A journey by air, land and river from The Gambia via Dakar and Gorée Island in Senegal, Bamako, Sévaré, Mopti and Timbuktu in Mali - up and over the mountainous Dogon country
to attend the The Pan African film festival at Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, with its superb markets and musicians. Then across the desert to visit Niamey - the capital city of Niger - revisiting old friends and making new ones .. of both the two and four-legged variety.

The
Gambia

Timbuktu
Mali

Dakar
Senegal

Burkina Faso

Gorée
Island

The Fespaco
   Festival

Bamako
Mali

Niamey
Niger

Sévaré &
Mopti

Niger Giraffes

Dogon
 Country

The
Return

Please join me on this further tale of adventures and experiences .. many pleasant and only a few not so pleasant .. when again, I was helped and guided by my invaluable friend Alaghi
and warmly welcomed into West African life by friends old and new, whilst successfully searching for
African Trade Beads and further insights into the West African ambience.

Picture and
text links to the people, animals and places we encountered are liberally scattered throughout the text, click on these to see more pictures or some of the colourful beads and jewellery "treasures" that we found, which are offered for sale on ATB.

It will be of help to the reader to have previously read
The Mali Trip, although I have included new pictures of the places as far as Mopti, which were previously described in that travelogue. Links in this colour to those relevant pages will open up a new page in your Browser, for additional information or to refresh your memories of items already published.
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Click the icons above to go to a specific page .. or start at The Gambia and follow the > arrows
Look out for
More > at the bottom right of some of the picture pages, click on it to see more photos.

At the time of writing .. areas of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger were undergoing severe problems of near starvation, following two years of drought and a plague of locusts. Although being some of the poorest countries of the world, no evidence was seen of serious problems when I visited them in February / March 2005, with everyone hoping for a proper rainy season to help them farm their way out of the previously poor rainy season's produce. The rains have not come and the news media is currently full of very saddening reports. For once, it is not war or an excess of corruption that is the cause. The people of these countries are not to blame .. rather it is most of our own governments in the richer countries of the world, who continue to just talk about "saving Africa" whilst maintaining punitive tariffs on trade, unreasonable conditions of aid and the continuous funnelling of money into the pockets of corrupt dictators .. rather than ensuring the proper distribution of help where and when it is most needed.

This situation continued despite another wake-up call from Live Aid, Sir Bob Geldof and others, 20 years after their first remarkable efforts. Niger foresaw the problem and asked the International Community for help some time ago, sadly it seems they were ignored by all the relevant bodies until news pictures of starving and dying children prompted action .. much too late for many.