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Great Journeys: Mali: River Niger

Floating through the Sahara Desert on the River Niger is an incomparable experience, as is visiting the fabled town of Timbuktu and the amazing mud mosque of Djenné.

Map of the River Niger, Mali

Click on the links below to find out more about individual destinations.

Journey Summary

As far as tourism goes, Mali is often referred to as the jewel in West Africa's crown, and the jewel in Mali's crown has to be the River Niger. Our journey starts and ends in the main tourist centre of Mali, Mopti, which can be reached by bus from the capital Bamako. In Mopti we can buy tickets for the River Niger ferry (though note that the ferry doesn't run all year due to low river levels). While waiting for the ferry to depart, a quick side trip to the amazing mud mosque of Djenné is an absolute must. From Mopti the first half of our river journey takes us to the fabled town of Timbuktu, where you can go camel trekking in the Sahara Desert while soaking up the history of one of the most famous places on the planet. From Timbuktu the second half of our river journey takes us to the pleasant market town of Gao, from where it's a bus trip back to Mopti once again.

Suggested Itinerary

The following is only a suggested itinerary. Please note that the River Niger ferry only runs regularly at certain times of the year, and even then you may have to wait for a few days for the next one. Take this itinerary only as a guide; you'll have to make it up as you go along. Which is half the fun, of course...

Day Suggested Itinerary
1 Bus to Mopti
2 One day in Mopti
3 Mopti to Djenné
4 One day in Djenné
5 Djenné to Mopti
6-9 Mopti to Timbuktu (via the River Niger)
10-11 Two days in Timbuktu
12-14 Three days on a camel safari in the Sahara Desert
15-16 Two days in Timbuktu
17-19 Timbuktu to Gao (via the River Niger)
20 One day in Gao
21 Gao to Mopti
22 Bus from Mopti