In order to understand the fascinating Malian culture and its colourful mosaic of traditions and peoples, it is necessary to go back to its deepest roots, which originate in the green hills of the Pays Manding, a land steeped in history and ancestral spirituality. But also by immersing oneself in the chaotic contemporaneity of Bamako, with its cultural ferment, its contradictions and its ‘imaginative’ urban decadence. Two sides of the same coin.
A journey into the Malian ancestral culture, between divinations with the throwing of cauris, propitiatory dances of the valiant Bambara hunters and ancient legends sung by the griots. Historical places where Soundjata Keita and General Kamandjan Camara, in the Middle Ages, pronounced the first human rights charter in Africa and performed their heroic deeds, among sacred caves and miraculous rock arches. Enchanting landscapes and waterfalls hidden among the cracks in the rock, valleys of mangoes and wild plants with therapeutic powers, small mud villages where the inhabitants are said to still possess the occult power to transform themselves into lions.
But also a trip to Bamako, with its incredible cultural attractions, from the Musée National, which houses priceless artefacts from the Djene-Jeno site and votive statuettes from the Tellem era, to the bustling Grande Marché, where you can lose yourself for hours; from the picturesque fetish market, amidst bones, animal skins and lucky charms of all kinds (gris-gris), to the recycling market, amidst an acoustic horror vacui, which brings recycled metals back to life; or the meeting with the marionette player/artist Yaya Coulibaly, who guards the largest collection of marionettes in Mali and passes on this ancient theatrical, sculptural and therapeutic art around the world.
In addition, on this special departure, we will attend the Dogon Ogobagna Festival, where we will see traditional wrestling and mask dances, and the Festival on the Niger in Ségou, with live concerts, vernissages and pirogue races.
Day 1 : Thursday 23 January 2025
Outward flight Bamako (BKO)
Day 2 : Friday 24 January 2025
Bamako (Dogon Festival)
The treasures of the national museum, a pinasse excursion on the waters of the Niger River and the Ogobagna Festival events.
Day 3 : Saturday 25 January 2025
Bamako (Dogon Festival)
The lively markets of the capital, an encounter with puppeteer Yaya Coulibaly and the Dogon mask dance at the Ogobagna Festival.
Day 4 : Sunday 26 January 2025
In the heart of the Pays Mandingue, among Donso hunters, traditional healers, masks and divination with the cauris.
Day 5 : Monday 27 January 2025
The magnificent natural arch of Kamandjan, the village of Djoulafoundo and the Djendjé waterfalls.
Day 6 : Tuesday 28 January 2025
The traditional gold mines of Dabali and the sacred house of Kangaba.
Day 7 : Wednesday 29 January 2025
An encounter with griot storytellers and the giant baobab trees of Kela village.
Day 8 : Thursday 30 January 2025
Bamako/Ségou (Festival sur le Niger)
The Bambara villages and the events of the Festival sur le Niger.
Day 9 : Friday 31 January 2025
Ségou (Festival sur le Niger)
The art of bogolan, canoe races and concerts of the Festival sur le Niger in Ségou.
Day 10 : Saturday 01 February 2025
The royal palace of Biton Coulibaly in Sekoro and the firing of pottery in Kalabougou.
Day 11 : Sunday 02 February 2025
Bamako (BKO)/Return Flight