Africa Overland - A journal of travelers through Africa


 "AOL in the News!"


Africa Overland Home Page  
Vehicles and Equipment  
We want to thank all those who helped!  
Visit our Sponsors  
Places for you to visit  

Mali, Page 2
March 6 - 10, 2004

Preparation ] Europe ] Morocco Page 1 ] Morocco Page 1a ] Morocco Page 1b ] Morocco Page 2 ] Mauritania ] Mauritania Page 2 ] Mali ] [ Mali Page2 ] Niger ] Cameroon ] Gabon ] Gabon Page 2 ] Congo ] Congo Page 2 ] Angola ] Angola Page 2 ] Angola Page 3 ] Angola Page 4 ] Angola Page 5 ] Angola Page 6 ] Namibia ] Namibia Page 2 ] Namibia Page 3 ] Namibia Page 4 ] Namibia Page 5 ] Namibia Page 6 ] Namibia Page 7 ] Namibia Page 8 ] Namibia Page 9 ] Tanzania Page 1 ] Tanzania Page 1a ] Tanzania Page 2 ] Tanzania Page 3 ] South Africa Page 1 ] Botswana Page 1 ] Botswana Page 2 ] Botswana Page 3 ] Botswana Page 4 ] Botswana Page 5 ] Botswana Page 6 ] Botswana Page 7 ] July 22 ] July 25 ] July 29 ] August 03 ] August 09 ] August 16 ] August 24 ] September 5 ] September 11 ] September 12 ] September 21 ] September 25 ] September 29 ] October 03 ] October 09 ] October 15 ] October 19 ] November 04 ] November 13 ] November 20 ] November 29 ] December 9 ]

Country Facts: Mali Scroll Down the Page for updates made on: 12/21/2007
Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 270km


 Asian rice concoction a la Connie

Near Segou, Mali

06 March  2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 9962km

Windy & dusty 85(F) degrees

After a nice air-conditioned sleep, we went to the internet café, visited a supermarket, and headed out of town. We drove a bit past Segou and made camp.

The laborious task of keeping the website up to date

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 254km



 Lamb Potje

Near D'Jenne, Mali

 07 March 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 10212km

Less dusty, less windy, & hotter 98(F) degrees

Last night was still cool, and we were able to sleep very well. The morning was still hazy though. We packed up and headed for D’Jenne, a town popular with tourists and boasting the world’s largest mud brick structure (a mosque). We arrived at the turnoff for the town at about noon, and decided to postpone our visit until tomorrow so that we could enjoy “market day.” Each village of size has one or two days per week where people from the surrounding areas come to buy and sell goods. Driving through a town on market day is fascinating, with loads of people milling about and goods for sale. There are inevitably large numbers of donkey carts on the roads heading into or leaving town (depending on the time of day). We pulled off the road and found a baobab to camp under. Graham and Witt changed the oil in both cars, and Witt repaired a puncture from yesterday. A local guy wandered into camp as Graham was preparing dinner. We said hello, but he didn’t seem to want to talk. He stood and watched us for a few minutes then got bored and wandered off. We thought he had gone for good, but as we were finishing up we realized that he apparently found us so interesting that he went and got a friend to join him in watching us. We gave them a couple of cookies, and they stood about 10 feet from our camp for about an hour while we cleaned our dishes and stowed our gear. They didn’t speak any French so we were not able to communicate; In any case they didn’t seem interested in talking to us. We found the experience a bit unnerving, but ultimately they were probably just curious about our habits and our equipment. Chalk it up to a “cultural exchange.

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 158km


 Leftover chicken tikka masala

Near Mopti Mali

 08 March 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 10370km

Dusty & hot 95(F) degrees

This morning after breakfast we made the short drive to D’Jenne. The brand new bridge reported by Expedition Overland (whose website,, has been invaluable for advice) has washed out and they are back to using the ferry for the short water crossing. While in line for the ferry we were once again besieged by vendors selling stuff. One particularly interesting novelty was tiny cars, trucks, and planes made from bits of tin, plastic, and assorted discarded items. We hired a guide named Lassina Sininatao for 7000 CFA to show us around the town. Lassina is the English teacher in town, but he is working as a guide because the teachers in Mali haven’t been paid for three months. He is the brother of a local artisan famous for making “mud cloth” (a form of dying and decorating cotton) who has been filmed for a documentary and is named in our guide book. Needless to say we visited her shop on our tour. We were very impressed with Lassina and had a good day in D’Jenne. The market was extremely busy with all of the sights, sounds, and smells (not necessarily pleasant ones) you’d expect in such a market. We decided not to spend the night there, opting instead to get back on the road in hopes of reaching Niamey (where we need to get our Chad visas) before the weekend. Based on reports by Lonely Planet and other travelers, we’ve decided to give Timbuktu a miss, although it was with some regret that we passed by the turn off for that city this afternoon.

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 509km


 Witt’s Mexican quiche concoction

Gao, Mali

 09 March 2004

Camping Yugara


Odometer: 10879km

Dusty & hot 85(F) degrees

We headed east and a little north today toward Gao, the last town on the paved road through Mali. The landscape became drier and more Sahara-like as we neared the Niger River. We made the short ferry crossing and drove into the town in search of the campground recommended by Lonely Planet. Gao is like a town on the edge of nowhere, and really it is. Historically it was a trading post at the end of the trans-Sahara camel routes like Timbuktu. We are planning to take the dirt road east of here along the north bank of the Niger toward the country of Niger. We located the campground, but discovered that it has been taken over by the US military. There have been reports that they have been stationing troops in west African nations in hopes of securing otherwise loose borders and of preventing Al Quieda from establishing training camps and bases in the desert in the northern parts of Mali and Mauritania. We haven’t decided if their presence is a good thing or not. In any case, we have received no hostility whatsoever as a result of our being American. In most cases the reaction is simple surprise, since very few Americans venture into these areas, especially with their own vehicles. We located an alternate campground and settled in for the evening. Jen noticed a lady braiding a girl’s hair and went to watch the procedure. Jen decided to have her hair braided and we had a great time watching the lady and about 3-5 young girls work on Jen’s hair for about thirty minutes. Connie took video of this, which should be available the next time we have a good enough internet connection.

Jen at the beauty salon


Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 267km


 Tuna salad sandwiches with fresh papaya for lunch, Connie’s refried bean and mushroom Mexican for dinner

Near Ayorou, Mali

 10 March 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 11146km

Dusty & hot 98(F) degrees

Today was long and tiring. We left the campground at about 815 and went into town to get breakfast at a patisserie recommended by Lonely Planet. It was closed (or maybe just commandeered by the US military) so we went into a nearby restaurant instead. Just parking our cars involves at least 10 minutes of negotiation with the guardian to figure out how much it will cost to watch them. After breakfast Witt went outside with an old Tuareg man (Witt thinks he was Tuareg based on his blue robes) to see his wares displayed on a cloth on the ground. He had lots of antique looking items including jewelry, coins (Witt bought one that said “British West Africa” on it and was minted in 1952), leather goods, etc. Witt bought a sword that was obviously well used with it’s leather scabbard dried, cracked, and torn. We headed out of town on the dirt road leading to the border with Niger. The road was corrugated and it took us until mid afternoon to reach the border post on the Mali side. First was customs for the carnet, then the police shack to have our passports stamped. While waiting for our passports we met a man from Nigeria named Migel who was on his way home from trying out for the Libian football team. He had been arrested in Libya for leaving his hotel without his passport and deported. Because he was traveling with a letter from his embassy in lieu of a passport (the Libians had thrown him out without allowing him to retrieve it) customs formalities took longer than usual and his bus left without him. We agreed to give him a lift to the next town. On the way Graham and Connie got stuck in some deep sand ruts and we did a quick recovery operation using Rafiki to pull him out. As usual a crowd of locals gathered while we extracted the car. Even while busy connecting tow straps, etc, the kids constantly repeat, “Donnes moi un cadeaux!” It’s difficult to keep our cool at times and we are all becoming weary of the constant pestering. Migel, clearly frustrated, was trying to get the locals to help push the car. They were more interested in watching than helping, and Migel shouted, “I’m stuck in your f**king country and if you won’t help me get out then get out of the way!” When we finally dropped him at his bus he gave us a Catholic holy card for good luck. We got our carnets stamped at customs (customs on both sides of the border was fairly efficient with only one half-hearted attempt to extract a bogus tax) and thought we were home free. No such luck, as Niger has toll roads. We soon came to a toll station where we were first asked to pay 11,000 CFA for tolls all the way to Agadez. We said no, we’re not going to Agadez and the price dropped to 2000 CFA to Niamey. We paid and they gave us receipts totaling 1100 CFA. We complained and they gave us two more receipts to Niamey (so now we had two per vehicle). Tired and hungry we gave up and drove on in search of a camp site. We pulled off the road after dark, made a quick (but good) dinner and went to sleep.

Jen's new do

Let's go to Niger!

We appreciate our Sponsors, please take a moment to visit them.

Safari Gard

Land Rover Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado

Pangea Expeditions

Note: Country Facts Links are provided by The World Factbook.

All rights reserved copyright© 2002 - 2007 Africa Overland

Web Site Created by Your Virtual Resource & Hosted at ProSiteSetup