The Grand Tour of Burkina Faso and Mali

The Grand Tour of Burkina Faso and Mali, 8 days

Burkina Faso and Mali, home to countless tribes and language groups, are some of the richest in Africa in terms of culture. Some of the friendliest people in West Africa inhabit these two vast landlocked countries, where the traveller will encounter magnificent architecture in Bobo-Dioulasso, Djenné and Ségou, alongside wonderful hospitality, stunning natural wonders on the outskirts of Banfora, in Siby and while canoeing on the mighty Niger River - West Africa's lifeline. The tour is organised with safety in mind and with your own expert guide.

A visit to the mysterious Timbuktu can be added to this trip. Ask us more!

Day 1

Arrival in the capital, Ouagadougou, whose name tastes particularly good to many foreigners. Ouagadougou is located in central Burkina Faso and has a population of around 2.5 million. You can stay a night or two if you wish, but for this programme we will leave the city and head straight for Lake Bazoulé. The lake is known for its sacred crocodiles.

From Bazoulé, we head to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second largest city. It's about 340 kilometres, or just over five hours' drive. Often known simply as "Bobo", the town is a major centre of the textile industry and has also gained a reputation as a cultural city with its various festivals. Bobo is also home to around one million inhabitants, most of whom belong to the Bobo ethnic group.

The atmosphere in Bobo-Dioulasso is relaxed and there is plenty to see. We visit either the music museum or the Centre Sénoufo to learn about the local culture. The main attraction is the 19th century Grand Mosque, also known as the Dioulassoba Mosque. It is built of mud and wood and is therefore an excellent example of the architectural tradition of the Sahel region. We enter the obscure mosque, which is still in active use.

The small old town of Kibidwe in Bobo-Dioulasso is located immediately next to the Grand Mosque. Kibidwe is divided into four parts, quarters, based on their inhabitants. Visiting the Animist, Muslim, Griot and Blacksmith quarters, we see that the old town is like a living museum, as all the houses are still inhabited. Even in the oldest house, which dates back to the 1000s. We stay overnight in Bobo-Dioulasso.

Day 2

After breakfast, we drive just under two hours to Banfora, home to just over 100 000 people. The city is powered by the sugar cane industry and we see a large number of sugar cane fields on the outskirts of Banfora.

Banfora usually attracts all travellers to Burkina Faso, as there are many interesting things to see in the surrounding area. In the morning, we visit Sindou to admire the sharp sandstone formations known as Pics de Sindou. To the west of Banfora is the Karfiguéla waterfall, which we will visit in the afternoon, as well as the Fabedougou rock formations, which are around two million years old. We stay overnight in Banfora.

Day 3

After breakfast, we drive just under two hours back to Bobo-Dioulasso, then head towards the Mali border and on to Sikasso, a town of 230 000 inhabitants in Mali. Like Bobo-Dioulasso, Sikasso is a major centre for the textile industry, but the population also makes a living from agriculture, including sorghum and maize. In total, the journey is about 270 kilometres, which takes a whole day. We stay overnight in Sikasso.

Day 4

Today we travel deep into the heartlands of Mali. First, we will drive a good four hours to a place called San. The town is known for its historic clay mosque, which we stop to see before continuing our journey towards Djenné. It's about a two-hour drive from San.

Djenné is one of Mali's most famous towns and dates back to the 13th century. The historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its jewel is the Great Mosque of Djenné, the world's largest clay building. The mosque was built in the 13th century, but the current building dates from the early 20th century. We take a tour of the mosque and the old town. We stay overnight in Djenné.

Day 5

After breakfast, we drive about 2.5 hours to Mopti, a town located where the Niger River meets the Bani River. The city of just over 100 000 inhabitants is built on islands at the confluence of the two rivers, which is why Mopti has been called the "Venice of Africa". We cruise on both rivers in a local canoe known as a pirogue. We will also visit Mopti's fishing port and town centre. The town is home to many different tribes from the Tuaregs, Songhai, Bambara and even the Mossi, who travel all the way from Burkina Faso. We stay overnight in Mopti.

Day 6

Today we will travel a little over six hours to a town called Ségou, home to around 150 000 inhabitants. Ségou is an interesting example of a city with both colonial and traditional architecture. We will take a tour of the town and learn about Bambara culture. We will visit nearby Segoukoro, the capital of the ancient Bambara Kingdom. We will see the tomb of King Biton Coulibaly. We stay overnight in Ségou.

Day 7

We drive 4-5 hours from Ségou via Bamako to Siby, which is particularly known for its numerous rock formations such as the high rock arches. In Siby, we will be on the land of the Mandinka people, so we will also learn about their culture and take part in a sacrificial ceremony to honour the Mandinka gods. At the end of the day, we will drive to Bamako, the capital of Mali, where we will stay overnight.

Day 8

Bamako is home to around two million Malians and is also the capital of Mali. The city lies on both sides of the Niger River. We will take you on a short city tour and then transfer you either back to your hotel or to the airport, hoping that you have enjoyed Burkina Faso and Mali with us.

General information about the tour

Price: inquire with us

The price of the trip includes:

  • All accommodations
  • All transfers (including airport transfers)
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Meals and bottled water
  • Visa invitation letter

Not included in the price:

  • International flights
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations and anti-malaria medication
  • Personal expenses, such as souvenirs and tips