an extraordinary expedition to Mali. During our trip we will visit the south and north of the country, where we will observe the exceptional ethnic and cultural mosaic of this part of Africa.

We will visit towns that used to be capitals of African kingdoms, as evidenced by numerous historic sites that have been preserved despite variable and often tragic history of Mali, and we will set off for a short cruise on the Niger River. The most important attraction of this expedition will be the encounter with people and their culture and traditions that progressively subside under the pressure of civilisation. This may be one of the last opportunities to meet the followers of traditional African religions and also unique handicraft products in old merchant towns such as Sègou or Bamako. You are welcome to take part in this exceptional journey to places off the beaten path. BTP Adventure

itinerary

Flights to Bamako usually take place in the afternoon and evening. After arrival, visa formalities. Transfer to the hotel and, after a short rest, an organisational meeting and dinner.

D.

After breakfast, we will set off for Sikasso. We will stop in the Koumantou village on the way. After arrival in Sikasso, we will visit historic sites that have been recently entered into the UNESCO World Heritage list. We plan a visit in the Senoufo cultural museum. We will visit the Mamelon hill and the mausoleum of king Tieba from the Kénédougou kingdom of 1866-1893. We will walk along the reminder of the town wall erected in the 19th century to protect the town from attacks by nomadic invaders from the desert. In the evening dinner in one of local restaurants.

B. L. D.

After breakfast, we will set off for the one-day visit to the area around Sikasso. To start with, we will go to villages of the Samogo and Senufo people near the small town of Louloni. We will see a traditional hunters’ dance in the Fakokouroukoro village. We will drive for lunch to Sikasso and then set off for the Zerblaba village inhabited by the Minianka people, where we will assist at a concert of traditional music from the south of Mali. In the evening, return for dinner and night rest to Sikasso.

B.L. D.

Early breakfast, and then we will set off for a whole-day journey to the town of Sègou. En route we will stop in Koutiala – the largest town in the region famous for its agriculture, in particular cotton farming. We will also see traditional granaries on our way. The next stop will be San where we will see a traditional mosque. We will visit the Terekoungo village belonging to the Bobo people. In the village, we will see the “fetish house” – a place inhabited by spirits that take care of the village and its inhabitants. We will have an opportunity to try traditional beer made from millet. Late in the evening, we will arrive to spend the night in Sègou.

B.L. D.

After breakfast, we will set off for the one-day visit Sègou and its surrounding area. To start with, we will visit the Sékoro village, a former capital of the Bambara kingdom, where we will see the grave of its founder, king Biton Mamary Coulibaly. We will visit one of the oldest mosques in the area, built by king Biton for his mother. Then we will go on a cruise by boats on the Niger River to the Bambara village in Kaiabougou. The village is famous for its pottery production. In the afternoon, return to Sègou where we will see colonial buildings and traditional houses made of mud bricks. This evening there will also be an opportunity to visit traditional craft workshops and buy some souvenirs. In the evening, return for dinner and night rest to Sègou.

B.L. D.

After breakfast, we will start our return journey to Bamako. After arrival, we will set off to visit the Mali capital. To start with, the Health Hill, then we will go to the heart of the city, which is the bazaar where we will meet traditional craftsmen, sculptors, weavers, jewellers and metalworkers, who display their products and present their skills. We will also visit the part of the bazaar which is dedicated to the sale of traditional African medicines. In the afternoon, we will see the largest mosque and historic buildings of the old part of the city. In the evening dinner in one of local restaurants.

B.L. D.

After breakfast, we will set off for the nearby mountains, to the Mandè village in the western part of Mali. In Mandè we will hear about the history of Soundiata Keita, a legendary king of the ancient Mali empire. West Mali was the place of origin of the various ethnic groups that create the extraordinary cultural mosaic of Mali, including Dogon, Bambara, Malinke, Kassonke, Minianka, Senufo and Bobo. We will visit the Siby village to see the Kamandjan rock arch and the Kamandjan cave. At the end of the trip, we will go to Nana-Kenieba to see the Dogon dance spectacle that will last for about 2 hours. In the evening, return to Bamako and transfer to the airport (most outbound flights from Bamako take place at night). B.

If the departure is on the next day, an additional dinner and overnight stay in Bamako (not included in the price)

B. L.

Practical information

  • the length of the tour : 7 days in Africa;
  • start of the trip: Bamako;
  • end of the trip: Bamako;
  • the highlights of this expedition: The principal attraction of the trip is the encounter with the inhabitants of the south-western part of Mali – the opportunity to learn about their culture, traditions and music. Moreover, we will see the unique architecture and buildings that remember the times of ancient kingdoms that once existed in West Africa.

The tour will be an expedition to one of the regions of the world least visited by tourists. The tour is oriented on sightseeing and cultural tourism. Because of the special nature of the visited places and of the expedition features, the travellers are required to be physically and mentally fit. You must prepare to long drives amidst the desolations of the Saharan wilderness, often at more than +30°C. No long hikes or activities that require strenuous physical effort are envisaged during the tour. The itinerary was designed to enable best possible viewing of the places away from mass tourism routes, while meeting basic safety standards and ensuring comfort to the travellers. Bear in mind that Mali is mostly inhabited by Muslims, which means the need to respect cultural differences and adhering to the appropriate dress code.

 

Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned end of the tour.
  • Before departure, you must obtain the tourist visa at one of your nearest embassies of Mali. You may buy the visa at the airport but if you choose this option please contact our office. To obtain a visa, you may use the services of visa agents.
  • You should take with you for the tour a photocopy of your passport (the photo page) and an additional ID document.

  • Take with you for the trip the yellow vaccination booklet with certified valid yellow fever vaccination – it is impossible to enter the Republic of Mali without this document and vaccination.
  • Vaccination against yellow fever, tetanus, diphtheria, viral hepatitis A and B, meningococci, typhus and meningitis is recommended.
  • Despite a low risk, it is worth preparing to malaria prevention (Malarone or Lariam).
  • There is a risk of dengue and tuberculosis at the places planned to be visited during the trip.
  • During our expedition, we will drink only bottled water. You should avoid ice in your beverages and eating raw or undercooked foods. Only private medical care exists in Mali, and this only in the capital.
  • Because of difficult travelling and accommodation conditions and particularities of the country, good general health and physical fitness are necessary. Furthermore, your patience will definitely be tested and you should prepare for hardships of long journeys, lassitude and discomfort.
  • Before departure, we recommend a consultation with a family physician and a tropical medicine specialist.
  • Please take with you a first aid kit and a sufficient supply of your regular (prescription) medicines, if any. Some useful contents of the first aid kit:
  • insect repellents – absolutely necessary
  • high sun protection cream (recommended SPF 50)
  • disinfectants, wound dressing materials
  • analgesics and antipyretics
  • antibiotics, as a precaution
  • anti-diarrhoeals, electrolytes and vitamins

The Republic of Mali is a country characterised by political instability and a major risk of an armed conflict. However, in the region that we plan to visit the actual terrorist threat or armed conflict risk is nowadays relatively low. We design our itineraries so as to avoid places that are potentially dangerous (northern and eastern parts of Mali).

Owing to the good relations we have with local contractors, we keep following the news to be aware of any potential threats and safety risks. We also recommend you to read the latest news on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries.

The legal tender in the Republic of Mali is the Central African CFA franc. Currency exchange is possible only in the capital – at the airport and in hotels. You cannot change money anywhere else. Using payment cards is impossible outside the capital. The best foreign exchange rate is for euros. US dollars or UK pounds are not generally exchangeable.

For current foreign exchange rates see www.xe.com or install xe.com on your phone.

The official languages in the Republic of Mali are French and Arabic. Several dozen local languages are also spoken. In the case of a group tour, the tour leader will speak English or French. For self-guided tours, you must speak French, while English-speaking travellers must hire a local guide with a command of English.

The Republic of Mali is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. The south-western part is inhabited mainly by Muslims, Christians and followers of traditional African religions. Women do not have to wear headscarves.

It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws. You will receive the relevant information from your local guide or the tour leader.

The tour dates are proposed in periods of the best possible weather conditions at the sites included in the itinerary. The best time for expeditions to the south-western part of the Republic of Mali is the period between October and December. Temperatures exceed +30°C during the day and +25°C at night. Occasional showers are possible. High density of dust particles is a major issue. Sandstorms may appear.

For detailed information see https://www.meteoblue.com/en.

Mobile network coverage is available in most towns and villages but absent in many areas, especially outside larger towns. Purchase of a local SIM-card is complicated and of little benefit. Before the trip, please enquire with your mobile network operator whether they have a contract signed with operators in Mali and what the prices of call and SMS roaming are. To avoid a nasty surprise, we recommend disabling mobile data usage.

  • Wi-Fi is available only in hotels in Bamako and Ségou and in a handful of restaurants.
  • Additionally, we recommend taking a capacious power bank, solar charger or car charger. In the course of car rides, it will be possible to charge electronic equipment only from vehicle power supplies.
  • Power sockets of type D, E and F. Voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz.

For climatic and cultural reasons, loose garments will be most appropriate: long trousers, long skirts, long-sleeved shirts, which can be easily washed and will quickly dry. The most comfortable footwear for the tour will be lightweight boots. Palladium brand boots are recommended. You may walk in open sandals but in towns as well as in savannas and desert regions this may be uncomfortable because of stones, thorny plants and sharp grasses. Hiking boots are not necessary. The following are worth taking:

  • sachet for documents and money
  • wet wipes for body cleaning and antibacterial gels
  • dry shampoo
  • polar fleece jacket or warmer blouse, especially useful at evening and night times
  • head cover and sunglasses – mandatory, the sun is no joke!
  • comfortable summer clothes, useful during practically the whole trip
  • light T-shirts/shirts
  • useful odds and ends: torch, Swiss Army knife, sewing kit (usually is not needed but is not heavy and does not take much place), chargers, mug (for special occasions); inflatable neck pillow, useful on the plane and during car rides; small wallet for the local currency; books to pass the time on flights and car rides

Price

Price depends on number of participants. Please refer to list below:


  • £ 4990  p/p  – group of 2
  • £ 3790  p/p  – group of 3
  • £ 3490  p/p  – group of 4
  • £ 3290  p/p  – group of 5
  • £ 2890 p/p  – group of 6
  • £ 2690  p/p  – group of 7
  • £ 2590  p/p  – group of 8
  • £ 2490 p/p  – group of 9 – 10
  • £ 2390 p/p  – group of 11 – 12
Price includes

During the expedition, we will travel by 4WD vehicles. Expected number of travellers in one vehicle: 3 + the driver. We will spend 7-9 hours travelling by car every day. The vehicles do not have air conditioning. Speed depends on the road surface conditions, terrain characteristics and number and length of stops.

We are not able to guarantee a uniform accommodation standard at each of the planned sites during the stay in the Republic of Mali. Our priorities are your comfort, appropriate location, character of the site as well as historical and cultural values. We always place emphasis on the support of local community when selecting the sites for our accommodation. In general, rooms will be assigned on the assumption of two people sharing a twin room (rooms with individual bathrooms). The surcharges for single rooms are quoted in the “Price” section.

Two overnight stays in 2- and 3-star hotels (African standard) are planned during the trip.

Meals according to the schedule B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner and mineral water.. Apart from the capital and larger towns, only very basic foods can be bought. For information about the local costs of living see https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/.

Services of a tour guide and  local guide throughout the tour

Admission tickets for the visited sites and national parks

The price includes the cost of tips and porters’ fees.

Trip preparation, visa mediation, the invitation necessary to obtain a visa

Price does not include

Costs of the main flight to and from Bamako.

Costs of flight tickets are not covered by the tour price. BTP Adventure does not directly arrange and buy tickets for international flights. However, we may suggest the best connections and airlines. For this purpose, contact us by e-mail or call us.

Visa costs and visa services.

Insurance is not covered by the tour price. Having valid insurance is a condition for taking part in the trip. We recommend taking out insurance that will be appropriate for the planned itinerary and for your individual state of health and needs. Please send us the proof of your insurance contract.

You can purchase insurance on your own on the website of Axa or any other insurance company: https://www.axa.co.uk/travel-insurance.

BTP Adventure may help you obtain adequate insurance cover. If you want our help, please contact us.

supplementary payment for the additional accommodation in Bamako In the case of a morning flight,

Surcharge for a single room: 270 £

Meals other than those listed in the final itinerary.

Personal expenses and souvenirs.

FINAL NOTES


We will keep updating the detailed information on the safety and final itinerary of the tour. Before you decide to submit the booking form, please learn about the current political and sanitary situation in Mali.

The trip to Mali can be extended by 2 days with the option of a trip to Timbuktu, if you are interested, please contact the office.

Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.

We can arrange a self-guided tour – if your are interested, please contact the office.

The planned expedition is an exclusive proposal prepared on the basis of our experience and knowledge of the local peculiarities and major sightseeing attractions of the south-western part of Mali.

With any questions please contact BTP ADVENTURE

 

dates & prices
04/12/2022 - 10/12/2022
15/01/2023 - 21/01/2023
12/02/2023 - 18/02/2023
03/03/2023 - 11/03/2023
15/10/2023 - 21/10/2023

2390 £ Per Person for 11-12 person group

The trip to Mali can be extended by 2 days with the option of a trip to Timbuktu, if you are interested, please contact the office.

It is possible to organize an individual trip without a pilot, please contact the office.

you can find price for the group in description
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