Mali Journals

Delirious and Deranged in Dogon Country

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A January 2006 trip to Mali by HELEN001

The Gorge Photo, Mali, Africa More Photos
Quote: Dogon Country surrounds a 200km sandstone plateau east of Bamako and near the Burkino Faso border. Dogon settlers lived at the cliff base beneath the ruins of the Tellem. The Dogon are traditionally animist and believe that natural objects have living souls. The scenery is stunning and the villages are fascinating.

Delirious and Deranged in Dogon Country

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Overview

The Gorge Photo, Mali, Africa
Quote:
The rock paintings at Songha (or Songo), the stunning walk down from the plateau through the gorge between Dourou and Nombori, the beautifully geometric allotment gardens on the outskirts of the villages, and the vibrant Danses des Masques. Quick Tips: YOU MUST TAKE A GOOD, RELIABLE GUIDE WITH YOU. In Sanga, go to the Bureau des Guides, and in Bandiagara the Mission Culturelle to check out credentials. Take your time and do not walk between 11am and 3pm, as there is a risk of heatstroke. Be as adaptable as possible with your trek itinerary to allow for distractions and set the pace to the slowest person in the group. It is possible to route march along the cliff base (I know, because I did) i...Read More

Auberge Kansaye

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Hotel

Quote:
Well, I’ve stayed in worse places and survived. The incredibly genial staff and the owner are so laid-back, they’re horizontal, which, to be fair, does provide a convivial atmosphere in the bar. It also explains why they can’t rustle up a light bulb for the indescribably smelly "outside" shower or cook anything that doesn’t involve pasta. It’s not that the place is dirty, because it isn’t; it’s just all a bit shabby and nothing really works properly. The door locks don’t lock, the doors don’t shut, the shower doesn’t drain, and there’s some pretty dodgy electrical wiring in the place. The rooms are stuffy and hot and it’s far nicer under a net on the large roof area. Across the lane by the river is a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 27, 2006

Auberge Kansaye
Off Bankas Road
Bandiagara, Mali
244 29 04

Bandiagara Escarpment/Cliffs of Bandiagara

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Hotel | "The Dogon Escarpment"

Bandiagara Escarpment/Cliffs of Bandiagara Photo, Mopti, Mali
Quote:
Most excellent! However, let me just confess that I didn’t finish the hike because I got sunstroke, so take heed. Anyway, we set off from Dourou and were subject to some fairly aggressive but short-lived bursts of sales pitch. There were some stonking baobab trees along the path through a cultivated area. Across a vast, almost featureless rocky plain, to the head of a deep gorge cutting down into the escarpment (falaise). The steep sides of the gorge had been eroded into towering curved surfaces, and the narrow path down the gorge involved negotiating huge chunks of weathered and fallen rock. In contrast with the dusty natural vegetation associated with semi-arid areas were the trees and bushes in ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 27, 2006

Bandiagara Escarpment/Cliffs of Bandiagara
Dogon Area
Sevare, Mopti, Mali

Around Mopti - Dogon Country

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Attraction | "Danses des Masques"

Around Mopti - Dogon Country Photo, Mopti, Mali
Quote:
All the Dogon dances relate in some way to the creation stories of their belief system. Each dance tells a particular episode of the story, and each dance has a different number of dancers. The dancers always wear masks, and there are over 80 different styles of mask depending on what is being celebrated. Some dances take place on a daily basis, while others only happen after months or even years have passed between performances. There are seasonal dances, and dances for birth and death. There are three types of masks; animals (monkeys, rabbits, crocodiles), people (hunters, blacksmiths, thieves), and the Kanaga Mask, representing the creation story. A new Kanaga Mask is carved once every 60 years ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2006

Around Mopti - Dogon Country

Mopti, Mali

Rock Paintings of Songho (aka Songa)

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Story/Tip

View over Songho Photo, Mali, Africa
Quote:
This stunningly located plateau village is situated at the end of a 4km track that turns off to the right of the main road heading from Bandiagara towards Mopti. The two imposing rock formations that flank the village can be seen from some distance so the turn off should be easy to spot. Songho is famous for its rock paintings and more contemporaneously it is held up to be the way forward in the development of sustainable tourism in Dogon Country. Although predominantly a Muslim village, Songho is one of the traditional sites used for circumcision ceremonies. This custom continues today and every 3 years boys from around the area will live for a number of days on a ledge 100m up the cli...Read More