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Mali Trip Pictures (Page 2 of 2) from May 25 to June 08, 2008

To return to Mali Pictures Page 1 or proceed to Mali Journal.

May 28, 2008. At 6am we set out from Sangha.

We wander south-east along the escarpment...

...and then descend.

Small cliff dwellings (Tellem houses)...

...can be seen along the way.

The gorge opens up and we have our first view of the sandy flat lowland.

Further on as we descend the rocky path...

...our first glimpse of Ireli.

The drop of elevation from the upper escarpment to the lowland approx. 300 to 500m.

Wooden calabashes are used to store the dead women hair and pottery for the man hair.

Dogon houses were doted along the bottom of the cliff.

An example how the houses are supported.

These houses are occupied by Dogons.

It is the settlement called IRELI.

We are able to wander among the houses freely.

One of Ireli's Togina's (meeting place).

A game played by the locals.

Painting depicting Dogon beliefs and animals which once roamed the area.

As we make our way along the cliff we get a closer look at the Tellem houses (cliff dwellings).

The Tellem people used to occupy this area prior to the Dogon people.

The cliff dwelling no longer are occupied, but are used by the Dogon people as tombs to bury the dead.

Each symbol painted on the outside of the Togina has a special meaning.

Ropes made from the bark of the Baobab tree can be seen hanging down from the cliff dwellings/tombs.

Dogon people use the leaves for sauces, the fruit for monkeys and brewing beer and the bark to make rope.

Part of the Ireli cliff dwellings.

A boy carrying water to his house.

We expected a few cliff dwellings,...

...but there are hundreds.

More buildings depicting Dogon paintings.

The Dogon villages at the base of those cliff dwellings consists of the ...

...usual fetish area and Togina (meeting area).

Some cliff dwellings are so far up the cliff, that it is hard to imagine... anyone could get there, let alone hosting up building supplies.

Half way between Ireli and Banani lays the settlement Peque.

We walk along sandy tracks in the lowland.

Passing the Tellem cliff dwellings of Peque.

The Dogon Village of BANANI.

Unique wooden doors representing maybe breasts?

Banani's Tellem cliff dwellings.

The circular or square small mud huts with straw roofs (witches hats we called them).

Nicely decorated wooden doors.

More cliff dwellings/tombs of Banani.

A good example of traditional Dogon houses.

From the lowland we scramble up the escapement to Gogoli.

On the way up we have good views of nearby cliff dwellings.

At the top we are rewarded with a panoramic view of the area.

The lowland.

We pass through the Bongo, a 90m natural tunnel.

Local children found us and...

...attach themselves to Mike.

May 30, 2008. A straight line from Douentza to TIMBUKTU on the GPS.

At 5:30am the first light appears on the horizon and we turn from the main highway onto the Timbuktu road.

195km from Douentza to the Timbuktu ferry.

Sand and more sand.

At the ferry port to cross the Niger River.

Waiting in a Bedouin tent for 2 1/2 hours for the ferry... make it to our side of the river.

We made it to legendary Timbuktu.

It had taken us 7 1/2 hours to the ferry.

The all important Timbuktu stamp in our passports.

A quick visit to the Dyingerey Ber Mosque.

It is the oldest mosque in West Africa... as early as the 14th century.

The outer walls of the mosque.

A massive dust/sand storm approaches.

It is tough to describe how intimidating the approach of the storm is.

Kilometer long wall of billowing clouds moving quickly,...

...engulfing everything in its path.

May 31, 2008. This is why everyone hate this road, washboard for kilometers...

...& kilometers, rattling every piece of bolt and part on the motorcycle loose.

Then there is of course the sand...

...deep sand...

...and with the start of the rainy season...

..a dozen of these water crossings.

As it only takes us 6 hours on the return we have some daylight left and ...

...decide to head toward Hombori, further east in Mali.

An 80km stretch between Douentza and Hombori is called Mali's monument valley.

Sandstone buttresses, or mesas, dot the desert landscape.

One would think we are in Arizona.

In the distance we can see the LA MAIN DE FATIMA...

...or in English THE HAND OF FATIMA. Here we were stranded for a while as Mike's motorcycle did not want to start.

June 01, 2008. By miracle we made it back to Douentza were we are unable to start the bike again.

800km from Bamako, we find this trucker who loads the bike in the back.

It takes us (3) days to cover the 800km. The truck broke down halfway...

...this is how the vehicle was hoisted (very scary)...

...reattaching the springs and welding the rear shock.

For detailed occurrence over the three (3) days see the Journal for June 01 to 03.

On day 3 we stop on the side of the road to load some leaves in the back of the truck.

The "motorcycle garage" in Bamako, Capital of Mali.

Motorcycles and parts scattered on the side of the road under a tree.

But the amazing story is that the mechanic found the problem in 5 minutes.

The relay had shorted out in one of the water crossings on the Timbuktu road.

To top it all off two (2) used relays from the scrap yard were found.

June 03 to 05, 2008. We stayed at Jean-Bakir and Marim Bertet's campsite in one of their beautiful bungalows.

It was them who helped us find the mechanic.

The site is located at N12 36.145, W07 56.121 and set up for overlanders.

The bathrooms are western style and clean.

Here we had to take Mike to the clinic to get tested for Malaria, but luckily negative. Heat exhaustion was the verdict.

June 06, 2008. We had no idea what this day had in store for us. To cross the river we had to use the train bridge.

The main highway as shown on the GPS and map from Toukoto to Befoulabe...

...we thought it was paved.

As the road continues to get worse, we question if we had missed a turn somewhere.

We backtrack only to end up on another road leading nowhere...

...night falls and we are forced to pitch a tent in the bush.

June 07, 2008. Still looking for the main road we cover 400km of dirt single tracks...

...every so often stopping to ask for directions... villages like this.

This person was super friendly and even spoke some English.

It took us (4) hours to retrace our steps and all we saw were villages that consisted of straw huts (no electricity).

Finally we make it back to a gravel road and notice a nail in the tire.

At Diangounte-Kamara we finally hit pavement and the right road (400km & 10hrs of riding in the bush).

Setting up camp on the roof top of the Auberge in Kayes.

In the morning of June 08, 2008 we wake up to a new friend...

...outside our tent the Scorpion. Mali a true adventure.