Introduction: Come and experience the most remote music fesitval in the world as well as witnessing some of the fantastic highlights that Mali has to offer. If you love world music then The Festival in the Desert near Timbuktu is the ultimate destination.
Day 1 Djenné
Day 11 Niger River
Day 12 Niger River
Day 14 Bamako
Djenné, Tour of Mopti, Dogon Hike, Bandiagara, Overland journey to Timbuktu, Tour of Timbuktu, Festival of the Desert, Niger River boat trip, Niafounké (birthplace of Ali Farka Toure), Lac Debo. Taureg Campement.
'Please note that there will be a pre-departure meeting at 6pm on the day before the trip starts giving you the chance to meet your fellow traveller's and discuss the itinerary in more depth with your guide. The itinerary is a guide only. Our primary focus is attending the Festival in the Desert.'
Day 1 : Djenné. We depart Bamako in the early morning on route for Djenné. Our drive takes us through the town of Segou where we will stop to take a look at some of the famous crafts produced here and then we will catch the ferry across the Bani River to enter Djenné town in the afternoon.
Day 2 : Bandiagara. Djenné is one of the most picturesque towns in West Africa and in the grand old days of the Trans Saharan salt and gold trade it rivaled Timbuktu in importance. Monday’s are always busy in Djenné as traders from all over the region converge on Djenné for the Monday market. We utilise the services of a local guide to get us closer to the action. After lunch we will make the short drive to Bandiagara which we use as a base to explore Dogon Country.
Day 6 – 7 : Tuareg Campement: After an early breakfast we will depart for Douentza. Here we will transfer into our 4x4 vehicles and start the rough drive to our Tuareg Campement for the night. Our hosts support a local school which we will visit and and we will also be treated to a night of traditional Tuareg entertainment as well as a fantastic specially prepared local meal. We will also visit the project set up here to assist in the development of the town and deliver some much needed supplies to the local school.
Day 8 – Festival of the Desert: We will arrive in Timbuktu in the morning after crossing the Niger River on the ferry. We will have a few hours to clean ourselves up, wander the streets of Timbuktu and maybe take in a delicious local meal. In the afternoon we will transfer to the site of the festival and set up our camp for the next few days.
Day 9 – Festival of the Desert: We have a free day to take in all the sights of the festival. You can spend some time haggling with local craftsmen. Or maybe take a short ride into the desert on a camel. But above all else you will be free to enjoy the music and cultural performances that abound throughout the day or wander into Timbuktu. The music goes late into the night so you can either grab a blanket and sit in the dunes and soak up the atmosphere or get up close and personal with the locals on the dance floor (sand).
Day 10 – Festival of the Desert: Today is our final day at the festival and the highlight will be the closing concert featuring the headline acts of the Festival. The day will be filled with a variety of cultural performances as well as the excitement provided during the camel racing.
Day 11-12 : Niger River Trip. After a leisurely breakfast we will meet the captain of our river boat that will take us on our 3 day river trip to Mali's largest port, Mopti. Today is spent lazing away on our river journey as we watch the world go by where little has changed for centuries. We stop and visit a few local villages where the Fulani herdsmen live peacefully alongside the Bozo fisherman. In the late afternoon our captain will find us a suitable bank to park our boat on and we will set up our bush camp and watch the sun setting over Africa’s third largest river.
Day 14 - Bamako: We will depart in the early morning for the long drive back to Bamako and the conclusion of this fantastic adventure in the heart of West Africa.