Not many people know this: Djenne is famous for the world's largest mud-made mosque, registered as a UNESCO world heritage site. And to see this so-called "The Great Mosque of Djenne" was one of my main reasons for coming to Mali. The below are the details of how I travelled between Mopti and Djenne:

I should have arrived in Mopti's main bush-taxi terminal much much earlier, but I just finished my Dogon hike late yesterday and I was slow as well as lazy this morning. I turned up there around 8:30am, which is still early enough to catch a local bus in many countries, but not in Mali. The first bush taxi for Djenne had already gone a couple of hours earlier and I had to wait for a long time this morning for the next bush taxi to go.

An hour passed (9:30am).

Another hour passed (10:30am).

Nothing was happening....

By 11am there were only 6 people waiting for Djenne - three Malian people, two German women and me. My patience was nearly running out while the Malian people didn't seem to mind waiting forever. In fact, one of the German women and I even tried to convince the driver to leave for Djenne but no success: there had to be more than 14 to 15 passengers to completely fill the bush-taxi. It was very unlikely that another 8 to 9 people would turn up in the next hour.... In the end what the two German women and I decided to do was that we paid XOF10,000 each (about USD20.00) for the remaining empty seats. The fare for a bush-taxi from Mopti to Djenne is normally between XOF2,250 and 2,500 per person. Thus, three of us paid extra XOF7,500 each in order to hurry our departure.

Finally, Our bush-taxi set off for Djenne at 11:30am. However, what was utterly absurd then was that as soon as we left Mopti, our bush-taxi got full. I then wanted to have a serious argument with the driver only if my French were good enough....
What did we pay the extra XOF7,500 for?! We were just ripped off.


There was a fee to be paid (XOF1,000 per person) just before we reached Djenne. I was given a ticket in exchange for the fee then, but nobody checked my ticket later on when I was in Djenne. Again, what was it for....?!

After two hours on the road, we reached Niger River and we had to take a boat with our bush-taxi on it to cross the river. Then I wondered if crossing this river would ever be possible in wet season (it was dry season in Mali now).



We arrived in Djenne around 14pm. Huh.... And I could easily spot the Great Mosque, a mud-made mosque, as it stood up right beside the bush taxi terminal in the middle of the town.


The Great Mosque was very impressive and unique in terms of its size and design. It wasn't massive, but as it's said to be the world's largest, it was definitely making nearby pedestrians look tiny.



This remarkable design must be inextricably linked to the use of mud for the entire building. If other materials such as wood and concrete had ever been used, this mosque would have looked completely different.



Djenne is a small town in Niger Delta and is associated with a long history of the trans-Saharan trade.
Apparently, salt, gold, and even slaves used to be traded in and around this area, but today I saw none of these. Instead I saw a local Monday-market being held right in front of the mosque where people were selling all kinds of things such as flash-lights, calculators, jewelery, doughnuts, vegetables, fruits, bread, goats, etc etc.


The Monday market was busy, extremely busy and just busy! It was being held right in front of the mosque and I was unable to take a photo of this spectacular mosque without any street vendors or pedestrians crossing.


As the super busy market was about to close before dusk, a lot of people started packing up and a couple of bush taxis were getting ready for Mopti then. I wouldn't mind staying in Djenne for a couple of days to observe this mosque more and to stroll around this lovely town, but I'd left all my luggage at a hotel in Mopti and I wasn't 100% sure if a bush-taxi was running to Mopti every single day, so I decided to go back there today. Fortunately, I waited "only one hour" for my bush-taxi to Mopti this time.


On my way back to Mopti, there was one drunken Malian guy who sat next to me in the van. He actually threatened me by saying: "Give me money now. Otherwise, I'll kill you...." It's a long story and I don't go into details here: in short, he was just a looser and was kicked out by one of the big bush-taxi drivers afterwards. Hahaha.


In the end, I made it back to Mopti safely and I'm going back to Bamako tomorrow morning.


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