We arrived in Bamako on time to go to the museum after we impressed ourselves with our navigation skills by driving straight to the hotel despite the normal African city madness of Bamako. We checked in to Hotel Tamana in the hippodrome area (still to this day have not seen the famous hippodrome…does it actually exist?) and got into a taxi to take us to the National Museum of Mali.

Thank goodness we did that as all of the sudden it was as if all hell broke loose in the streets of Bamako. Due to the eternal English/French problem we were unable to ask our taxi driver the reason for the 10’s of thousands of scooters and motorbikes with screaming drivers and passengers that swamped the streets. That was until we reached the football stadium on our way to the museum. We, for the first time saw in real live Football (or Soccer as we know it) African style. We thought it was the national team playing as there were thousands of people in the stadium which was bursting at the seams, that is besides the people hanging on to the floodlights, the fences and sitting on the cliff sides around the stadium and those queuing to get in or arguing with ticket sellers!! To our surprise we heard that it was only 2 local Bamako teams playing. Well, here comes 2010 SA, be prepared!!  

 The cliffs around the stadiumEntrance to the museum

I have been addicted to museums ever since I have been a child in Luderitz and I had to wait every Saturday for my parents to finish their tennis games/socials across the road from the local museum. I spend hours there and I am sure this was the reason for my Archaeology studies as well as my constant search and visit to every museum I could find all over the world. The Mali National museum is small, but the masks and various items are well displayed and I am sure the descriptions explanatory if we could just read it as they were all in French! We were also so proud to find that one of the special exhibitions was of paintings/drawings by a South African artist from Soweto Titus Matiyane . The drawings are huge pieces, some up to 12 metres long, of 3 dimensional views of cities all over the world, New York, Dar Es Salaam, Durban, Pretoria etc. What a nice surprise.

 Bamako riverside, Africans clearly do not use their rivers for relaxation and tourism!!

We spend the next day getting our Mauritanian visas at an astronomical price, going to the German Consulate to try and extend my Schengen visa or at least get some info on how to be able to stay in Germany for a year. Despite the lady assuring me that I have an excellent command of the language, they were not prepared to help…..because the rules you know!


We thankfully met up with our friends Renate and Reinout again and spend our last (or so we thought) night in Bamako having a great supper and lots of wine and Flag beer (Stews new favourite)