Mali: River Cruising in Mopti

For an even better experience of the “Venice of Mali”, one needs to get out on the river and cruise along the harbor. Thousands of colorful boats of all sizes docked along the shore – from tiny fishing boats to large trading boats that carry fish and other goods to as far as Niger. Flags of many west African nations fly above the boats indicating traders who came here from all over the continent (except for perhaps FC Barcelona flag – maybe it was the team’s forward Ousmane Dembélé visiting his parents). As you cruise tranquil waters, while sipping super-sweet black tea from a tiny glass, you see farms and small villages on the other side of the river, the confluence of Bani with Niger River, and small fishing boats propelled by poles. The water levels this year are the lowest in record, as is the tourism – I was the first tourist in Mopti in a week.