Mali is a very poor country. People for the most part are subsistence farmers or nomadic herdsmen. Along the Niger River fishermen are the main population.

People were usually friendly. They were always waving at use when we drove by a village or settlement. When we stopped, invariably the kids started running towards us to watch us. Everywhere there are tourists, there are peddlers trying to sell everything you can imagine. This was sometimes quite bothersome.

Most of the time adult people did not like it when I was taking pictures. Children had no problem with that, they often posed for me. But sometimes they asked for money when I wanted to take a picture.

Many of the women were very attractive. Especially one Dogon lady that posed for me had a beautiful face.

Women wear mostly traditional clothes, ankle length dresses or skirts, usually very colorful. Only in the large cities would you see women in western clothes. They almost always were young women or teenagers. Men are divided about 50/50 between traditional clothes and western style clothes.

Tea making

One thing that seems to be very important to everybody in Mali is the tea. They perform an elaborate ritual every time they make tea. They start with getting hot charcoal on a wire brazier. They fill a small teapot half with green tea leaves, and top it off with water. The little teapot holds only about one coffee mug full of water. The water is then boiled with the tea leaves. Once the water is boiling, they add a lot of sugar (about three table spoons). They then pour the tea into a small cup and from there back into the tea pot. This is done 20 times or more. The pouring back and forth is done by lifting the pot high above the cup. Then everybody gets about ½ of a small glass of the sweet tea.

Some of the Tribes in Mali


This is the major tribe in Mali, with most of the political power.


The Bela used to be the slaves (or servants) of the Touareg. They are mainly in the central parts of Mali.


These are fishermen along the Niger River.


The Dogon are a population in central Mali that have been very isolated for centuries. According to Hochstetler et al. (2004), there are seven Dogon languages and many sub-varieties that are more or less mutually incomprehensible. Genetically, the different Dogon villages have been genetically isolated for a long time, according to M. H. Cazes (1986).


The Fulani are nomadic herdsmen. They are found in Mali, Burkina Faso and Sénégal.


The Touareg come from the northern parts of Mali. They are the major population around Tombouctou and to the north.


Hochstetler, J. Lee, J. A. Durieux and E. I. K. Durieux-Boon, SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2004-004, SIL International, 2004 Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogon language area.

M. H. Cazes, Am J Hum Genet. (1986), Vol. 39(1), pp 96-111, PMCID: PMC1684034, Genetic origins of the Dogon population in the Arrondissement of Boni (Mali).

Following are some pictures of the people in Mali.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Dogon Kids
Dogon kids. (1219k)
Dogon Kids
Dogon kids. (1041k)
Bozo Kids Watching
Bozo kids watching us. (654k)
Youngster. (838k)
Young Kid
Young kid. (428k)
Bozo Girl
Bozo girl. (603k)
Dogon Men Traditional Clothes
Dogon men in traditional clothes. (705k)
 Man Obama T-shirt
Man in Obama t-shirt. (791k)
Man Wooden Hat
Man with wooden hat. (712k)
Laughing. (416k)
Man Traditional Clothes
Man in traditional clothes. (730k)
Village Chief Sangha
Village chief of Sangha. (762k)
Guide Preparing Tea
My guide, preparing his tea. (780k)
Guides Way Elephants
My guides on the way to the elephants. (791k)
Guides Touareg
One of my guides, a Touareg. (450k)
Head Guide Elephant Reserve
The head guide in the elephant reserve. He was the one that carried me over the deep swamp. (582k)
Local Guide Tombouctou
My local guide in Tombouctou. (648k)
Close-up Mali Man
Close-up of Mali man. (507k)
Family Ségou Festival
Family at the Ségou festival. (715k)
Dogon Ladies Colorful Dresses
Dogon ladies in colorful dresses. (887k)
Dogon Ladies Carrying Merchandise
Dogon ladies carrying merchandise on their heads. (962k)
Dogon Lady Carrying Baby
A Dogon lady, carrying her baby on her back. (903k)
Dogon Ladies Negotiating Sales
Dogon Ladies negotiating sales. (930k)
Woman Mix Traditional Western
Woman in a mix of traditional and western styles. (573k)
Dressed Ségou Festival
Dressed up for the Ségou festival. (645k)
Woman Western Style Clothes
Woman in western style clothes at the Ségou festival. (503k)
Close-up Baby Back Mother
Close-up of baby on the back of his mother. (788k)
Older Woman
Older woman. (556k)
Unusual Earrings
Unusual earrings. (525k)
Close-up Mali Lady
Close-up of Mali lady. (542k)
Close-up Mali Lady Dressed
Close-up of Mali lady, dressed up for the festival in Ségou. (686k)
Woman Watching Festival
Woman watching the festival. (432k)
Beautiful Dogon Lady
Beautiful Dogon lady. (719k)

This page contains 33 pictures

Main page for Mali

Page last updated on Sun Mar 10 17:20:06 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)

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