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1 - Mali mask festival
2 - Mali groepsreis
3 - Mali roundtrip
4 - Mali festival
5 - Mali group journey

Mali the Malian way with
Festival des Marionnettes et des Masques

16-day roundtrip, small-scale group journey 

Experiencing Mali is surrendering to the rhythm of life and the heartbeat of the country. Being touched by the kindness and hospitality of the Malian people and by the richness in colors, smells, sounds and tastes.
Mali the Malian way is a meeting with the local people and everyday life in Mali. We visit places that are passed by by others, are the guests of a local family, visit a real Malian festival* and introduce you to local customs and dishes.

Mali the Malian way takes place in and around Ségou and Markala. No overloaded itinerary, but lots of time and space to éxperience. Feel free to accept an invitation to drink tea and be surprised by the time and care involved in preparing the tea.

Mali the Malian way invites you to let go of expectations, to accept what is and to enjoy what presents itself.



Mali’s capital has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants. Rich in colors, sounds and smells, Bamako bubbles. Orange- and Malitel-kiosk compete with one another in bright colors. Motorbikes, cars, busses and taxis drive the often crowded streets and crossings, frequently using their horns. The market stalls and small shops offer a variety of products. In case you are missing out on something, Bamako is your best shot to find it. Bamako’s pollution is proportional to the number of inhabitants and motorbikes. Where one may thoroughly enjoy Mali’s capital’s comforts, for another Bamako may simply be too much and an overload of impressions.



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.


At about 40 kilometers from Ségou, also located at the Niger, Markala is well-known for its barrage, regulating the water levels in the Niger, creating fertile farmland.
The lively Monday market and the annual marionettes festival bring Markala to life. The rest of the year it is a heaven of peace and an excellent place to immerse in local life.

* At the time of creation of this journey, the 2011 dates of the Festival des Masques et Marionnettes were not yet 100% certain. If the festival would be held a week later, the itinerary will be adjusted accordingly.

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View the itinerary

In short

Day 1: (late) arrival in Bamako
Day 2: Bamako-Ségou
Day 3-4: Ségou
Day 5: Ségou-Markala
Day 6-8: festival Markala
Day 9: Markala-Ségou-Farako
Day 10-12: Farako
Day 13: Farako-Ségou
Day 14: Ségou
Day 15: Ségou-Bamako, departure
Day 16: home coming
Book this trip


€ per person
single supplement €


available as a tailor-made journey


All accommodations and meals, use of tents, Dutch spoken (English as well) travel guide and local guides, all excursions and transport as mentioned in the itinerary, airport transfers, tourist taxes, a fair price for products and services, contributions of €10 to the Papillon emergency fund and of €10 to the Papillon project fund.


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


We travel partly by public transport (bus) and partly by minibus and pinasse arranged for our group.


Rooms with fan, and tents based on double occupancy.

group size

maximum 8 people
minimum 4 people

comfort level
of the journey

A good shape and flexible attitude are required for this journey, in which (sanitairy) facilities will be simple during our stay in Farako and Markala.

practical information

For (practical) 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.