With a history damaged by political instability, it’s hardly surprising that Mali is missing from most people’s bucket list. But as peace slowly returns to this dusty land, tourist are trickling back to unearth the country ’s cultural treasures of which there are many. A land of faraway cities, interesting civilizations and architecture like nowhere else on Earth, Mali’s position as a cultural juggernaut is well founded & its tentative steps towards stability have opened up an avenue of discovery for intrepid travellers. Book your Mali holiday package with Journey Cart Holidays at an affordable price.
Meet your private guide, your vehicle and your driver in Bamako and enjoy the long but interesting drive through the heartland of Mali, all the way to Dogon country; there will be many photo opportunities along the way as you will travel through rural villages and towns. Overnight in Bandiagara.
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—unerary rites are an important part of the Dogon culture. You will visit Songo village, renowned for its circumcision grotto with rock paintings. Traditional circumcision ceremonies are held here every three years for all Dogon boys aged 9-14 years; the rock paintings are historical representations of noble Dogon families. Then onward to Sangha, comprised of 10 distinct animist and Islamic quarters. Later, take a walking tour of Sangha, where you will see many examples of the unique traditional architecture and contemporary fetishes; You will also visit Ogols and Bongo. Overnight in Sangha.
After breakfast, 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 you will (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.
On this our final day in Dogon country we will drive to the southern end of the escarpment to visit the villages Endy and Teli: observe the ancient Tellem grottos in the cliff face, which are now used as burial chambers. Then we go to Nando to see the interesting mud-castle mosque, and onward to Niongono, perched on the cliff like a medieval citadel (NB: climbing is required to visit Niongogo). In the late afternoon we return to Bandiagara for overnight.
Breakfast, then we return to Bamako; transfer to the airport for your onward flight.