|After around 32 hrs of travel (Sydney - Bangkok - Addis Ababa - Bamako) we finally arrived in Mali yesterday. Kunta was at the airport to meet us and took us to our hotel, the Sleeping Camel, run by an Australian called Matt. By coincidence, Matt used to work with our tour guide in Central Asia, Al - small world!
Today was a fairly easy day. Kunta picked us up at the hotel and took us to the National Museum. Apart from the museum exhibits there was a tourism expo going on, with stands from different countries in West Africa so we were able to see where we are going on this trip - it looks like it will be a very interesting trip.
After lunch we returned to the hotel for a siesta and Kunta picked us up again at 4pm to take us to an artisan market near the river, then to his house to meet the family. It was good to see his wife, Maimouna who is expecting their second child in February/March, Fadi who is around 14 and lives with them, Harber a relation from Timbuktu and of course little Patricia who is now 2 years old. She is a cute little girl, we gave her a toy koala and she called it "baby" and gave it to her mother to feed! We thought she lost it when she went outside and we could hear the screams - we thought a goat had eaten it, but they found it again and all was well.
We're back at the hotel now having dinner. Tomorrow we hit the road to drive around 200km to Mandingo country where we will stay the night. Our itinerary is very flexible and we will take each day as it comes - I think we also visit a game park over the next couple of days.
Not sure how we will go for internet along the way, so will update this diary when I can.