Mali 2001

Mali-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September / October 2001  |  by Christian Werner

Mali 2001: River Niger

The next two days and nights I should spend on a pinasse at the River Niger sitting on the top of a rice sack. So the transport wasn´t the most comfortable one. At night I had to fight the mosquitos. But it was quite interesting. As farer as we go into the north, as much dryer the landscape got. At the stops at the villages along the river young girls came walking through the water to sell milk and fish to the people on the boat. Unfortunally the talkings on the boat were mostly finnished before they realy started, because of my bad french.

Sometime the pinasse reached Koaromé. From here a Baché (something like a shared 4&4), which transported 16 people, brought me the last km to Timbuktu. I got the seat in front next to the driver and as soon as we started I realized that I always risk my life when using public transport in Mali. The car was like the one´s in those old Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck films. The ignition lock was missing. The car had to be started with a big screwdriver while the driver was holding the right wires together. The bonnet rattled like in a comic and to use the horns you need to put 2 other wires together. The gears were at its end and the driver tried hard to find one (not always the right one) and the passenger´s door were just to be open by the driver itself. But the breaks were the best of all as it seems it hadn´t seen breakfluit for years. While driving 50 km per hour the driver needed a few hundred meters to stop the car and had to pump a lot.

© Christian Werner, 2005
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The trip
From Bamako to Mopti, Djenné, Dogon Country, along the Niger to Timbuktu and through Segou back to Bamako
Start of journey: Sep 13, 2001
Duration: 4 weeks
End of journey: Oct 13, 2001
Travelled countries: Mali
The Author
Christian Werner is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.