Mali travel info
SENEGAL-MALI, 20 days,
A wholly independent travel
heart of the wet season in 2002 (august)
mainly by collective taxi, bus, minibus, pick up, plane, train and
walking (in the Dogon area)
in cheap hotels, dormitories, at the bus station and on the streets
below my mosquito net
Western Africa is not cheap at all; if you think to survive with
a low budget like it could be in south Asia, change your destination!!
Take into account at least 30 euro/day. Most of the money go in
accomodations. In the Dogon area, getting a guide and renting a
car to Bandiagara will turn out quite expensive even if you share
with other four people.
baking of course!
sickness due to the food and the water is main threat. Then trusting
the people is always a risk, but you have to. On the train from
Kayes to Bamako most of the strangers I met got robbed.
the widening of my point of view that I got from this travel, trying
to learn some bambara (the local language), the landscapes, the
sunsets, men with the sewing machine in Mopti and the fried stuffs
sold by locals in the street
the anger and the fakeness of people, the impossibility of trusting
somebody, the hotness, the catastrophic status of the country, the
unbelivable prices of the shitty accomodations, the taxi drivers,
buying the train tickets... did I mention about the people?
you do need:
a mosquito net, insect repellent, trekking boots, medicines and
an endless patience or maybe just more money than I had (see the
JUNE 02: OK, summer is coming
I wanna travel. This would be my first travel after one year spent in one of the
wealthiest country in the world: Sweden. Now I wanna see the other side of the token: Africa.
What about crossing Senegal, up to Mali, and trying to reach the Dogon tribes? OK I like,
I'll do! But mainly I wanna meet people, speak with them, try to understand
something of what it means living here: in short try to widen my point of view. There's
only one way to get this: travelling with "african" public means of transport,
trucks, carriages, a wheelbarrow, whatever I can find.
AUGUST 02: punctured by a
bunch of needles for the vaccinations, bought my supercool mosquito-net and filled a jerry
car of insect-repellent, I was ready to leave. I don't think I could be able to describe
my impressions in the first hours of Africa: the colors, smells, sounds......it has been
too impressive, almost shocking. I had no doubt, the travel was worth even just for what I
saw, smelled, heard moving by public bus from the airport to Dakar.
days I left from Dakar to east crossing Senegal.
I slept in Tambacounda
and reached the Malian border at Diboli . Then I arrived in Kayes
to get the train to the capital Bamako.
My staying in Kayes (the hell), buying the ticket, getting that
train and travelling for 17 hours, definitely has been my hardest,
strongest and most impressive travel experience. Then, from
Bamako, I followed the Niger
river up to Mopti. I walked three days in the Dogon
underneath my mosquito-net on the muddy roofs. And then, the
way back to Bamako dropping by Djennè.
No way I would had passed through Kayes again, hence I got a flight
from Bamako to Dakar. But my money were over, so I lazed on the
resting my bones.
At the very end I was
enthusiastic of the travel, of the experience. I've seen a tough reality that
belongs to this world, and, hence, somehow is related to me.
But I cannot leave out to say
that I've been disappointed by the people, every time I trusted them, even in the small
small things, when there was nothing to earn. I've felt racism to me, hostility, anger or
simply a lack of hospitality. In 20 days I've not found a Malian or Senegalese
helpfull and nice person, maybe I've just been unlucky....... This is not a revenge, I'm
not encouraging you to skip this country, I never regretted this travel! On the opposite
it has been great, but what I was looking for, I mean the contact with the people, is what
I really missed despite my efforts.