Vibrant, Colorful, Weekly West African Market!
Location: Djenné , Mali
Getting There: Djenné is an old town on an island in the Bani River in the west African country of Mali
Transport: Djenné is 130 km south west of Mopti. Infrequent buses and private shared taxis will help you make your way to Djenné but from what I understand you need to be patient and expect very crowded conditions. You will probably want to arrive on Sunday night and spend the night and then leave the next day. As of 2018, the political situation makes it almost impossible travel in Mali.
Times: The market goes early Monday morning until mid afternoon. Many sellers start to arrive the night before and sleep in the market area and get ready for the market the next day.
First of all… I was in Mali in 2010 and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to visit the parts of Mali that I was able to get to. Although I wanted to visit Timbuktu (who doesn’t??) the political situation at the time was already starting to be unstable and not many people were making their way to Timbuktu. I was part of an Overland tour which traveled through Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Monday market in Djenné is probably my most favorite market I have ever been to. This market was the one that made me fall in love with visiting local markets and I have continued to seek them out ever since.
Djenné’s old town is a UNESCO recognized World Heritage site. There are 2 main attractions in the town. The first is the Great Mosque which is made of mud. The mud is packed in with wooden beams that support the structure but also help support the workers when they are doing the annual repairs at the end of every rainy season, on the mosque.
The second attraction is the market that is held every Monday in front of the Mosque. This market starts to set up on Sunday afternoon and into the evening. We arrived via ferry from the mainland and then after checking into where we were staying, we took a tour of the village saw the mosque. After that we were free to wander and see the market setting up. On Monday I spent several hours just wandering the market and photographing the colorful outfits of the men and women buying and selling in the market as well as seeing what they were selling. An abundance of colorful cloth was the backdrop for the market with many stalls selling grains, rice, dried fish, etc.