Mali

Mali

Etymology

Inherits its name from the Mali Empire, in turn from Mandinka or Bambara mali ‎(“hippopotamus”). [wiktionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Mali Mali Beach Bar – Mali mali beach bar is on the famous pantai cenang beach. Relaxing place to have beer and cocktails. [facebook]

Networking Bamako – Would you like to meet people and make friends in Bamako? Suggest a meetup. [expat]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Afro Romance – Are you getting tired to the types of singles you are meeting throughout Mali? Want to line up a meeting with someone you know you’ll like? Browse the profiles available at AfroRomance today. Every day singles from all across the globe are connecting with one another. At AfroRomance you can find the love of your life with our easy to use interface. [afro romance]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Continent Tours – Our operations staff has extensive experience in all aspects of tourism including tour guides, tour managers, travel agents, hotel professionals, governmental tourism policy making, in addition to in depth knowledge of the local culture, languages and traditions. [continent tours]

Saga Tours – Every tour is private, scheduled on dates of your choice; there are no fixed-date group departures. [saga tours]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Bamako – The capital city of Mali is Bamako which is alive with music and bustling markets and is the starting point for many travelers. Check out the museums including the Musée de Bamako, Musée National and Musée Muso Kunda, the museum devoted to the women of Mali. [pure travel]

Djenne – The city of Djenne is a world heritage listed site, which sits on an island in the Bani River and is home to a magnificent mosque which is the largest mud-built structure in the world. Check out the bustling Monday market, the elegant Grande Mosque and the old Sacred Well of Nana Wangara. [pure travel]

Dogon Country – One of Mali’s most visited areas and also one of the most stunning in the country. The area is inhabited by about 350,000 Dogon people and you will witness traditional crafts and ways of life here. [pure travel]

Mopti – A lively port with plenty going on, Mopti is often the starting point for trips into Dogon Country and visitors should explore the market of Marché Souguni and the Misire Mosque. [pure travel]

Niger River – Take a relaxing journey along the great Niger River and soak up the sights and sounds as you pass by the Sahara area. [pure travel]

Segou – Set along a river, Segou has a relaxed and chilled-out air about it and is a great place to absorb some of the local traditional sights and customs. [pure travel]

Timbuktu – Whilst here you should visit the legendary city of Timbuktu, also known as Tombouctou, which, when you were a child, you might have associated with being at the end of the world. See ancient manuscripts at the Centre de Recherches Historiques Ahmed Baba, visit the three oldest mosques in the country here and visit the Ethnological Museum. [pure travel]

Festivals

Festivals

Daoula-Ba Festival – The word ba means “big” in English, and this festival held in the village of Sôh every March certainly lives up to its name. Organic cotton, Sôh’s largest export is front and center with many of Mali’s most important dignitaries getting guided tours of the village’s organic cotton looms while costumed theater performances entertain the children. The festival’s highlight, however, may be the women’s colorful drum circle dances. [iexplore]

Desert Festival – This lively February music event’s location may have moved from Essakane to Timbuktu, but the likes of Robert Plant and Justin Adams still perform alongside some of Mali’s most talented Tuareg musicians. The Desert Festival evolved from a traditional Tuareg gathering filled with lively discussions and fun to an international event of peace. To this day, festival attendees celebrate the 1996 Flame of Peace ceremony when over 3,000 firearms were burned in Timbuktu. Unlike many other music festivals, the stage is surrounded by nothing but desert and the audience remains still and quiet. The more lively parties begin at nearby discos during the wee hours of the night. [iexplore]

Diamwari Festival – The Diamwari Festival has been one of Mopti’s main events ever since it was held for the first time along the Bani River’s banks. A weekend of “happiness,” as the word translates in English, takes place for three days toward the end of February. The festival features gigantic puppets from Djenné, Dogon masks and at least four different dance troupes. Visitors can purchase unique crafts from Mali’s talented artisans. The winners of the festival’s pirogue race receives money and victory flags called jonjon. [iexplore]

Dogon Mask Festival – This April festival is among Mali’s most famous gatherings. The masks the men wear during these five days represent Amma, the Dogon goddess of creation, and are believed to contain the souls of the dead and drive away evil spirits. Toward the end of the event, buffalo and hyena masks are believed to predict the tribe’s future. [iexplore]

Festival on the Niger – This Segou February festival is filled with music, dance, puppet shows, workshops, craft vendors, and pirogue boat races along the Niger River. No fewer than 15 of the Segou’s unique puppetry and dance styles are represented, which also attracts many of Mali’s famous musicians. Wood carvings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs from the country’s most talented artists are displayed in galleries around the region. Actors, musicians and puppeteers accompany centuries-old legends that Segovian storytellers share beneath the balanzan trees. [iexplore]

Gouin Festival – This three-day January festival takes place around the normally quiet region of Gouina between Kayes and Bafoulabé. Goumbé and jazz musicians perform among the monkeys and hippos that live in the region teeming with wildlife. The event also features five different Kayes dance groups, craft workshops and Senegal River walks past the waterfalls. [iexplore]

Plastering the Great Mosque – Each year, an imam announces the date between late April and early May when the entire population of Djenné gathers to apply fresh mud to the city’s historic Great Mosque. The mud is prepared in pits with young boys helping to stir it by playing in it. Women and girls bring water to the men as they carry and carefully apply the mud to the mosque. Afterwards, all of Djenné celebrates with a gigantic feast filled with dancing and drumming. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

By boat – It is possible to travel around Mali by boat, however this is very seasonal. The most common option, only really possible in the wet season, is a barge to/from Timbuktu. There are also very small boats, “pirogues” in French, which are available to be hired almost anywhere – they are essentially large canoes. [wikitravel]

By bus – The main cities along the paved road into the north are connected via bus (Bamako, Segou, San, Mopti, Gao). A separate paved loop runs through the south (Bamako, Bougouni, Sikasso, Koutiala, Segou) There are many different companies with different schedules but they all have more or less the same prices. Normally a ride to Mopti (600km, half the way up), endures approximately nine hours; a ride to Gao at least 12. [wikitravel]

By private car – A good option for a larger group or travellers who value comfort over economy is to rent a private car. A 4×4 is strongly recommended if you will be leaving the main highways (this includes the trip to Timbuktu). There are very few asphalt roads, and they are all single-carriageway outside towns, though most are in good condition. [wikitravel]

By taxi – In any larger city, taxis will be plentiful and are usually an easy way for the tourist to get where they are going without trying to figure out the local public transport system (if one even exists). Be prepared to bargain, as they will generally try to overcharge you – in Bamako XOF1000 should get you anywhere in the city during the day (or up to XOF1500 at night), while crossing the river will be XOF1500-2000. [wikitravel]

By taxi brousse – To get around one can take the “Taxi – Brousse”, the bush taxis. They are the main connection between towns which aren’t connected via bus. They are very slow and they sometimes break down or stop to help other broken down taxis. So sometimes the ride takes longer than expected. Unlike the buses, these rarely run on a set schedule, so you generally just need to show up at the station (in a larger town) or sit by the roadside (in smaller villages) and wait for the next to come along – locals may be able to give you some idea what to expect. [wikitravel]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Bamako Startup Founder 101 – Startup Founder 101 brings together aspiring and experienced tech entrepreneurs to discuss, meet, and collaborate to build great new startups, and to push the local startup ecosystem forward. In this group you can learn the best practices of starting a company from people who have been there and done that. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Your Expat Community in Mali – Salut! Welcome to InterNations Mali! While planning a move to Mali is an exciting endeavor, it can also be a time of anxiety for many, with concerns such as “how do I find a home in Timbuktu?”, “which school can I send my children to?”, or “what kind of permits and visas do I need in order to work in Bamako?” at the forefront of your mind. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Resources

Resources

Places in Mali

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