This Malian journey retraced segments of Mungo Park’s (more about him in a moment) African journeys. The travelers started in the capital, Bamako. From there, they went to Segou, Mopti, Sangha near the Bandiagara Escarpment, Dogon country, Djenne, villages along the Niger River, Kabara (the Port of Tombouctou), and Tombouctou. During this journey to one of the world’s Mysterious Places, the travelers met members of tribes whose names conjured up images in the mind’s eye of long ago adventures — Bambara, Dogon, and Tuareg. In early November, a hot, dry wind begins to blow from the Sahara. It is the Harmattan. The skies of Mali become gray and will, except for brief respites, stay that way until late February. The photographs in this presentation were taken from November 3, 1996, through November 17, 1996.

What appears to be some type of decoration is really a simple solution to a fundamental problem. The wooden staves (left) allow workers to easily climb the tower after each rainy season so they can apply a fresh layer of mud.

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