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Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu April 21st 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...TIMBUKTU...THE ARRIVAL Sanddunes line the Niger riverbank as our pinasse slides into the port of Korioume...people everywhere...hands grabbing our packs to load into 4WDs or reaching out in the event we are feeling benevolent...goodbyes to Ibrahim & Amadou who will now head downriver...into 4WD with Bastos...telling us this will be the BEST Festival au Desert yet...and the President is coming...belt along tarmac through a grove of Aussie gums...then through sand...through a brick signless gate...BIENVENUE A TOMBOUCTOU..."Welcome to Timbuktu"...we have made it...that fabled city...place of learning...once on the Niger river...now 20kms away...overtaken by the Sahara Desert... Welcome to Timbuktu...the city of 333 Saints...La Mysterieuse Relax & Enjoy, Dancing Dave (who danced, danced and kept on dancing until he got to Timbuktu...(as you do)..... read more
EXPLORE...
...LA MYSTERIEUSE
TUAREG

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu April 13th 2011

FACES OF MALI...TIMBUKTU Many faces partially obscured by the indigo turbans of the Tuareg..or smiling from them...the nomadic peoples of the southern Sahara Desert...strong faces...showing resolve, endurance and handsome all...Tuaregs arriving by camel to trade...but also Songhai (descendents of the Songhai Empire who once controlled the gold & salt trade) & Bozo (fishermen of the Niger) also wear turbans of many colours to protect from the unrelenting strong sun...Felani (nomadic herders & traders) in their distinctive dome hats... We are now in Timbuktu...that mythical location that does exist...and these people bear witness to that... Timbuktu...overtaken by the Sahara Desert...the city of 333 saints...repository for ancient manuscripts...where 3,000 rifles were burnt in 1996 to mark the end of the Tuareg rebellion in the Place de la Paix "the Flame of Peace"... read more
CA VA
ITS A SMALL WORLD
SWORD DANCER

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu March 31st 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...UP THE NIGER IN A LEAKY BOAT We piled onto our pinasse near Mopti...5 men lifted the back & pushed us off...into the middle of the Niger...then the sound & sight of water rushing at our feet...yikes "We are sinking!!!!" Pull into the riverbank lifting our packs & whatever onto bench seats or into our arms to avoid soaking...pile out with cameras, daypacks etc and sit on a concrete bank for a fish sorting area ...silence...reflecting...pondering...we have three days in this boat to get to Timbuktu...and we have just started...and there is a hole as big as my fist in the bottom... And so started our "leisurely" cruise up the Niger River to Timbuktu! We had been joined by Guy, our tour operator from 'From Here 2 Timbuktu' the night before in Mopti together ... read more
...IN A LEAKY BOAT
RELAX & ENJOY...
APPROACHING THE MOSQUE...

Africa » Mali » Dogon Country » Bandiagara March 25th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...ROCK ON ROCK IN DOGON COUNTRY The top of the falaise was rock, rock and more rock, appeared to be ironstone on sandstone...& we went up and down, by, and along until we rocked into Konsogou-Ley for a cup of tea, and "Welcome, welcome, you are very welcome" from our host as he played his own composition on his dogon guitar...and of course we danced...and hugged as we left...a very special time...and a highlight of the trek. Further rock hopping, climbing, winding, up, down and around...until we arrived at Dourou...a village split in half by a massive crack in the rock...and that is what there was...rock, rock and more rock...1,000 people living there...in a severe landscape... The accomodation was not condusive to pleasant sleeping...all inside, windowless and no free rooves...so we mixed with ... read more
ROCK ON ROCK
FOLLOWING A GOAT TRACK...
UP...

Africa » Mali » Dogon Country » Bandiagara March 22nd 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...ROCKIN' ON IN DOGON COUNTRY We trek north out of Ennde along the base of the tombed cliff. It is as if the Tellem or Dogon god cut this massive rock step 200 km long and...we are trekking on the flat base and the cliff is the step we must climb. Today we climb the falaise...how I do not know. Yabatalou for lunch...that chicken that just ran past is smiling at you from your plate...massage and siesta...and the odd first aid. A big dance session with the locals...and reggae danced out of there... Then boys grab our packs and we say "au revoir" to Edward our bullock driver. We scale the falaise...through small villages & oases as we go...and to the top...to the buildings of rock and mud that is the rock platform village ... read more
FLYING WITH THE CROWS...
MUD MOSQUE AT ENNDE
ENNDE

Africa » Mali » Dogon Country » Bandiagara March 15th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...DANCING IN DOGON COUNTRY...ENNDE We can hear the drumming as we approach Ennde, a more substantial village at the foot of the cliff...4,000 cfa each OK..."here come and sit here" as we are led to the very front row...and an hour of flashing feathers, rustling raffia, pulsating dancing, masks, stilts, athletic bodies... with a cricket bat rock monolith as backdrop...a photograher's paradise known as the festival of the Danses des Masques... Our own mud campement tonight...showers...heaven for the girls...G & T's with our guides and members of the festival band...it does not get better than this! Buying mud cloth, masks & Dogon jewellery...always room for more...to add to my Dogon walking stick that I am determined to get back to Oz... Yabatalou for lunch, massage and siesta...and the odd first aid...a big dance session ... read more
M...
A...
L...

Africa » Mali » Dogon Country » Bandiagara March 12th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...ROCK & ROLLING IN DOGON COUNTRY ...DJIGUIBOMBO, KANI KOMBOLE & TELI Rated 4th Best Trek in the World by Lonely Planet on TV before we left...expectations were high...and wow...it delivered. We had four days & nights of clear weather in early January...four days treking...four days stopping at a village for a dance or a cup of tea...another for lunch with siesta...then another for dinner...for sleeping on mud rooves...or inside if you dare... ...and four nights of partying with locals & other travellers. Starting at Bandiagara, the local capital, we hit the red dirt and rock along a dusty road to Djiguibombo, a rock upon rock ancient village on that massive rock ledge on the top of the escarpment or falaise... Then down the cliffs on a well worn but precipitous path... as laden women ... read more
READY TO DANCE...
DJIGUIBOMBO
MEETING HOUSE

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné March 6th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI.....DJENNE.....MUD TOWN OF DREAMS... On an island in the Bani River, accessed by ferry from the riverbank to the ancient mud town of Djenne (pronounced "Jenny"), we have arrived in my destination from childhood dreams... And a mud town it still is... Each year the Mud Mosque of Djenne, the largest banco or mud building in the world, requires repair...where mud has washed off in rain...and the mud artisans show their amazing skills...and remain in employment... But concrete, some think should change that... Unlike mud (baked in the sun mixed with straw or otherwise), concrete does not degrade or wash away in rain and is stronger...so some believe concrete is better than mud... But fortunately traditions and United Nations Heritage Listing has protected Djenne to remain a traditional and spectacular mud town. Welcome to ... read more
RIVERSIDE
RIVERSIDE
RIVERSIDE

Africa » Mali » Centre » Ségou March 4th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...SEGOU Festival du Niger is held here each February...music, puppetry, stilt dancing...Malian culture on show ...maybe next time. After Christmas lunch of roast goat and watermelon in a field under a tree, we (seven of us) arrived in Segou. Our hotel was next to the river, with rooms named Mopti, Kidal...and Tombouctou... We are on our way. As beautiful as the Ngoni lilts on Bassekou Kouyate's CD "SEGU BLUE", ...and his mesmerising performance with his band Ngoni Ba at the Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Segou the river town on the Niger was an idyllic outpost for Christmas Day & Boxing Day 2010. Welcome to Segou...and Regards, Dancing Dave (who danced through Segou on his way to Timbuktu)... read more
WOMEN'S WORK?
...IT CERTAINLY IS...
DUSK

Africa » Mali » Centre » Djenné March 1st 2011

THE MUD MOSQUES OF MALI The Mud Mosque at Djenne captured my imagination from the pictures in books from my childhood...an exotic image that remained with me...but as I have now been there...the images are real and indelibly printed in my psyche... I photograhed as many Mud Mosques as I could as I danced through Mali. Mali is a predominately Muslim nation, so each village has a mosque. There is the occasional Christian mud church. However, as it does not erode in rain, concrete is being used in the construction of some village mosques, sometimes painted pink or light blue. There is pressure to replace mud with concrete...but there is opposition as mud artisans are an ancient traditional craft...and every village can make mud bricks if there is a pool of water nearby...and the expense is ... read more
OLD SEGOU
ON THE ROAD NORTH OF BAMAKO
A VILLAGE MOSQUE




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