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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Mali: Gao to Mopti

The ferry across the River Niger on the way out of Gao
The ferry across the River Niger on the way out of Gao carries buses, cars, people and, of course, cattle

Given the distance involved, getting from Gao to Mopti turned out to be relatively easy. It took me a total of seven travelling days to get from Mopti to Gao via Timbuktu, slowly floating along the River Niger in crowded pinasses and luxurious ferries, but thankfully it only took one day to return. Brook and I hopped on the bus in the morning, leaving only one hour late, and by seven o'clock this evening I was back in Mopti, fending off the touts like I'd never left. Sure, the bus kept stopping en route to pick up passengers (after the obligatory arguments over the price and where exactly the seven bundles of hay were going to fit), and at sundown we pulled over into the desert so the Muslim contingent – the whole bus minus the toubabs, that is – could pray to the east, but compared to some of the bus journeys I've taken in West Africa, today's was practically efficient.

Hombori Tondo
Behind the desert village of Hombori lies the highest point in Mali, the 1155m-high bulk of Hombori Tondo