Sikasso

 

A village in Sikasso (Photo by: Sociolingo Africa)

A city that sits at the “Market Garden of Mali,” Sikasso will relax you with the occasional soothing airy breeze that stops you in your tracks.

Sikasso’s charm lies in the earthen buildings and leftover tatas, or town walls. Most notable of these structures would be Palais du Dernier Roi and the Mamelon, a sacred ground that the Malian Kénédougou kings held in high religious regard back then.

Without a doubt, one of the best tourist attractions that can be found in Sikasso would be the Farako Falls. There are daily tours available for you to take, going up all the lush greenery and clear calm waters of this famous attraction.

Mostly an agricultural city, Sikasso produces mainly fruits and vegetables, which build up the majority of its trade and industry. Known to have a very fertile land composition, Sikasso enjoys lush greenery and actually stays green all throughout the year – a rarity in Africa.

Bandiagara Escarpment

Dogon granaries

A truly unique and amazing sight to behold, the Bandiagara escarpment will surely captivate your imagination and fill your picture books with awesome photos.

It’s hard to imagine people actually living in these hillside dwellings for ages and surviving like they did. A series of dwellings that is believed to be interconnected by caves is believed to be the vital key aspect on why the French were not able to penetrate this Dogon/Tellem settlement.

Today the Bandiagara escarpment is a scenic site that artists and photographers take in and draw countless of impressions of. Daily tours also take tourists on educational and cultural trips of the surrounding villages.

Tomb of the Askias

The Tomb of the Askias is perhaps one of the most mystical places to visit in Mali. It was built in 1495 by Askia Mohamed, a 15th century ruler of the Songhai Empire, after he saw the Pyramids of Egypt on his way to Mecca to undertake the great hajj.

Inspired by those pyramids, he used the wood he had brought back from Mecca to make his own pyramid – the Tomb of the Askias.

It has not been confirmed, however, whether Askia was actually interred within this tomb after he died.

Guided tours bring you to the different prayer spots located within the tomb. At the top, you can see the whole city of Gao. If the skies are clear, you may even see as far as the Pink Dune and the Niger River.

The Pink Dune

Pink Dune (Photo by: alicroche)

Believed by some to be a home to sorcerers, the Pink Dune, which runs parallel to the Niger River, is one of Mali’s most popular tourist sites.

Tours to the dunes are done when the high heat of the afternoon sun has subsided. This not only helps prevent heatstroke among the visitors; it also puts travelers in the best position to see the sands take on their pink glow, which happens every sunset.

It is from this phenomenon that the Pink Dune received its name.

The Pink Dune is reached by boat and is open to visits almost every day. If you go there between October and February, you could see a lot of European migratory birds who have come in to enjoy the warm weather and feast on the easy prey thriving in the Niger River.

Mopti

The city of Mopti is composed of three islands – namely the Medina Coura, the Old Town, and the New Town – which are linked by dikes. Because of this, Mopti is sometimes called the “Venice of Mali.”

Mopti is one of the most important commercial regions in Mali. It is also popular with tourists, who come to visit the Mopti Grand Mosque, or the Komoguel Mosque, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2009 .

Mopti can be reached by ferry boat from Djenne, Koulikoro, Gao, and Timbuktu. Within the city are several hotels, including the Hotel Ambedjele, Hotel Y a pas de Probleme, and the Hotel Kanaga.

 

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