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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea