Mali Countryside

Mali, with its population of about fourteen and a half million, is located in west Africa and shares borders with Algeria to its north, Niger to its east, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to its south, Guinea to its south-west and Senegal and Mauritania to its west.

Timbuktu Mosques: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic licenseIn size Mali is approximately 1000 miles from north to south, and 1050 miles from east to west and has has three main zones, the Saharan one in the north, the central semi arid Shahelian one and the Sudanese zone in the south where the land is more fertile being fed by the Niger River (below) and the Senegal River.

Most of the countryside of Mali is flat, with the north of the country being desert, however in east central Mali can be found the Hombori Mountains and in the north east another mountainous region called Adrar des Iforas in the Kidal region known locally as "Adagh"; ("Adrar" is the Berber word for mountain, and "Ifogha" is the name of the Tuareg tribe who live a nomadic lifestyle raising camels, goats and sheep for survival.)

Bandiagara Escarpment: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenseThe countryside of Mali is perhaps best known for the Niger River, the long sought after city of Timbuktu, and, of course the Dogon Tribe who according to legend, had contact with a fish like race from Sirius called the Nommo. Many of the Dogon live in the Bandiagara Escarpment (right), a sandstone cliff stretching for 93 miles, with its homes and myriad of tunnels that kept the French at bay during Mali's colonial era.

Although the country is currently in turmoil, there is plenty to see in Mali from Timbuktu which is close to the Niger River during rainy season (though miles away during dry spells) which is now a United Nations World Heritage site not least for its centuries old mosques. For those interested in history the National Museum in Bamako is a good starting point with exhibits reflecting Malian culture together with archaeological artefacts and a model of the Great Mosque of Djenné, a building constructed of mud bricks that remains of great historical importance.

Hand of Fatima: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseOther landmarks in the Mali countryside include the Hand of Fatima (left) which can be seen whilst travelling along the road from Mopti to Gao; the “Flamme de la Paix” monument constructed in commemoration of the end of the 1990s Tuareg rebellion and the zoos (give them a miss unless you enjoy seeing distressed animals), museums and botanical gardens found in the capital Bamako.

Whilst there take a taxi out to explore the Point G caves which have been inhabited for millennia with their unique wall paintings. A must see. This video of the Mali countryside gives some insight into the nature of the land there.


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Niger River as it flows through Mali

This map of the Niger River is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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