Saga Tours of Mali — West Africa Adventure Travel
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Wasulu Tour – 15 days
Senegal · Mali · Burkina Faso · Ghana

The bright stars of West Africa

14 nights hotel; no camping

Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice, beginning on a Tuesday in Dakar, SENEGAL and ending on a Tuesday 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.

Option: add Timbuktu to this tour; this adds three supplemental days (see bottom of page).
Please specify if you want to add Timbuktu.

Day 1 Tuesday: Arrival in Dakar, SENEGAL
International flight arrives in Dakar in the evening; our staff will meet you in the Arrivals hall of Dakar airport, and provide your hotel transfer; overnight in Dakar (Hotel Farid, or similar).

Day 2 Wednesday: Dakar/Goree Island - Saint Louis (265 km; ~3½hrs)
We start our West African journey with a city tour of Dakar, including the colorful Kermel market and the historic IFAN Museum. Then we will board the ferry (chaloupe) for Goree Island, an old slavery depot for some 300 years. We will visit the notorious House of Slaves and the Historical Museum.
After lunch, we return by ferry and drive to historic Saint Louis, the first French settlement in Africa, founded in 1659, and by 1895 the capital of the French colonial empire. Overnight in Saint Louis (Hotel Cap St. Louis, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 3 Thursday: Saint Louis / Parc Djoudj (60 km; ~½hr)
This morning we start with an excursion to the Parc Djoudj national bird sanctuary, another of Unesco's World Heritage sites, and one of the world's richest in bird species—around 3 million birds pass through the parc annually, and some 350 species have been recorded. We will enjoy a pirogue ride to better view the many types of cormorants, pelicans, ducks, flamingos, various songbirds and more; we may also see crocodiles, boas and wild boars.
In the afternoon, we return to Saint Louis and visit the old colonial city. Overnight in Saint Louis (Hotel Cap St. Louis, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 4 Friday: Saint Louis - Dakar (265 km; ~3½hrs)
We depart Saint Louis and drive to Thies, Senegal's third largest city, where we will visit the renowned tapestry cooperative. All weaving is done on hand looms, and each weaver completes about 1 sq.meter per month; only eight tapestries are made of each design. One of the Thies tapestries is on display in Buckingham Palace, and most are similarly offered as gifts from the government to foreign dignitaries. Onward to Dakar, with the remainder of day at leisure; overnight in Dakar (Hotel Farid, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 5 Saturday: Dakar - Bamako (by air) - Segou (235 km; ~3hrs)
Early breakfast and transfer to the airport for 08h00 AM flight to Bamako. Meet your guide at Bamako airport, and begin your visit of Mali with Mali's 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 make a brief stop at the artisans' village, then drive to Segou, Mali's former colonial capital. Overnight in Segou (Hotel Independance, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 6 Sunday: Segou - Mopti (405 km; ~5hrs)
Morning tour of Segou, Mali's second city; see the interesting mix of colonial and traditional architecture. We will visit the Kasobane boutique with its high-end traditional and contemporary textile art; we will visit the Nieleni cooperative, which makes hand-woven high-quality wool rugs; and we will end our visit with stroll through the traditional pottery market on the waterfront. In the afternoon we will drive to Mopti for overnight (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 7 Monday: Mopti - Djenne (one-way 130km; ~1½hr) - Mopti
Today we take a day-trip to Djenne on its weekly market day, 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.
We will explore the market, and then stroll the ancient alleys and narrow streets; note 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 in time to enjoy a relaxing sunset sail on the Niger River in a traditional pirogue (river boat). Overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 8 Tuesday: Mopti - Dogon country (120 km; ~2hrs)
Onward 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 magnificent villages along the Bandiagara cliff, and see many examples of the unique traditional architecture and contemporary fetishes; the exact villages to be visited will depend on your walking/climbing preferences. Optionally, we can witness a traditional Dogon mask dance, an authentic representation of one of the Dogon people's mourning rituals. Overnight in Sangha (Hotel Campement Guina, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 9 Wednesday: Dogon country - Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO (330 km; ~6hrs)
Depart Dogon country, driving through picturesque rural villages and cross into Burkina Faso. We will visit Ouahigouya, capital of the old Yatenga kingdom, including the historic Yatenga Naba's compound (Naba = "King") and Naba Kango's tomb—Naba Kango was one of the most fearsom 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 10 Thursday: Ouagadougou
Today we have a full day to explore Ouagadougou, capital city of Burkina Faso: we will visit the Moro Naba's palace and the Grand Market; we will visit the National Museum, with its interesting collection of regional clothing, masks, household utensils and ancestral statues. 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.
If we finish all these visit, 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 11 Friday: Ouagadougou - Tiebele - Tamale, GHANA (495 km; ~6½hrs)
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).
with Breakfast

Day 12 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).
with Breakfast

Day 13 Sunday: Kumasi - Kakum - Elmina (240 km; ~3½hrs)
Today we drive to Kakum National Park, a rainforest preserve inhabited by some 100 different species of mammals, including forest elephants and giant forest hogs, as well as many types of antilopes, monkeys and birds. The main attraction at Kakum is the 350 meter long canopy walk, varying between 28-40 meters high—this is not recommended for the acrophobic! After the park if time permits, we can visit Monkey Forest animal sanctuary. Then we continue to Elmina for overnight (Elmina Beach Resort, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 14 Monday: Elmina - Cape Coast - Accra (165 km; ~2½hrs)
In Elmina, we begin with 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).
with Breakfast

Day 15 Tuesday: 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, transfer to the airport for your final departure.
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.

Please note: during the rainy season (July/Aug/Sep) the visit to Parc Djoudj in Senegal is replaced by the Langue de Barbarie bird sanctuary, as Parc Djoudj is closed.

Tour package includes:

Tour package does not include: international flights to Dakar, SENEGAL and onward from Accra, GHANA; tourism visas (Senegal, 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.

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; airfare is subject to change until tickets are purchased.

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

Optional Timbuktu extension :

Day 8 Tuesday: Mopti - Timbuktu (550 km; ~6hrs)
Interesting drive across the Sahel ecosystem, to the legendary city of Timbuktu, gateway to the Sahara Desert; overnight in Timbuktu (Hotel Hendrina Khan, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 9 Wednesday: Timbuktu - Sahara Desert
Visit the legendary and historical city of Timbuktu: see the ancient mosques and former universities, the museum and the Ahmed Baba Institute archives of ancient Islamic manuscripts, the explorers' houses, and the market which receives the azalaïs, the salt caravans from the desert—at one time salt was literally worth its weight in gold; in the afternoon, depart on your camel caravan into the desert to visit a Tuareg camp on the dunes; the Tuareg people are known as the Princes of the desert, or the Blue Men of the desert (for the blue tinge on their skin from their indigo-dyed clothing); return to Timbuktu for overnight (Hotel Hendrina Khan, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 10 Thursday: Timbuktu - Mopti (550 km; ~6hrs)
Return drive across the Sahel to Mopti; overnight in Mopti (Hotel Kanaga, or similar).
with Breakfast

Day 11 Friday: tour resumes where it was interrupted, Day 8 - Day 15 (becoming Day 11 - Day 18)

Supplemental services package:
  • 3 extra nights hotel, double occupancy; with breakfast
  • 3 extra days private ground transportation by air-conditioned vehicle with driver
  • excursion into the Sahara Desert by camel caravan to visit a Tuareg camp
  • all hotel taxes and local tourism taxes
  • all sightseeing, excursion, and entry fees as per tour program

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.