Way To Go: Mali

By Bunmi Ajiboye

June 17, 2011

The Republic of Mali is one of the countries in West Africa which offers sublime tourist destinations. This once French-colonised country is bordered by Algeria, Niger, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mauritania.

The capital city is Bamako and the country gained independence from France on June 20, 1960. Mali has a rich cultural heritage as well as a significant historical richness, having been the centre of a great West African empire in existence as far back as the 14th century.

One of the historical artefacts of Mali is the Ahmed Baba Manuscript Centre in Timbuktu, which houses manuscripts that date back to the 13th century. Now a World Heritage Site, Timbuktu was once a world centre of Islamic learning, thanks to its Sankore University and Mosque. A visit to Mali is incomplete without seeing the wonders of historical antiquity in Timbuktu and tourists can take camel desert rides.

The Great Mosque of Djenne is another hallowed tourist site. Entirely built with sun-baked mud bricks, this architectural masterpiece dating back to the 16th century, is the largest mud-brick structure in the world.

Bamako, Mali’s capital Bamako also offers its own tourist sites. The musical boom which has made Malian music an international export began in Bamako with the likes of Salif Keita. The city houses the National Library and the National museum which exhibits the rich history of the Malians.

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