Segou

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The town of Segou lies on the banks of the Niger River, and is also an historically significant town , for being the centre of many ancient empires that relied on the river as a trade route.

 We had left Djenne later than anticipated, but made good time to Segou, and drove into town in the early evening. Our progress westwards was evidenced by the lengthening daylight hours in the evenings, as it was still daylight when we arrived at 6.30.

 The Niger river and scenes from Segou

We found ourselves at the Hotel Auberge, where we checked in for the night. Stan was the centre of attention for the locals ,many of whom earn a living taking tourists off the beaten track, and so were mighty impressed with Stan’s travels. We also met another couple from the Netherlands (what is it with these Hollanders in Africa?), Reinout and Renate, who were on their way back to Bamako and home. We enjoyed spending the evening with them, comparing Mali notes and listening to their tales of public transport in Africa. They were brave enough to take public transport from Timbuktu to Mopti together with goats, chickens, bags of torn millet that poured out with every bump in the road; a journey that took 10 hours and a taxi that had to be dug out several times! All part of daily life in Africa.

 Our new friends, Renate and Reinout from Vriesland in the Netherlands

The next morning after breakfast, we took a slow Sunday morning walk through the streets and along the river bank of Segou. The town has a sleepy, villagy feel, and we loved the sights and sounds, the women doing the washing in the river and at the same time having no problem with stripping in full view of everyone and washing themselves, the kids running towards you and being happy with touching your white hand, the fisherman going about their daily chores. Segou is also home to many artists and we just loved chatting to the locals and looking at their stunning works of art. Even Stewart finally decided to get a souvenir and haggled a long time only to walk away smiling with an ancient Tuareg sword in his hand.

 Pottery market with Bobo huts in the background

There is an impressive pottery market on the riverbank, and the many old crumbling former colonial buildings and tree lined streets recall an earlier era. However, the local architecture was equally impressive and beautiful with little mud (Banco) houses rubbing shoulders with more modern brick houses and the grass huts of the bozo fishermen. As always in Mali, the colours  are always vibrant, lively and in perfect harmony with nature.

 

We left about lunchtime for the capital, Bamako as we still wanted to visit the museum there which would be closed on Monday.