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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Mali - 14 November, 2000



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bandiagara (campsite) N1421.478' W00333.598' 400 m  
Dourou (Dogon village on plateau) N1418.226' W00326.144' 528 m 28 km
Finish Nombori (Dogon village on the escarpment) N1419.887' W00324.310' 382 m 4.5 km (walk)


9,816 km


Weather: Clear, sunny and very hot.   Cool in the evening and night.



Daily Journal Entry:

We spend the time before breakfast getting our stuff and ourselves organised for our 4 day trek through Dogon country.  This is one of the top ten places to come to in West Africa (if not all of Africa), and we are quite excited based on what we have heard and read about it.  See Dogon Country for further details on the Dogon people and their culture. 


Mali00_Dogon1_Dourou_Indigo_Jac_1086_Web.gif (191663 bytes)

After breakfast and packing up the campsite, we head off shortly after 9 AM for Dourou, just on top of the escarpment and where we will start our trekking.  It is a poor road, and we only arrive shortly after 11 AM.  We unload the stuff from the truck and then go walk around the Dogon village here.  It is our first glimpse of Dogon country and, even without the escarpment as a back drop (we have not yet hiked down the escarpment), it is still quite interesting.  They are making the indigo cloth, so we buy a couple of the blue cloths, which are tie-dyed.


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We walk back to the "hotel" where our stuff is and where we will get organised to start our walk.  But first we have some lunch and we are finally off at 2:30 PM.  We first stop off in the weekly market that they are having in Dourou.  The market moves around from town to town, and it is quite lively with all sorts of stuff for sale.  After a brief stop there, we carry on.  At first the walk is very flat, with rocky ground and some vegetation.  We go through some rock formations, to come upon a crevice that goes sharply down -


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- this is our way to walk down the escarpment to the lowlands below.  At some parts they put in steps carved into tree trunks.


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The views just get better and better and it is a rock-hopping walk down to the bottom, about 200 meters down.  The sun is going down, so the sand lowlands are glowing orange in the late day sun.  Jacqui says it looks like the scene from "The Lion King" where the lion rules over his kingdom.  We wind our way down to the bottom and arrive on the sandy flat lands.


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We then have a short walk to the nearby Dogon village where we will spend the night.  At Nombori, we stay in a small area surrounded by mud-brick buildings.  We decide to stay on the roof of one of the buildings, where we set up our tent (without the fly).  We are a bit worried about the roof, which shakes as we walk around.  A few cracks appear and, in one spot, the sand spirals down a small hole when we walk nearby.  We are a bit worried, but we are told that there will be no problems.


Mali00_Dogon1_Nombori_Tent_1109_Web.gif (267856 bytes)

They have no electricity here, so we just hang out waiting for dinner.  We have a few gas lamps, but they just throw a light, golden light around a small area on the table.  We watch the stars and wait for the moon to come out (it is just about full at this time), and look at the silhouettes formed by the rock escarpment above.  After a few warm beers and some scotch, we are coming up with all sorts of strange objects that they form (such as dogs, witches, Frankenstein, etc).  The moon then rises from behind the cliff face and baths the escarpment and the lowlands in the pale, blue light.  Lars goes and takes a number of pictures with the 35 mm camera.


Shortly after 9 PM we retire to our tent and, after watching the the stars for a while, go to sleep.  But in the middle of the night when Lars' has to get up for a pee, he takes a few more pictures after the moon has risen fully.  Going for a pee, it is worth noting, was an experience.  We needed to walk up and down from the roof of the house on a ladder carved into a tree trunk.





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