After minimal sleep getting in last night, we tried to enjoy an 8am breakfast at our hotel in Bamako where everyone finally got to meet for the first time.
By 8:30 am we began our 4 hour drive to Segou, a town built on the banks of the Niger River.
But first, we gotta dodge the infamous Bamako traffic jams, the worst of it by the roundabout around the BCEAO Tower / Africa Tower:
After 3.5 hours on a dusty highway, we first stopped at the town of Segoukoro – the former capital of the Bambara Kingdom, all the way back in the 18th century and still holding the tomb of its old king.
We made our appointment with the local village chief, a direct descendent of the very king who ruled all those years ago.
We had tea with him and answered our questions about the history of Segou and its royalty. He insisted that we take a photo with him.
His descendants then showed us the rebuilt vestibule, where the king used to receive his guests.
We then explored his village, home to four mosques . . .
. . . .the most famous being the waterfront one which the famous King Biton Coulibaly built for his mother.
We headed onwards in a pinasse – the Malian boat of choice:
Cruising along the Niger River, the third largest river of Africa, we just kicked back as I played music to the atmosphere.
We then had lunch on the boat while passing by local fishing villages to get a closer look at the lives of the locals. This is where you can take in the natural beauty of West Africa.
Returning from the boat after an hour on the water and settling into our hotel, we then drove over 5km to the Soroblé bogolan (mud-cloth) center.
This traditional cotton fabric is dyed with fermented mud and represents one of Mali’s most influential cultural practices.
They even let us design our own clothes with dye, the fermented mud and water. I opted for a Rorschach look that I interpreted as the origin of the universe:
After taking away our personal mud-cloth designs, we then explored the old colonial era neighborhood with a subsequent stop at the traditional millet beer brewery to sample the local product:
Some of the un-initiated preferred just a smell for the experience:
Then we walked over to the local cathedral, which was closed for entry.
At this point the sun began to set, so we returned for dinner and finally catching up on our sleep at the Résidence Djiguibombo. I can’t believe I got out a blogpost on 2 hours of sleep.
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- At time of posting in Segou, it was 28 °C - Humidity: 13% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: sunny