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Mali By Bicycle

Mali By Bicycle ( SEATTLE, WA. For those seeking a green vacation, while meet people and gain a better understanding of the world, the International Bicycle Fund is sponsoring a cultural “Bicycle Africa" tour in Mali, West Africa, in November 2007. Participants will stay in rural villages, learn about day-to-day life, meet artisans, health care personnel, educators and government officials, visit historic and cultural sites, and relax on the river. Highlights of the program are visits to Mopti and Djenne, multiple markets, the fascinating enclave of the Dogon people (with its many sacred sites) and a truly extraordinary riverboat trip on the Niger River.

The “Mali Sahel Journey” program is a perpetual favorite: Mali has a rich history and flourishing indigenous cultures. Early in the trip we spend a couple days taking a lift down the Niger River on a working riverboat. As we make friends with our fellow passengers, some heading for Timbuktu, the boat stops in town and village along the way delivering goods and picking up local produce — to be dispatched further on. It is a fascinating and unique experience that you will remember for a lifetime. The bicycling is in a historic/cultural triangle bounded by Mopti, Djenne and Bankas, which only shows serious marks of Western culture at the corners.. We travel village to village, sharing roads and tracks with, and learning about, the Bambara, Dogon, Peule, Songhai, Bobo, Bozo and people of other local ethnic groups.

Traditionally, each group had a distinctive role in economic life. The architecture, lifestyle, and human activity are all incredible “eye-candy” to look at. Making our way through this largely non-motorized society by our own non-motorized transport is a moving experience. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the heart of Africa.

For a fifteen years Bicycle Africa has specialized in soft adventure for people who want to learn more about Africa, as well as see the beautiful sights. The primary mode of travel is self contained bicycle touring. The cycling difficulty is moderate, averaging about 40 mile per day, with opportunities for side-trips for the more energetic. Accommodations are a mix from western style hotels to rustic traditional village housing. All participants receive a comprehensive pre departure material with detailed instructions on setting up your bicycle, packing, training and other information for tour preparation. The program is ideal for the realist who appreciates the diversity in the world and the wonderful rewards to be gained for the modest rigors of bicycle touring.

The tours begin in Bamako on November 25, 2007. The cost, including accommodations, meal, excursions and guide fees is US$1290. Airfare is additional. A portion of the tour price is U.S. tax deductible. The groups are limited to ten people so early registration is recommended.
IBF is a nonprofit organization that assists economic development projects utilizing bicycles. It also sponsors educational bicycle travel programs to Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Vietnam, South Korea, Ecuador, Guyana and other destinations. For more details write to International Bicycle Fund, 4887 Columbia Drive South, Seattle, WA 98108-1919 USA. Email: href=""> Internet:



Schedule: November 25 – December 8, 2007
Tour Price (lodging, two meals/day, guide, museum fees and more): US$1290 (less than six people add $100) (travel to Mali is not included). Average out of pocket expenses $100 plus or minus $50.
Description: Day 1: Explore Bamako. Day 2 4: Travel by riverboat on the Niger River to the commercial center of Mopti. This is one of the world's most fascinating boat trips. Day 5-6: Cycle to and visit historic Djenne, see its renowned market and mosque. Day 7-12 Cycle and walk through the isolated and beautiful Dogon country, staying in villages. Day 13-14: Return to Bamako. [Optional extension - Day 14-15: fly to the ancient city of Timbuktu (Tombouctou) and return to Bamako.]
Features: Self-contained bicycle and boat tour. We explore the lifestyle of the 'Sahel', including a once- in-a-lifetime boat trip on the Niger River, visits to Timbuktu and the fascinating, culturally rich Dogon/Djenne/Mopti region. We will meet members of the Bamana (agricultural), Tuareg (nomadic), Dogon (agricultural), Bozo (fishing) and Peul (pastoral) ethnic groups.
Starting/Ending Point: Bamako, Mali.
Skill Level: Suitable for fit Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced.
Mileage Daily / Total Mileage: 18-55 miles per day/ 500km, 300 miles total
Cycling Conditions: Flat, 60% paved roads, 40% dirt/sand/rock, and some rough roads.
Accommodations: Small hotels and village housing (some rustic conditions), no bush camping. This is one of our most “off-the-beat-track" programs and will take you furthest from the influences of western civilization.
Van Support: None. Local transport is generally available.
Meals: Two meals per day, generally breakfast and dinner (meat, chicken, rice, beans, pasta, potatoes, tomatoes).
Other Activities: riverboat, local canoe, walking (5km, 3 miles), bus
Bike: Mountain bike recommended.
Bike Rental: Not available.
* Itineraries, fares and dates subject to change. 20% of the land portion is U.S. tax deductible to the extent allowed by law for those registering directly with Bicycle Africa. 10% discount if combined with other Bicycle Africa tours.

Since the time of the great Ghana, Mali and Songhai empires the Sahel has been the crossroads of West African trade. It still plays host to goods and people from north, south, east and west as they carry on commerce in contemporary times. In any modest sized market it is not unusual to meet people from Senegal to Chad and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bight of Benin. The Hausa, Fulani and Tuareg peoples, regularly travel throughout the vast region
The Sahel is the broad savanna that runs along the southern edge of the Sahara. Bisecting the region is the Niger River The Strong Brown God Africa's third longest and the lifeblood of central West Africa. The water can be filled with boats and the banks lined with gardens and commerce. Throughout the region you will find subsistence farmers and the semi nomadic pastoralists and nomads of the Sahara each with their own traditions and colorful culture. These groups represent some of Africa's oldest cultures and some of the people most resistant to the introduction of western institutions. We will share the road with camels, donkeys, sheep and horses. The Sahel is an enchanting world.

International Bicycle Fund 4887 Columbia Dr. S., Seattle WA 98108-1919 USA Tel/Fax: 1-206-767-0848 ~ Email: ~ Internet:

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