JOURNEY ALONG THE NIGER RIVER IN MALI, WEST AFRICA

MONDO WORLD ADVENTURES: THE ROAD TO TIMBUKTU

**NO LONGER AVAILABLE DUE TO POLITICAL UNREST**

All of our trips are hand selected and devised to be wildly entertaining and exotic and hand tailored to satisfy our interesting and creative clients. These are small group adventures and made for healthy and adventurous travelers. There are few restrictions and travelers are free to go off on their own or stay with the group as they please. Clients will be briefed beforehand about the local etiquette, dangers and annoyances, and about how to get the best from the experience.
*****THIS IS LIMITED SMALL GROUP ADVENTURE, SEATS WILL GO FAST*****
The mud mosque at Djenne - largest mud structure in the world.

JOURNEY TO TIMBUKTU

This is probably the most challenging adventure we have offered so far. The road to Timbuktu takes us past lost cities, ancient wonderous architecture, and intriguing tribes as we wander along the southern edge of the great Sahara Desert. This is a true old school adventure as we journey up the Niger river on an old steamer and on smaller local boats, ride in dilapidated "cinq cents quatre" (Peugeot 504s), hike through the cliffs to visit the Dogon people, and take a camel into the Sahara where the Taureg - the famous "blue people of the desert" - live.

Be warned - this is a real adventure. Difficult conditions,unpredicable situations, and few comforts. The way travel used to be. We are talking long hikes to meet colorful tribes, small boats on rivers with big hippos, and no ATM's, no cell phones, and very rare internet access.

This trip is planned for the most comfortable time to travel in Mali, but Mali's "cool season" is still rather hot - usually is around 80 degrees or above in the daytime. It is a physically challenging journey and participants must be able to walk long distances and put up with less then comfortable travel conditions. That said - it will be so worth it.
Boatmen at small river crossing in Mali.

HIGHLIGHT INCLUDE:

BAMAKO - The colorful and noisy city of Bamako is a wonderful introduction to West Africa. Great nightlife, markets, and a friendly population. The Musee National is one of the best museums in West Africa. The Grand Marche is an intense and vibrant street market. The music scene in Bamako is also thrilling with frequent appearances by the biggest African stars playing in the small intimate venues.
SEGOU - Three hours east of Bamako is a faded colonial city lying alongside the Niger river. Nearby is the beautiful mud-built village of Ségou Koro.
DJENNÉ - A World Heritage site, Djenné, sits on an island in the Bani River.It is the largest mud-built structure in the world. A mosque that looks like a melting sand castle. It is also the backdrop to a lively and colourful market on Mondays that has barely changed since the days of the Saharan camel caravans.
MOPTI - Perhaps the liveliest and most interesting port in Mali. This is where we will board our boat to Timbuktu.
TIMBUKTU - Synonymous with inaccessibility, Timbuktu’s fame is derived from its strategic location on the southern edge of the Sahara and at the top of the ‘Niger bend’. This was once the remarkably wealthy terminus of the camel-caravan route that linked West Africa and the Mediterranean since medieval times. Litle remains of Timbuktu's fabulousness - mostly a sprawl of shabby, flat-roofed buildings slowly being engulfed by the Sahara sands. Why visit at all? Because it is there. And because it is a brilliant journey getting there and also a great way to really experience the Sahara desert (on camel back) and meet the Taureg (The Blue Men of the desert).
DOGON COUNTRY (PAYS DOGON) - Exploring the homeland of the fascinating Dogon people is another highlight of this trip. The hike through the landscape is stunning, and the Dogon tribe are renowned for their complex and elaborate culture. Unique art and architecture fill their villages and we will be treated as welcome guests once we arrive at their difficult to access villages.
Dogan Tribe chief.

ALTERNATE DESTINATION - THE FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT:

As an alternate destination, it is possible to do a similar journey as above, in early January, which will include "The Festival in the Desert" - a music festival held 50 km from Timbuktu. This festival attracts the best musicians from Mali and occassionally great international acts. Past years have included Robert Plant, Animal Collective and Ali Farke Toure along with many other African and international performers. The Festival Au Desert takes place on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of January 2011.

A review of last years show: http://www.afropop.org/multi/feature/ID/927

NOTE: This trip will not include any long river journeys as the Niger River is too shallow at this time of year for boat travel.
Travel in this part of the world is full of unpredictable events. This list comprises the most likely adventures we will encounter and is not a guarantee that all things will be available. Things will be added or removed due to the various exigencies of weather, time, local holidays, transport difficulties, etc. There may be an additional fee for some of these experiences. Accommodations will also vary depending on circumstances, but will mostly be 2-3 star comfortable lodging.
Children from the Taureg tribe in the Sahara Desert.

RESERVE YOUR PLACE NOW. THIS IS A VERY SMALL GROUP EXPERIENCE.