No trip to Mali is complete without immersing on the beautiful attraction that is the Niger River.
The Niger River route will take you through interesting villages such as the Dogon country. If that is not enough, there’s also the fact that the great river winds up to the Sahara Desert.
Location and How to Get There
A trip to the Niger River in Mali starts and ends to the center of the country’s tourism, which is Mopti. To get to the town, you have to take a bus from the capital city of Bamako. When you are already in Mopti, you can go buy tickets to a Niger River ferry, which will take you to several river journey options.
While cruising through the river, you can make several stops to choice destinations. You can go and see the Dogon villages, the fabled Timbuktu town, and the shopper’s hub Gao among others.
The Niger River is a sight to behold on its own. But while you are on the cruise, you better take advantage of other activities and sights that you can enjoy. There’s an exploration of Djenne, Timbuktu, the Sahara Desert, Gao, and the Dogon villages to be included in your itinerary.
You could go and see the ancient manuscripts and books that are kept at the Centre de Recherches Historiques Ahmed Baba museum in Timbuktu. You can also buy mudcloth, which Djenne is famous for. Check out Association des Femmes Artisans de Djenné for souvenirs.
There are also a couple of bars and restaurants that you could check out while cruising the Niger River. There’s Bobo Bar in Mopti, where bellaphone music is being played. There’s also Bellah Rotisserie in Gao, where local sausages are amazingly served. There’s also Amanar in Timbuktu, a popular bar among tourists because it offers a mellow atmosphere, very friendly waiters, and excellent soup recipes.
The Niger River was not completely called into its name until the 18th century, when the Mungo Park visited and traveled down the river in its entire course. That’s only when the Europeans identified the Niger River as not just the middle reaches but all of the 2,600 miles of the river.
Traveling through the Niger River does not cost much as you only have to pay for the ferry to get you across to see and experience the river for all that it’s worth. However, expect to spend a few hundred dollars for your hop on hop off trip to see other Mali destinations.