Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Massina Tour – 13 days
Mali and Burkina Faso

An enchanting glimpse into the heart of West Africa

12 nights hotel; no camping

Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Friday and ending on a Wednesday in Bamako, MALI; 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.

Day 1 Friday: 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).

Day 2 Saturday: Bamako - Segou (235 km; ~3hrs)
Welcome to West Africa ! Begin your personal discovery journey through Mali. Have breakfast, then depart at 9h00 AM: we will drive to and visit Segou, Mali's former colonial capital, with its interesting mix of traditional and colonial architecture. After lunch, we will visit the market and the Kasobane boutique with its high-end traditional and contemporary textile art; we will stop by the Nieleni cooperative, which makes hand-woven high-quality wool rugs; then visit another women's cooperative that makes traditional millet beer. We end the day with stroll through the traditional pottery market on the waterfront. Overnight in Segou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 3 Sunday: Segou - Mopti (405 km; ~5hrs) / Niger River
Breakfast, then 8h00 AM departure and onward drive through the heartland to Mopti, the "melting pot" of Mali, located between the Bani and the Niger rivers. Afternoon city tour of Mopti—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. Shop for gold or silver jewelry, hand-made cotton or wool blankets, or some of Mali's beautiful wood carvings (masks, statues, etc.). In late afternoon, we will enjoy a tranquil sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional pirogue (river boat). Overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 4 Monday: Mopti - Djenne (130 km; ~1½hr) - Mopti
9h00 AM we depart on our excursion to Djenne, to experience the large weekly market, when Djenne is at its colorful best. 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 return to Mopti for overnight (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 5 Tuesday: Mopti - Dogon country (120 km; ~52hrs)
Onward 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 visit Songo village, renowned for its rock paintings and circumcision grotto. Traditional circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years; the rock paintings are historical representations of noble Dogon families.
Then we continue to Sangha and enjoy a walking tour of this large agglomeration of 10 distinct Dogon villages–some animist, some Islamic; we will see some beautiful examples of the unique Dogon architecture and fetishes. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 6 Wednesday: Dogon country
7h00 AM breakfast, then we descend the escarpment, and visit several of the cliff villages: Banani (note the ancient Tellem cave dwellings in the cliff face), Ireli, Amani (visit the sanctuary of sacred crocodiles, totem animal of the Dogon people); and Tireli village, where we may (optionally) witness a fascinating traditional Dogon mask dance—this is an authentic reproduction of a traditional funerary rite, where the masks ask the spirit of the deceased person to depart the village, and rejoin the ancestors. We return to Sangha for overnight (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 7 Thursday: Dogon country - Ouahigouya, BURKINA FASO (150 km; ~4hrs)
This morning we will visit Madougou village on the Senou plain, then depart Dogon country and Mali, driving through picturesque villages and cross into Burkina Faso; arrive in Ouahigouya. Overnight in Ouahigouya (Hotel Amitie, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 8 Friday: Ouahigouya - Ouagadougou (180 km; ~2½hrs)
City tour of Ouahigouya, capital of the old Yatenga kingdom; we will visit the historic Yatenga Naba's compound (Naba = "King") and Naba Kango's tomb—Naba Kango was one of the most fearsome of the Mossi rulers; he died violently in 1787. In the afternoon, we will drive to Ouagadougou for overnight (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 9 Saturday: Ouagadougou
Today we have a full day to explore Ouagadougou, capital city of Burkina Faso: we will we will visit the National Museum, with its interesting collection of regional clothing, masks, household utensils and ancestral statues. Then on to the Moro Naba's palace and the Grand Market; we will also visit the Music Museum if it is reopened (currently under renovation), and the crafts markets at the Artisans' Center, where we will find talented artisans making basketry, batik fabrics, wooden statues and masks, jewelry, leatherwork and bronze castings.
In the afternoon we take an excursion to the Parc Urbaiin Bangr-Weoogo—with its crocodile lagoons, a mini-zoo, and well-tended gardens, it makes a nice respite from the city; overnight in Ouagadougou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 10 Sunday: Ouagadougou - Deux Bales National Parc - Bobo Dioulasso (355 km; ~5½hrs)
Today we depart Ouagadougou and drive southwest towards Bobo Dioulasso. En-route, we will visit Sabou village with its 'tame' totem crocodiles, and Deux Bales National Parc in the hopes of spotting elephants. Deux Bale park is the smallest of Burkina's national reserves, and it boasts three large herds of elephants that roam the 81,000 hectares and are regular visitors of the creeks and shallows of the Mohoun river. In the late afternoon, we resume the drive to Bobo Dioulasso for overnight (Hotel Auberge, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 11 Monday: Bobo Dioulasso - Sikasso (Mali) (170 km; ~3hrs)
City tour of Bobo Dioulasso, the "house of the Bobo merchants" in the local language; this is Burkina Faso's second largest city. We will visit old mosque, the Houet Museum, and the old Kibidwe artisans' district where we will see traditional blacksmiths, potters, and dyers at work. In the afternoon we depart Bobo Dioulasso, cross the Mali border, and continue to Sikasso for overnight (Hotel Kaaky, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 12 Tuesday: Sikasso - Bamako (375 km; ~5hrs)
Today we visit historic Sikasso, former capital of the Kenedougou empire, in the heart of Senoufo country, and Mali's green belt. We will visit the Mamelon, residence of the former kings of Sikasso; and the Tata, remnants of a large palisade that encircled the city and for a time held off the French colonial army. After lunch, we will drive to Bamako for overnight (Grand Hotel, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 13 Wednesday: Bamako - final departure
And today we visit Bamako: over-view of this sprawling city from Point G, with a visit of the ancient grotto 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 visit the city market, the artisans' village, and the fetish market for traditional medicine. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
with 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:

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

Optional traditional Dogon mask dance in a village — upon request

Hotel upgrade is available in Bamako and Ouagadougou; contact us for prices.

NB: Posted itineraries are subject to change, and quoted prices are accordingly subject to change; itineraries and prices are locked-in when a tour is booked.

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

Before reserving, please see our Terms and Conditions.