Located in West Africa, Mali has land boarders with Algeria in the north, Niger in the east and the south, Burkina Fasso, and the Ivory Coast in the south, Guinea to the south west, Senegal to the west, and Mauritania to the west and to the northwest. In earlier history, Mali was the center of the western Sudan which includes Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. The empire of Mali reached its high point in the 14th century under the reign of Mansa Musa. Modern Mali was made part of the French Colony of Haut-Senegal-Niger in 1904. And, in 1920, it became the French Sudan. In 1959, the French Sudan joined with Senegal to form the Federation of Mali which proclaimed its independence on June 20th, 1960 and the federation broke up in August. Senegal became a separate state and the former French Sudan kept the name of Mali.
There were two massifs dominate Mail which is served by two rivers that are called the Niger and the Senegal rivers and their tributaries. The republic is divided into three natural zones which are the Sudanese, Sahelian, and the Saharan. In the Southwest are the mountains of the Futa Jallon. The second massif, in the circle and formed by the Niger River, is virtually a plateau and rests on the sandstone base.
What you will find on your Mali travels is a smorgasbord of old cities along the Niger River with a well documented history, endless landscapes, sand stone villages, and deserts. It will give you a great insight into pre-colonial African civilization. You will view Gao Djenne with its famous mosque; Segou, Mopti, and Timbuktu are very exciting for your Mali travel.
Dogon country is even more exciting to explore. The Dogon people have survived in this barren land and it teaches us a lesson. Another great place to explore on your Mali travel is Timbuktu. Please discover Timbuktu because it is the place that evokes the end of the world in the minds of the West. It gained the reputation as a city of mystery because no European saw it and returned to tell the tale in 1828. What is left of Timbuktu's grandeur is a small and remote but charming town located near the Niger River in the north central portion of Mali. The best and nicest way to get to Timbuktu is by riverboat. This route takes a long time. However, you will be able to view good bird life as well as the life of the local people and certainly of the Gao route, you will see hippos. You could also fly to Timbuktu from Mopti or Bamako a couple of days a week.
At the boarders of the clenching grasp of the Sahara, the south part of Mali is the most hospitable part of Mali. While temperatures in the south are only slightly hotter than the north because with a few days being below 30 degrees Celsius and some days passing 40 degrees Celsius. Things get very stifling on the more humid days during the middle of the year. December to March has the best combination of heat and humidity because neither is too high. Malians are very hospitable people and will greet visitors graceful into their homes. Mali is famous among the traveler community for its landlocked atmosphere and its easy going people and these things make Mali travel worth your while.