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Mali Travel guide

Mali, cercle (departement) de Douentza, les monts Hombori et la Main de Fatma Mali, Dogon Country. Dogon Cliff Villages Mali, Mopti, Pays Dogon - Tirelli, Dogon dance
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Mali : Michelin's recommendations

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A legendary and untamed land, Mali has captivated a good many famed explorers such as Scotland’s Mungo Park, who set out to find the source of the Niger River in the 18th century. He was followed several decades later by the French ethnologist René Caillé, who discovered Timbuktu, city of myriad mysteries. As the Niger, West Africa’s greatest river, flows through Mali, it keeps a close watch on certain of its secrets, such as the inner delta’s Lac Debo, which only reveals itself at the last moment.
Swept by Saharan winds, the sandy landscapes of the Niger Valley are a world apart from the verdant, rain-kissed lands of the south - home to an exceptional array of flora and fauna - and from those of the Land of the Dogons, whose villages cling to the heights of the Bandiagara cliffs.
Mali is a kaleidoscope of a country whose peoples bear names suggestive of legends and epics: Peul, Dogon, Bambara, Maure, Tuareg... You’ll come across them in markets, those ideal meeting points; or in the village of Diafarabé when cattle cross the river en route for greener pastures. Though this poor nation in the heart of the Sahel is subject to drought and bears the consequences of its delicate geopolitical situation, its inhabitants persevere with courage, as symbolized by Djenné, a breathtaking and fragile city of sand and clay that has endured the winds of time.
Warning: At the present, terrorist threats and an unstable political situation demand the utmost caution and tourism is currently discouraged.

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Mali : Must-see towns and regions

  • Bamako

    Noisy, lively, boisterous, Bamako is a veritable snapshot of Africa, with people of all the country's ethnic groups living side by side in harmony. Let yourself fall under the charm of its maze of low...

  • Bandiagara

    Bandiagara is the administrative and commercial centre of Dogon Country, with eight sectors governed by eight traditional chiefs. It is best known for the eponymous 135km-long cliff, which offers a st...

  • Mopti

    Mopti is cosmopolitan and lively. Its location at the confluence of the Niger and the Bani, and the only route that connects it to the plain have earned it the nickname of the "Venice of Mali". From t...

  • Djenné

    Exceptional, incomparable… you are unlikely to forget your visit to Djenné, the "Jewel of the Niger". The city of clay houses has conserved an architecture that is the only one of its kind in the worl...

  • Segou

    On the banks of the Niger, the ochre-red mudbrick houses of Ségou, former Bambara capital, are sure to charm visitors. Its neighbourhood with colonial houses, its gardens and its little streets lined ...

  • Sikasso

    Even if nothing remains of the immense 9km2 fortress - Tata or tarakoko - built by King Tieba in the 19C, cosmopolitan Sikasso remains the pride of Malians. The market, King Tiéba's palace at the top ...

  • Koutiala, cotton capital, is a dynamic urban hub located at the crossroads of the routes to Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. Numerous inhabitants of the borderlands come to the huge market here, and litt...

  • Kayes

    Formerly an important colonial city, Kayes today attracts visitors come to admire its fine houses, wander about its cattle market, where Fulani, Toucouleurs, Maures and Soninke mingle, and to explore ...

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