(Bamako, Timbuktu, Mopti, Bandiagara, Djenne, Segou)
This is a premium itinerary featuring the best available hotels and exclusive private tours. Visiting Mali means coming to the heart of Africa where savannah and steppe separate the forest from the desert; it means finding oneself in the vast cradle of African civilization. Malian people, with their renowned hospitality, look forward to welcome you and to show you the beauty and the rhythm of their country. This signature trip explores almost all of the country where you will experience the world famous adobe architecture in Djenne, the legendary town of Timbuktu, the historical city of Segou, the landscapes and unique housing styles in Dogon-country, life on and next to the Niger river and the beautiful Malian music scene! This is a premium itinerary featuring the best available hotels and exclusive private tours. Visiting Mali means coming to the heart of Africa where savannah and steppe separate the forest from the desert; it means finding oneself in the vast cradle of African civilization. Malian people, with their renowned hospitality, look forward to welcome you and to show you the beauty and the rhythm of their country. This signature trip explores almost all of the country where you will experience the world famous adobe architecture in Djenne, the legendary town of Timbuktu, the historical city of Segou, the landscapes and unique housing styles in Dogon-country, life on and next to the Niger river and the beautiful Malian music scene! Mali is also from a political point of view a very stable and safe country. This is a premium itinerary featuring the best available hotels and exclusive private tours. Visiting Mali means coming to the heart of Africa where savannah and steppe separate the forest from the desert; it means finding oneself in the vast cradle of African civilization. Malian people, with their renowned hospitality, look forward to welcome you and to show you the beauty and the rhythm of their country. This signature trip explores almost all of the country where you will experience the world famous adobe architecture in Djenne, the legendary town of Timbuktu, the historical city of Segou, the landscapes and unique housing styles in Dogon-country, life on and next to the Niger river and the beautiful Malian music scene! Mali is also from a political point of view a very stable and safe country.
Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide.
The Radisson SAS Hotel, Bamako offers a restful and luxurious oasis away from the bustling city centre of Bamako. The hotel is enviably located in the newly developed district of ACI 2000, just west of the city centre and home to the government's Administrative City. With beautifully-equipped guest rooms, a gourmet restaurant and a world-class fitness centre , the hotel is bringing an unsurpassed level of luxury to one of Africa's fastest growing cities, Bamako. The hotel is perfectly situated just west of Bamako's city centre in the newly constructed ACI 2000 district. The hotel is close to notable landmarks such as the National Library, Bamako Grand Mosque and the Pont du Roi Fahd.
Private vehicle for the day with your english speaking guide.
Today you will visit the National Museum, highlights include the stylized antelope mask of Bamana; various Senoufo statuary, and, of course, the world-renowned antique Dogon Sculptures. The artisan center houses an abundance of shops and stalls selling crafts and curios such as leatherwork, fabric, silverware, masks, carvings and bronze figurines. There is also the artisan’s workshop where you can watch woodcarvers, silversmiths, drum makers and other craftspeople at work.
Lunch at a local restaurant (included in tour price).
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Take your flight from Bamako to Timbuktu today. The flight duration is approximately 2.5 hrs.
Explore Timbuktu and the surrounding areas with your private vehicle and english speaking guide.
Lunch at a local restaurant
Timbuktu is a legendary city at the border of the Sahara, which was in the past a strategic place in the trans-Sahara trade. At the same time it was an important centre of study of law and theology. In this city you’ll visit the Djingareiber-mosque, built in the 14th century, the Sidi Yahiya –mosque, the Sankoré-mosque, the house of the explorers (Gordon Laing, René Caillé and Heinrich Barth),the Ahmed Baba centre (manuscripts) and the museum. Later in the afternoon you'll go for a sunset trip on the back of a camel to visit the Touaregs(Blue Men of the desert).
La Maison is a unique find in Timbuktu. Located in the town, this 9 room hotel offers a roof top patio with great views of the dunes as well as the medina.
Take your morning flight from Timbuktu to Mopti today. The flight duration is approximately 1 and a half hour.
Explore Mopti with your english speaking guide in your own private vehicle.
Upon arrival into Mopti you will have a tour of the harbour followed by a canoe-trip at sunset to the junction of rivers Bani and Niger. Mopti is built on three islands at the junction of rivers Bani and Niger. It is an important trade center and a lively town where a lot of ethnic groups live together: the Bozo, Dogon, Bambara, Bella-farmers, Tuareg and the Fulani. The market and the port are full of colours and smells. You can see in the port how the colourful ‘pinasse’-boats are made.
The Kanaga hotel is located on the banks of the Niger, in Mopti. The rooms are pleasantly decorated with local Malian handicrafts, offer good size bathrooms, air-conditioning and satellite TV. The hotel also has a swimming pool and restaurant, with the opportunity to dine outside.
Today you'll have a full day trip with a ‘pinasse’ on the river Niger with picnic. The canoe will bring you to the place where the rivers Bani and Niger meet and further. You can enjoy the wonderful landscape and fishing scenes, watch the wide variety of birds and with a bit of luck observe hippopotami. Lunch will be eaten on the pinasse or at the banks of the river. A few stops will be included to visit the villages near the river.
Drive to Dogon Country (1.5 hs). Today you will visit several Dogon villages.
The Dogon left the Mandingue-country to escape from the Islam and settled themselves in the 15th century in the region that is now known as Dogon country along the cliffs of Bandiagara which are about 200 km long and 200 m high. When the Dogon arrived they encountered the Tellem, pygmies who lived from hunting and collecting fruits and lived in caves in the cliff face. After two centuries of living next to each other the Dogon drove the Tellem away but the houses of the pygmies in the cliff face still exist; they were and still are used by the Dogon as a place for offerings. Because of their isolation the Dogon had few influences from outside and could maintain their culture.
Private vehicle and english speaking guide for the day.
The Hotel Kambary is an interestingly designed hotel, with dome shaped rooms and round portal windows is on the road from Mopti as you enter Bandiagara. The hotel has a swimming pool, nice bar, dining area, and even miniature golf!
Today you will visit different Dogon villages. Djiguibombo, a beautiful village on the plateau where you see the first ‘tounga’, the ‘discussion hut’, and the house of traditional medicine. In Kani Kombole you will discover its beautiful contemporary mosque, called ‘the small mosque of Djenne’; Teli, a beautiful village built on the slope of a rock, and Begnematou, a village where three religions (Islam, Christianity and animism) live together in peace. Begnematou offers a beautiful view and authentic scenes of village life. Finally on to Songo, known for its’ two yearly circumcision rituals and accompanying rock paintings.
Drive from Bandiagara to Djenne (3hs) with private vehicle, driver and English speaking guide.
Private vehicle and english speaking guide for the duration of the day.
Djenne, founded in the 9th century, received ivory, gold, slaves, wool and cola nuts from the south and transported these products to the north. Since the 12th century the city became very important for this trade. For Muslims, Djenne is an important religious city because of the mosque and the many Koranic schools. Your visit to Djenne, will include its phenomenal mud mosque, the grave of Tapama Djenepo, the young Bozo-girl buried alive to save the city from a flood, and the architectural remainders of Moroccan colonisation.
Hôtel Djenné Djenno is a modern and elegant interpretation of Malian style, decorated by its owner Sophie Sarin, a Swedish artist and interior designer, who has used the ancient West African textile tradition ‘Bogolan’ to create the charming interiors of the hotel.
Drive from Bamako to Segou (4.5 hs) with private vehicle, driver and English speaking guide.
Visit to Segou, the old capital of the Bambara kingdom and an important city during the colonial period which is still visible in the architecture of some old houses in town and to Segoukoro, the old village of Segou.
Hotel Le Djoliba offers clean comfortable rooms with a great location near the Niger River
Drive from Segou to Bamako with private vehicle, driver and English speaking guide.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! I seriously doubt that two other people could have made this trip as fantastic and special as they did! Within days, it was like 4 friends were traveling together through the country.
Ismail did the tour in English and Spanish for us to ensure that we fully understood everything we saw and experienced. His passion for his country and culture was incredible and we learned an astounding amount about Moroccan history, food, agriculture, business, religion, fashion, and people. Through his shared knowledge, we have a deep love and appreciation of Morocco that we have would not have had otherwise.
We were so happy with all of the amazing places Ismail took us which included the common tourist spots but also a ton of local places tourist never experience. We were exceedingly thrilled and it enriched our vacation beyond any expectations. Ismail even helped us get jobs in Morocco; I kissed snakes and Armando worked in a public bakery. ;-) (see the pics)
We are also aware that we would not have experienced 10% of what we did had we done this trip alone or been on a large bus tour. Clearly, you have given us a wonderful gift of special memories, which we will never forget. We both want to return to see the north and of course we want to have Ismail and Said with us.
Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - which is the best gift of all!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Avi J. Moskovitz & Armando Silva
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
October 29, 2013
"My husband and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime in Egypt. The sites were amazing and overwhelming. Everything was as promised. We had the most amazing pyramid view and Nile view from our hotels. Our itinerary included the most magnificent sites and we were accompanied by the most informative and friendly people. I highly recommend visiting Egypt. It is totally safe. Thank you to everyone at Kensington for this experience. It was so beyond our expectations!"
October 31, 2013
"From our greeter, who whisked us through customs in Johannesburg, to all our excellent drivers, guides and associates in Lions Sands, Cape Town and the wine country, everyone was highly professional, well dressed, well mannered, and well informed. Overall our tour worked like a superbly designed, technically perfect Swiss watch. An experience for the ages. Bravo!"
October 29, 2013
"This was a trip of a life time for me and I was never disappointed. Sylvia listen to me and give me exactly what I wanted in the way of a photo Safari as well as full tour of Cape Town and the wine country. I never had to wait one minute for a guide or any of the transportation provided. The people I dealt with along the way could not have been more courteous and friendly. I just cannot say enough about my experience with Kensington Tours, it was fabulous! "
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
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