Saga Tours - Travel to Mali and West Africa Bamako, Mali
West Africa
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rural village



Mopti mosque



Dogon ancestors' shrine



Dogon masks



decorated hut



Accra freedom arch



mask bwa



Fulani women



hunters



old slave fort



Danfina Tour

Mali · Burkina Faso · Ghana

Journey through the heart of West Africa, from the Sahel to the old Slave Coast on the Gulf of Guinea

10 days / 9 nights hotel, no camping
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Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Saturday in Bamako, MALI and ending on a Monday in Accra, GHANA; there are no fixed-date group departures.

Contact us for prices. Groups of any size are welcome. Be sure to specify the month/year of travel, and how many persons are in your party—prices are digressive, so a better value per person for a party of four than a party of two, etc.


ITINERARY

NB: Alternatively, Mali can be omitted; tour can start in Ouagadougou and end in Accra for a total of 6 days.

Day 1
Saturday
Arrival in Bamako, MALI
International flight arrives in Bamako in the evening; our staff will meet you in the Arrivals hall of Bamako airport, and provide your hotel transfer; overnight in Bamako.
Grand Hotel,
or similar
(no meals)
Day 2
Sunday
Bamako – Segou (235 km; ~3hrs)
Begin your West African journey with visit to Mali's National Museum (see www.mnm-mali.org), with its impressive collections of textiles from the 11th to the 20th century; ancient Bamanan, Dogon and Senoufo sculptures; terracotta objects from archeological sites; and contemporary African paintings and sculptures. We will also visit the city market and the artisans' village, then drive to Segou, Mali's former colonial capital.
We will visit Segou, with its interesting mix of traditional and colonial architecture; as time permits, we will visit the Kasobane boutique with its high-end traditional and contemporary textile art, and visit the Nieleni cooperative, which makes hand-woven high-quality wool rugs. We will end the day with stroll through the traditional pottery market on the waterfront. Overnight in Segou.
Hotel Independance, or similar Breakfast
Day 3
Monday
Segou – Djenne (335 km; ~4½hrs) – Mopti (130 km; ~1½hrs)
8h00 AM departure (or earlier) for our onward drive to Djenne, ancient sister-city of Timbuktu, to arrive in time to see the large and colorful weekly market. Djenne was one of the first commercial centers of the Sahel region: it was the meeting place of the nomads from the Sahara, the local farmers and cattle herders, and the fishermen from the inland delta of the Niger.
After exploring the market, we will stroll the ancient alleys and narrow streets, and see the oldest house in Djenne, dating from the XIIth century; also see the magnificent Great Mosque, the world's largest mud brick architecture, originally constructed in the XIIIth century, this is one of Unesco's World Heritage sites. We will visit the Djenne museum as we depart, and onward to Mopti for overnight.
Hotel Kanaga,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 4
Tuesday
Mopti / Niger River
Today we spend the day exploring Mopti, the "melting pot" of Mali, located between the Bani and the Niger rivers; we will see the Sudanese-style Komoguel mosque, the fishing port (see pirogues being made by hand), and the bustling market where many of Mali's ethnic groups come to trade: Bambara, Bobo, Bozo, Dogon, Fulani, Tuareg and Songhay—shop for gold or silver jewelry, hand-made cotton or wool blankets, or some of Mali's beautiful wood carvings (masks, statues, etc.). We end our day with a relaxing private sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional river boat. Overnight in Mopti.
Hotel Kanaga,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 5
Wednesday
Mopti – Dogon country (120 km; ~2hrs)
Today we proceed to to Mali's fascinating Dogon country. The Dogon tribe originated in the south of Mali, which they fled to preserve their animist religion from the spread of Islam. When they arrived at the Bandiagara cliffs, they found the Tellem people occupying grottos carved in the face of the cliff; they eventually displaced the Tellem people, and used the grottos to bury their dead—funerary rites are an important part of the Dogon culture.
We will explore Dogon country and the Bandiagara escarpment (another Unesco World Heritage site), and we will see many examples of the classic traditional Dogon architecture (small stone houses and circular granaries) and contemporary fetishism. We will visit Sangha, composed of 10 distinct Dogon villages, then descend the escarpment (on foot, if you wish) to visit Banani village, one of the most beautiful of the cliff villages. In the afternoon we will visit Songo village, site of a rocky grotto where circumcision ceremonies are held every three years; note the old and new rock paintings which represent noble Dogon families. Overnight in Bandiagara.
Hotel Falaise,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 6
Thursday
Dogon country – Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO (365 km; ~5hrs)
After breakfast we will depart Mali's Dogon country for Burkina Faso's capital city, Ouagadougou; check into our hotel, and have an afternoon city tour of Ouagadougou: we will visit the Grand Market and the National Museum, with its interesting collection of regional clothing, masks, household utensils and ancestral statues; also visit the crafts markets at the Artisans' Center, where we will find basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelry, leatherwork and bronze castings. We will also visit the Music Museum, if it has reopened after renovations. Overnight in Ouagadougou.
Hotel Independance,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 7
Friday
Ouagadougou – Tiebele – Tamale, GHANA (495 km; ~7hrs)
Today we depart Burkina Faso and francophone Africa, for anglophone Ghana; en-route we will visit Tiebele village, in Gourounsi country. We will visist the Royal Court of Tiebele, and see the interesting fortress-like houses of the Kassena people. The houses are of various shapes and sizes depending on the status of the occupants, and they are beautifully decorated with geometric patterns on the walls. They are constructed of mud and feature flat roofs for sleeping in the hot weather; the houses are painted by the women, with local red, blue, white and black pigments. We resume our journey to the Ghana border, and onward to Tamale for overnight.
Gariba Lodge,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 8
Saturday
Tamale – Kumasi (390 km; ~5hrs)
We will visit the large central market in Tamale to see the gonja cloth weavers at work, and browse through the fetish section to get a look at some 'interesting' items for sale. Then we continue our drive through the countryside to Kumasi, in Ashanti country, and Ghana's second largest city. We check into our hotel, then proceed to visit Kumasi: the National Cultural Center, the Manhyia Palace (home of the actual Asantahene), and the Kejetia market, the largest market in West Africa, an unforgettable melange of colors and sounds. Overnight in Kumasi.
Hotel Georgia,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 9
Sunday
Kumasi – Elmina / Cape Coast (225 km; ~3½hr) – Accra (150 km; ~2hrs)
Today we move on to coastal Ghana, with a drive to Elmina, to visit the fishing harbor and the original old town; we will have a walking tour of St. George's Castle, and a stroll to St. Jago Hill for a panoramic overview of historic Elmina. Then onward to Cape Coast, which was the first capital of Britain's Gold Coast colony. By the late 17th century, Cape Coast had grown from a small fishing village to one of the most important trading ports along the coast; and through the 18th century, the local economy was driven by its role as the heart of the transatlantic slave trade. We will visit the historic old town section, and the notorious Cape Coast Castle, former bastion of the Atlantic slave trade, with three large slave dungeons accessible only from the seaward side of the fort, and the Door of no Return. Cape Coast Castle is now a Unesco World Heritage site. At day's end we drive to Accra for overnight.
Novotel Accra,
or similar
Breakfast
Day 10
Monday
Accra / final departure
On this our final day, we have a city tour of Accra, including the National Museum, the Cultural Centre, and the Nkrumah Mausoleum. In the afternoon we have a walking tour of James Town with its colorful local markets and colonial-era shops. In the evening, you will transfer to the airport for final departure.
day-room Breakfast

1 km ~ 0.6 mile; distances are approximate
Driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions, stops, and border crossings


NB: Hotels subject to availability; see proposed hotels description.

The tour with these hotels is our default "Better" standard (3-4* hotels where available).
Upgrade to "Best" standard (4-5* hotels where available) is also possible.
NB: in rural areas there is little choice of accommodations, and we utilize the same "best available" hotels for all tour standards.


Tour package includes:

  • 9 nights hotel, double occupancy, with breakfast
  • day-room in Accra on the final day
  • private ground transportation by air-conditioned 4x4 vehicle, with driver and fuel
  • sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat
  • experienced English-speaking guide throughout
  • airport transfers upon arrival in Bamako and departure in Accra
  • all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
  • all site visit, excursion, and entry fees as per tour program

Tour package does not include: international flights to Bamako, MALI and onward from Accra, GHANA; tourism visas (Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana); lunches, dinners, drinks/bottled water; optional Dogon mask dance, tips and personal expenses.

Optional traditional Dogon mask dance in a village — upon request

Hotel upgrades in the capital cities are available upon request.



Please note: Saga Tours does not handle international air reservations and ticketing.


Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions


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