A city spread over three islands, Mopti sits at the junction of the Niger River and the Bani River, almost halfway between Timbuktu and Bamako. The stronghold of the Fulani tribe, Mopti is an interesting market town where various tribes go to trade for fish and salt. Vendors sell cloth, leather goods, masks, jewelry, amber and intricately woven Fulani wedding blankets. Arriving in Mopti on market day gives the impression of a chaotic medieval scene: Life is little changed from what was described by the first European explorers to the city.

Visit the waterfront markets, the open-air market and the Komoguel Mosque (patterned after the one in Djenne) with its many minarets. While there, take at least a day's side trip (preferably longer) to the Bandiagara Escarpment. Canoe trips on the scenic Bani River are also a nice way to see the countryside—it is almost impossible to take a bad picture on the river.

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