Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Festival on the Niger tour 2014

featuring Segou and the Festival on the Niger
plus Bamako, Djenne, Mopti, the Niger River and Dogon country

4 – 14 February 2014

11 days / 10 nights all-hotel accommodation

The tenth annual Festival on the Niger will be held in Segou, MALI, on 5 - 9 February 2014. This cultural celebration will feature traditional music and contemporary musicians, arts and crafts expositions (textiles, pottery, sculpture, jewelry), traditional dance troupes and puppet troupes, pirogue races on the river, and more !

NB: This is a private tour only, no group departures.

4 February 2014: 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 (hotel).

5 February 2014: Bamako - Segou (235 km; ~3hrs) / Festival on the Niger
Breakfast, and 9h00 AM departure from Bamako for Segou, Mali's second largest city and former colonial center, arriving around noon. Check into our Segou hotel, and enjoy the festival opening activities (masks, puppets, music, and more). Overnight in Segou (accommodations tbd).
with Breakfast

6, 7, 8 February 2014: Segou / Festival on the Niger
We begin three full days of Festival on the Niger activities: speakers, demonstrations, artisan expositions, films, story-tellers, puppets, as well as traditional and contemporary music and dance; featuring some well-known stars as well as new performers on the music scene for the nightly concerts. Overnight in Segou (accommodations tbd).
with Breakfast, three days

9 February 2014: Segou - Djenne (335 km; ~4½hrs)
Enjoy the final festival activities, then we will drive to Djenne, Timbuktu's ancient sister-city and one of Unesco's World Heritage sites. Overnight in Djenne/Sevare (hotel).
with Breakfast

10 February 2014: Djenne - Dogon country (230 km; ~3½hrs)
Visit Djenne on its colorful weekly market day, when villagers from miles away come to buy and sell. 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 taking in the sights and sounds of 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 on our way out of town, as we drive to Mali's fascinating Dogon country. Overnight in Sangha (accommodations tbd).
with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

11 February 2014: Dogon country
Today we begin exploring 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 begin with a visit of Sangha, comprised of 10 distinct Dogon villages, some animist, some Islamic; see beautiful examples of traditional Dogon architecture and contemporary fetishes. We will descend the Bandiagara escarpment to visit Dogon cliff villages Banani, Ireli, Amani (see the sanctuary of sacred crocodiles, totem animal of the Dogon people), and Tireli, where we may (optionally) witness a traditional Dogon mask dance, which is part of the Dogon people's funerary rites. We return to Sangha for overnight (accommodations tbd).
with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

12 February 2014: Dogon country - Mopti (120 km; ~2hrs) / Niger River
Today we will visit Songo village, renowned for its circumcision grotto with rock paintings; circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years for all Dogon boys aged 9-14 years old; the rock paintings are historical representations of noble Dogon families.
Then we proceed to Mopti, the melting pot of Mali. On our city tour of Mopti we visit see the 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. Take this opportunity to 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 sunset sail on the Niger River by private river boat. Overnight in Mopti/Sevare (hotel tbd).
with Breakfast

13 February 2014: Mopti - Bamako (640 km; ~8hrs)
Today we will return to Bamako; this is a long but scenic drive across the heartland of Mali. Overnight in Bamako (hotel).
with Breakfast

14 February 2014: Bamako - final departure
And today we visit Bamako: we begin with an over-view of this sprawling city from Point G, with a visit of the ancient grottos and rock paintings. Then on to the National Museum (see, 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. In the afternoon we will also visit the city market, the artisans' village, and the fetish market for traditional medicine. And in the evening, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
with Breakfast

tbd = to be determined

1 km ~ 0.6 mile; driving times are approximate, depending on local conditions and stops

NB: private departures only, this is not a group tour.

Tour package includes:

Tour package does not include: international flights to/from Bamako; Mali visas; non-specified meals, drinks/bottled water; optional Dogon mask dance; tips and personal expenses.

Optional traditional Dogon mask dance in a village — upon request

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

Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions.

The Festival on the Niger in Segou, Mali— a unique cultural celebration of West African music, dance, theater, arts and crafts !