SOME ADVICE to the TRAVELLERS
The DOGON COUNTRY is a very picturesque region of MALI , which is moving and tied to its traditions.
Its visit is for the persons that have a ''mind of every ground'', favouring meeting with the local population and the beauty of landscapes , forgetting the " european comfort ".
---> Administrative formalities
Getting a tourist visa to the Consulate or Embassy of Mali in England.
The visa is valid 3 months for a journey of 1 month included within these 3 months.
Not to forget the compulsory vaccination against yellow fever, and think of the treatment against paludism.
---> Exchange rate
The monetary unity is FCFA : 1000 Fcfa = 1,50 Euros = 1,30 £.
The exchange rate is established there, in the banks. ( No exchange rate available out of Western Africa using the FCFA ).We can use our credit cards for money cash with difficulties in Mali.
The sun gets up at about 6H - 6H30 in the morning and lies down about 18H - 18H30.
There no difference in winter : 12H in Mopti = 12H in London,
but 1 hour in summer : 12H à Mopti = 13 H in London.
The official language is French but in the Dogon Country , the ''Dogon'' is the most spoken language.Many Dogon's guides speak English.
In the Dogon Country, 3 religions are mixed : The Animists , the Christians and the Muslims.
Mali is Muslim for about 90% of its population.
Temperatures remain hot but tolerable in general (30° a 35°).
The hottest period is from April to June ( the temperature climbs up to 40°).
In period of rains , in July , August and September , torrentials rains often take place in the evening but the temperature is staying about 25° to 30°.
The camps for ''Toubabs'' are very simple welcoming structures :a mattress on the roof of the huts or a small room with a bed and a mosquito net , toilets and ( basic ) showers , a grass hut to shelter from the sun and to have the meals.
For information , the water that feeds the showers has been scooped out by the women of the village.
It is simple but sufficient : starchies ( rice , pasta , semolina ) and meat ( chicken , sheep , zebu ) in every main meal.The beakfast : instant coffee or tea and powdered milk , local preserves and ''Vache qui rit '' , bread or doughnuts .
It is possible to buy some water in bottle as well as refreshing drinks ( ex : Coca extract , soda ) in the camps.You should envisage a budget enough for drinks : a bottle of water costs between 1.30£ and 2.00 £ in Dogon Country villages.
It is possible to recharge your appliance thanks to generators or with batteries that are installed on solar panels in some villages.Concerning your cameras , do envisage a bag tight against the dust , sand and rain .
---> Basic equipment
Envisage a flexible and solid bag , which contains all that you need :
- Cotton clothes ( no short skirts for the women ).
- Light pullover for night if need be.
- Hat or cap or other.
- Walkers , and light shoes for evening.
- Torch or frontal lamp with piles.There is no electricity !
- Paper tissues.
- Toilet paper.
- Refreshing wipes.
It is possible to wash our clothes in the plot.Do think of washing powder.
The mosquito net is not necessarily useful from November to June because there are few mosquitos at night.
Be careful your bag is not too heavy , because you will have to carry it during your walks.
---> Chemist's shop
Think of bringing a minimum , we never know !!!!
- Solar cream and Biafine.
- Stick for lips.
- ''Insect screen'' for the skin or 5/5 tropic agains the mosquitos.
- Paracetamol or equivalent.
- Immodium or Ercefuryl.
- Disinfecting eyewash.
- Bétadine or other antiseptic for wound.
- Small dressings.
It is usual to offer nuts of cola trees to the old persons in the villages as a sign of respect and friendship towards them.It is possible to buy some in Bandiagara or in Sévaré.Ask the guide.
The children often beg in the streets or in the villages : Do not give them candies ( there are no dentists there ! ) Do not give them pencils. Do not give them money :
It is not '' not to have heart '' , it is to make them understand that begging is not their future.
Their qualities would be then better promoted.
Copyright BL - 2010