Mopti is one of the main ports in Mali, and a good gateway for many of the country’s most impressive attractions such as Djenné, Timbuktu, and Dogon Country.
Mopti is a city in the Mopti Region in Mali, north east of the capital Bamako.
There are regular buses between Mopti and the nearby city of Sevare, as well as to the capital Bamako. As Sevare is on the main Road you may find it easier to travel there then catch a local bus to Mopti.
Mopti is a major gateway for river transport along the Niger river. When rivers are high, usually from from June to December, it’s possbiel to travel by boat to Mopti from both Timbuktu and Djenné as well as Bamako.
Domestic flights formerly operated from Bamako and Timbuktu to Mopti Ambodedjo Airport, located in nearby Sevare. But currently (Jan 2016) regular flights are suspended.
The centre of Mopti is compact enough that you should be able to walk everywhere. Taxis are, however, available.
The harbour is bustling with life. Also worth a visit is the market near the mosque in the old section of town.
- Grand Mosque of Mopti. While not quite as impressive as other brick mosques across Mali it is still a sight to behold, the mosque is generally not open to non-Muslims. It has been inscribed on the tentative List UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2009.
Take a trip on a pinasse to one of the nearby Bozo villages. It should cost maximum 5,000 CFA for two hours. There is a pinasse mafia at the harbour that tries to control the pricing and asks for extraordinary prices (up to 30,000 CFA for one hour!). Avoid them.
Arrange a trip up river in a pinasse to Timbuktu.
Satimbé Travel can arrange tours to Dogon Country with private transport. Be prepared to negotiate heavily on price.
Avoid Ashraf Tours at all costs. You stand to be ripped off big time. Ashraf Tours is reliable and they do what they promise. You pay for that, ok, but otherwise you are stuck with some guides which are interested in one thing : get the most money out of the less.
Avoid acquiring guides at Bar Bozo. While the bar is a fine place for a meal and the de-facto meeting place amongst travelers, there also is a less-than-savory element which will try to engage you for trips in a boat, to Dogon Country, or any other tourist-related interest.
If you fancy it, you can buy a slab of salt from the harbour.
- Hotel Ya Pas De Problem, off Blvd de l’Independence. Excellent restaurant on the roof of this hotel. Try the Capitaine Frit (4000CFA).
- Restaurant Sigui, Blvd de l’Independence. This place has decent food, reasonable prices and a balcony with a nice view of the Niger. It is, however, frequented by many of Mopti’s irritating potential guides and souvenir sellers.
- Restaurant Bozo (has a good view across the harbour and serves cold beers, expect to get hassled by vendors even when you are inside.) (On the Eastern side of the port inlet, it’s clearly visible on this small headland).
- Bissap Café, zone commerciale (on the harbor) BP89, Mopti , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Best place to eat and very peaceful because only customers are allowed to get in. Little bit more expensive than others. During the touristic season there is often concerts.
Where to stay in Mopti
- Hotel Ya Pas De Problem (Y’a pas de problème), BP 16 (off Blvd de l’Independence) , ✉ email@example.com. Has dormitories and private rooms at reasonable prices, as well as a swimming pool and an excellent restaurant. 4000 CFA to 25000 CFA.
- Hotel le Fleuve, Rue 86. North of the city centre, this place offers decent rooms with air conditioning and hot water for 20000CFA, as well as cheap meals.
- La Maison Rouge. Very nicely decorated house. Very clean but no mosquito net. Nice garden, but no swimming pool. The restaurant is serving upper-class French food for 9000CFA. 35000CFA.
Mopti is full of people who want to sell you souvenirs and tours to various places, including river trips. Many are extremely persistent and will not take no for an answer – getting rid of them is something which you will get better at with time.
Ignore those who offer to act as your bodyguard during daylight. Mopti is not that dangerous!
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