Mopti

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After an uneventful overnight stay in Bankass, we left for Mopti the next morning, driving through the same area we had hiked, before climbing up and over the escarpment. We were heading for the Dogon town of Bandiagara, as we had met another Dutch traveler the night before, Gimon, who was leaving the next morning for the Dogon hike. He had all his worldly possessions in his rucksack, and so we offered to drop off his excess baggage at a hotel in Bandiagara,  to allow him to  enjoy his Dogon hike with a lighter load.

The road to Bandiagara was glorious, climbing up to the escarpment, and then wending its way through cultivated Dogon fields of millet, beans and nuts interspersed with villages.

Just short of Bandiagara, we were stopped by a policeman, who wanted to fine us for not wearing seatbelts. Our usual ruse of throwing up our hands and saying we knew no French didn’t seem to help. However, once Stewart insisted on a receipt, he decided just a warning would suffice. Some things never change in Africa!

 A Malian bookclub?? Our guide in Bandiagaras

We found Bandiagara on a market day, noisy and overcrowded. We had to give a local a lift on Stan’s bonnet to find the hotel to drop off Gimon’s bag,   and then left for Sevare and then Mopti.

 

Mopti is an old town on the banks of the River Niger, and we arrived there quite late in the afternoon. After driving into town, we located the Hotel Ya Pas de Probleme , a beautifully decorated  Dogon/French run establishment, run by another Olivier! After checking in to the large, air-conditioned room, we relaxed by the swimming pool, before taking a drive along the Niger River to sample Mopti’s sights, which include boat-building on the banks of the Niger, and a busy port, once the busiest river port in the French Sudan, exporting white egret feathers to the couturiers of Paris.

 Scenes from Mopti      

 We had a quiet dinner at the tastefully decorated restaurant on the roof of the hotel.  We planned to leave the next morning for the town of Djenne, famous for its huge Mosque , and then, on the advice of Samba in Bankass, on to Segou, another old river town further up on the Niger River.