Twitter Papillon Google plus Papillon Facebook Papillon
1 - Mali group journey
2 - Mali rondreis pottery village
3 - Mali roundtrip
4 - Mali groepsreis

Mali the Malian way
with pirogue races

15-day roundtrip, small-scale group journey

‘Ooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!' Cries of joy, disappointment and support rise from the crowd that has gathered on the river shores.


Beautiful wooden prams, packed with rowers, pass in sprays of water drops. Sweat on the heads and bodies of the men, who paddle like crazy, for the honor of their neighbourhood or village.

In this Mali the Malian way we take you to the pirogue races in Macina, held each year on the 22nd of September, Independence day. While the hearts of the spectators on the shores beat faster due to the excitement of the spectacle,
the men and women selling food and drinks, do good business.
Around this incredible and authentic event we take you on a journey through South and West Mali, making you experience the country and its population in a different way. The people’s hospitality, have a meal at the court of a local family, drink tea the Malian way, the simplicity of Malian day to day life and the mostly unpredictable rhythm of the day; we gladly introduce you to the aspects of Mali that remain a secret to most visitors.


Ségou, Papillon’s home base, is the haven of this journey. Till the beginning of the 19th century, Ségou was the capital of an important Bambara kingdom. Up till to today the remains of these times are still visible. Nowadays Ségou, with over 100,000 inhabitants, is known for its position on the Niger river, its annual music festival ‘Festival sur le Niger’ and Maryse Condé’s books. Its position at the Niger makes it a perfect place for excursions by pirogue or pinasse to nearby villages, such as Ségou Koro.


Independence day

After a long period of colonization, Mali gained formal independence from France on September 22nd, 1960. As a result the 22nd of September was proclaimed an official holiday, that in many places is celebrated with authentic Malian activities.

View photo album
View the itinerary

In short

Day 1: (late) arrival in Bamako
Day 2: Bamako-Bougouni-Sikasso
Day 3: Sikasso
Day 4: Sikasso-Koutiala
Day 5: Koutiala-Ségou
Day 6: Ségou-Markala
Day 7: Markala-Macina
Day 8: Macina-Sansanding-Ségou
Day 9: Ségou-Farako
Day 10: Farako-Kalabougou-Kala
Day 11: Kala-Ségou
Day 12-13: Ségou
Day 14: Ségou-Bamako, departure
Day 15: home coming
Book this trip


€ 1,345 per person
single supplement € 182


annually around 22 September
(itinerary adapted to market day)
available as a tailor-made journey


All accommodations and meals, use of tents, (English spoken) local guides, transport of luggage during the hike, all excursions and transport as mentioned in the itinerary, airport transfers and tourist taxes.


(Air) fare to Mali v.v., visa, vaccinations, travel and cancellation insurance, drinks, souvenirs, personal expenses.

responsible travel

Papillon Reizen values taking her responsibility. That is why we pay a fair price for goods and services. Besides all our activities contribute to the Papillon funds.


We travel partly by public transport (bus) and partly with especially for our group arranged transport.


Rooms with fan, based on double occupancy (9 nights) and tents, double occupancy (4 nights). Facilities are simple in campments and villages.
The single supplement gives the right of single use of rooms and tents.

group size

maximum 8 people
minimum 4 people

comfort level of the journey

A good condition is required for this journey in which facilities will be simple in campments and villages.

practical information

For practical information and information on Mali click here.
After booking a confirmation email with extensive travel information, practical information and a baggage checklist will be sent to you.