Travel By Numbers: Mali

A trip to the fabled city of Timbuktu really is possible, says Peter Harmer. And while you're at it, head into the Sahara for an overnight trek

1960

The year in which Mali, along with Nigeria and 15 other African countries, achieved independence from colonial rule. The British Museum is organising a year of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary, starting with an exhibition called "Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa". The exhibition opens this Thursday and runs until 6 June, admission £8. britishmuseum.org

1620

The year Ségou was founded by the Bozo people. The old colonial capital of Mali, the city lies along the shores of the Niger and still boasts faded buildings from its French colonial past. The L'Hôtel Djoliba is set back from the river and offers doubles from €35. segou-hotel-djoliba.com

75

The length, in metres, of each side the square platform upon which the Great Mosque of Djenné is constructed. Djenné is a city on the River Bani celebrated for its mud brick (adobe) architecture. The mosque, built in 1907, is the largest mud building in the world. It joined Unesco's World Heritage list in 1988. Hotel Djenné is a 12-room hotel in the city offering air-conditioned doubles for 6,000 CFA francs (£35). hoteldjennedjenno.com

400,000

The estimated population of Mali's Dogon ethnic group, known for their masked dances, elegant wooden sculpture and striking mud and thatch villages. They mainly occupy the central plateau south of the River Niger in the Mopti region. Exodus runs a "Timbuktu and the Dogons" tour during which visitors use a local river boat, or pinasse, to get to individual villages. The 16-day tour including flights starts from £2,269. exodus.co.uk

9,000,000

The size in square kilometres of the Sahara, the planet's largest sand desert. Much of Mali lies in the south of the Sahara making it an excellent base from which to explore the vast expanses. The "Journey to the Heart of the Sahara and Mali" tour offered by Fulani Travel includes camping at night in the Sahara. Prices start at €2,195 per person excluding international flights. fulanitravel.co.uk

1.8m

The population of Bamako, Mali's capital and Africa's fastest-growing city. It also contains the tallest building in West Africa (the 20-storey BCEAO building). Air France flies daily from various UK cities to Bamako, with a change of planes at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. airfrance.co.uk

4,180

The length of the River Niger in kilometres. An excellent way to explore the country is through a cruise up the river. The Mali discovery tour through Responsible Travel includes a seven-hour river trip as part of a 15-day itinerary. Rates start at £1,799 per person excluding flights. responsibletravel.com

13

The duration, in days, of the "Road to Timbuktu" tour run by Imaginative Traveller. The trip takes you from Bamako to Timbuktu and includes excursions to the Douentza Elephant Reserve and Djenné, before arriving in Timbuktu. Prices from £2,495, not including flights. imaginative-traveller.com

News
The DNA from the 11 Stone Age skeletons has revealed that the hunter gatherers actually became part of the incoming community of farmers
science
Life & Style
Posh spice: Norman Musa of Ning restaurant, Manchester
food + drinkPeranakan cuisine looks set to be the next big thing in British dining
News
peopleAlan McGee praises Bob Geldof for eulogy at Peaches' funeral
News
Hard at it: 'We have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy,' wrote John Maynard Keynes. Has he been proved correct?
newsCampaigners call for 30-hour working week to allow for healthier, fairer society - and more fun
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
newsThe Gherkin to be auctioned off as receivers called in
News
people... says Canada's fisheries minister
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
Home discomforts: (left to right) Viv Albertine, Chris McWatters, Mary Roscoe and Liam Gillick in ‘Exhibition’
tv
Life & Style
Alexander McQueen Ready to Wear A/W 2006
fashionV&A museum to hold critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' retrospective of the late British fashion designer's work
Sport
World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a media workout at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas
sportIn an exclusive interview, Floyd Mayweather says his main concern these days is a legacy that cannot just be calculated in $100 bills
Life & Style
The study is the latest to suggest a possible link between coffee and reduced diabetes risk
health
Life & Style
tech
Life & Style
tech
New Articles
indybestWhether you wear them long, short or ignore them most of the time, curls need some TLC. It’s time to treat those wavy tresses
Voices
Call centres
voices
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    Cornwall is celebrating after being granted minority status - but what of other English counties' claims to independence?

    Which English counties should claim independence?

    From Berkshire to Yorkshire, our writers go back to their roots...
    Campaigners call for 30-hour working week to allow for healthier, fairer society - and more time for fun

    Campaigners call for 30-hour working week

    They argue it will allow for healthier, fairer society - and more time for fun. Bring it on, says Tom Hodgkinson, editor of 'The Idler'
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The fall of a mighty Austro-Hungarian stronghold

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    The fall of a mighty Austro-Hungarian stronghold
    Peranakan cuisine looks set to be the next big thing in British dining

    Curry without the hurry: Peranakan cuisine

    The deliciously complex flavours – and Slow Food ethos – of Peranakan cuisine had Sudi Pigott smitten when she visited Singapore
    Alexander McQueen coming home to the V&A museum with critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' exhibition

    Alexander McQueen coming home

    V&A museum to hold critically acclaimed 'Savage Beauty' retrospective of the late British fashion designer's work
    10 best products for curly hair

    10 best products for curly hair

    Whether you wear them long, short or ignore them most of the time, curls need some TLC. It’s time to treat those wavy tresses
    Floyd Mayweather exclusive interview: ‘I want to be the greatest – but also the smartest’

    Floyd Mayweather exclusive interview

    ‘I want to be the greatest – but also the smartest’
    Luis Garcia: Dreaming of a Red double

    Luis Garcia: Dreaming of a Red double

    Former Liverpool and Atletico midfielder, whose ‘ghost goal’  beat Chelsea in 2005, tells Jack Pitt-Brooke of his hopes for two title triumphs
    Scott Redding: Can the Beckham of the bikes make GB roar again?

    Scott Redding: Can the Beckham of the bikes make GB roar again?

    It is nearly 40 years since Britain had an iconic motorcycling world champion. Now a gifted 21-year-old says he is after title holder and old rival Marc Marquez
    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
    Why musicians play into their old age

    Why musicians play into their old age

    Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
    How can you tell a gentleman?

    How can you tell a gentleman?

    A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
    Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

    Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

    The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
    Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

    Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

    Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled