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Mali, Burkina Faso & Ghana with Timbuktu
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition.
Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the
trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of
our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full
advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1 Depart USADepart on your independent flight to Bamako, Mali.
Day 2 Bamako, MaliArrive in Bamako this evening and transfer to the Hotel Salam where we spend the next two nights.
Day 3 BamakoToday we tour the city of Bamako, a fascinating mix of French colonial buildings and colorful street markets that characterize much of West Africa. We visit the National Museum and enjoy lunch at a lovely restaurant on the Niger River, followed by a stop at the Artisans’ Market.
Day 4 Bamako / Timbuktu / MoptiThis morning we depart on our private aircraft to the most famous named place on the planet: Timbuktu. The ancient home of Islamic learning and a major stop on the gold and salt caravan route, we tour the city’s venerable mosques, Ethnological Museum, and the houses of the legendary explorers Rene Caille, Gordon Laing, and Henry Barth. We then make our way to the encircling sand dunes to visit a Tuareg encampment. Here, the legendary Blue Men of the desert treat us to a special performance, followed by a sumptuous traditional lunch. We return to the airport this afternoon for our private flight to Mopti and overnight at Hotel Kanaga, our home for four nights.
Day 5 Mopti / Djenné
Today we visit Djenné, which claims to be the oldest city in West Africa, and little appears to have changed over the centuries. The small adobe city is a labyrinth of alleys lined with mud houses adorned with thatched roofs, ornate window shutters, and doors decorated with paint and metal objects that give the town its unique, otherworldly charm. The centerpiece of the town is the justly famous red mud mosque, claimed to be the largest mud building in the world. This is an outstanding example of Sudanese architecture and provides a wonderful backdrop as we visit the weekly Monday market. Here we discover a wide variety of goods and have a chance to mingle with members of the many ethnic groups living along the Niger River Valley.
Day 6 Mopti / Dogon Country
Today visit the celebrated Dogon Country with its picturesque mud villages, caves, and cliffside dwellings. The scenery here has a breadth and scale rarely seen elsewhere, with sweeping escarpments, towering cliffs, and dark, brooding canyons. After a picnic lunch, we are entertained with a Dogon mask performance, where energetic dancers don elaborately-carved masks, some up to 10 feet in height.
Day 7 MoptiThis morning explore the canal-laced city of Mopti and visit the old Teikiri neighborhood, the Sougouni market, and the local craft market. This afternoon board local canoes for a sun-downer cruise along this bustling port that draws traders from across the shifting red sands of the Sahara.
Day 8 Mopti / Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso / Ouagadougou
The first leg of today’s private flight will be to Burkina Faso’s second largest city, Bobo Dioulasso. Here we visit the Dioulasoba Mosque, the market, and, after lunch, view Banfora’s spectacular landscape of domes gently shaped by wind erosion. Our second leg brings us to the capital city of Ouagadougou for an overnight at Hotel Laico Ouaga 2000.
Day 9 Ouagadougou / Tièbèlè
We continue our exploration of Burkina Faso, driving south to the village of Tièbèlè, home to the Gouruonsi people. Here, we visit the king’s family and several local homes and conclude our time in the village with a Nagla, or warrior, ceremony. Return to Ouagadougou in the early afternoon to peruse the handicraft village and overnight at Hotel Laico Ouaga 2000.
Day 10 Ouagadougou / Kumasi, GhanaThis morning our private flight takes us to Ghana. After check-in and lunch, we visit Kumasi’s Cultural Center and Museum and the Central Market, considered one of the largest open-air markets in western Africa. Overnight at the Golden Tulip Hotel.
Day 11 KumasiKnown as “The Garden City” because of its tropical climate and vegetation, Kumasi is the cultural cradle of Ghana and home of the Ashanti King. Today, we have the opportunity to participate in Akwasidee, a public ceremony to celebrate the culmination of the 42-day cycle of the Ashanti religious calendar, and witness the gathering of various Ashanti dignitaries in town for the celebration. After lunch we visit the handicraft villages of Ahwia and Ntonso. Overnight at the Golden Tulip Hotel.
Day 12 Kumasi / Elmina
This morning drive to Ghana’s coastal region with our first stop in Elmina. After lunch, we explore the haunting grounds of Elmina Castle. Built in 1482 by the Portuguese, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of the most important stops on the Atlantic slave trade route. We also get a taste of seaside culture as we walk through Elmina’s bustling market and along the harbor. Overnight at Elmina Beach Resort.