Djenne Things to Do Tips by atufft Top 5 Page for this destination

Djenne Things to Do: 46 reviews and 85 photos

4 more images
Young Bozo Woman Poses Proudly - Djenne

Young Bozo Woman Poses Proudly

More Djenne Village Adventures

The villages contrast quite radically in traditional practices. In a Muslim village, the women covered their hair and were quite modest in their dress. In another village, the women were topless and basically unashamed of their beautiful black skin. Regardless of gender or cultural practice, the exposure of genitalia is not to be found, except among infants and very young children, however. While some naivete certainly played into the attitudes about exposure of the breasts by some younger women, those of marriage age we were more often proud of exposing their bodies as a matter of vanity. Older women with sagging skin were more often matter of fact in their attitudes, sometimes simply not bothering to cover up in these high temperatures. Morale judgement about exposure of the body thus appeared to me to be a product of the Muslim and Christian influence. Regardless of tribe, men were more uniform in their attire. Younger men wore pants, occasonionally short pants, and T-shirts, while older men typically wrapped themselves in layers of fine white cotton fabrics that announced their status and seniority.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Jan 6, 2008
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
4 more images
Woman at Djenne Marketplace - Djenne

Woman at Djenne Marketplace

More Marketplace Costumery

The stunning costumery that market goers wore impressed me a lot. I found both men and women in exotic tribal dress and others creatively using the castaway garments from American Good Will industries. Watching market place transactions, and the movement of animal pulled carts was pure entertainment in Djenne.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Mar 27, 2007
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
4 more images
Djenne Villages Chidren Come to Great Me - Djenne

Djenne Villages Chidren Come to Great Me

Even More Great Djenne Village Portraits

I should also note that contrary to popular belief among those who have not traveled here, the vast majority of the children and adults I found in the villages were happy, healthy, and fed a good diet. Tribal children were as energetic, happy, and healthy as I've ever seen anywhere in the world, despite their obvious lack of material wealth. Among older adults, the teeth and gums of many I had observed were healthier than I'm accustom to finding within the United States, and among working adults, the muscle tone and fitness was in many cases positively worthy of admiration by western standards. In this region, of course, there are many bacteriological health risks, which contribute to a much higher mortality rate among children in particular, but some of these risks are in turn balanced by a substantially lower accident rate. Injury from automobile wrecks, for example, is unheard of here, and few of the tools, other than ordinary knifes and simple flour milling machines, I saw being used were likely to be physically dangerous. I suspect that drug abuse and crime are low here, as family and community love all and easily reign in those misfits who may stray from social convention. While the lack of material wealth would bore me after even just one day, I still envied the great time available for sharing with me and for visiting with friends and family. Under these circumstances, it's difficult to pity the tribal West African. It really is a good life.

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Mar 27, 2007
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
3 more images
Djenne Villages Mother and Children - Djenne

Djenne Villages Mother and Children

More Djenne Village Portraits

Taking portraits of tribal people is not easy because they misunderstand or mistrust the gadgetry of the camera, not knowing exactly what the tourist will do with their image. So, I took a portable printer to facilitate an exchange of gifts of sorts--a printed image for the subject for each good photo. With some practice I was able to capture genuine smiles in ways I find difficult among my own family. The tribal people are uninhibited given the chance, and so I present images here hoping that their genuine smiles will bring happiness to the viewer. I rarely paid my subjects, and my time was fleeting, so what I have here are the best images I can muster as a tourist.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Mar 27, 2007
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
4 more images
Main Entrance Djenne Mosque - Djenne

Main Entrance Djenne Mosque

Images of the Great Mud Mosque

The largest mud building in the world, the Djenne Mosque needs to be maintained every year with a coat of mud plaster, which is applied during a ceremony. We weren't there in time for the ceremonial plastering, but I made every effort to capture images of the exterior from all angles. The interior of the Mosque is not open to non-Muslims, so we didn't push our luck to see if we could arrange a tour inside. But, having visited numerous other mud mosques, I know that the interior is no so grand as the exterior.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Feb 17, 2006
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
4 more images
Overview of Market in Front of Djenne Mosque - Djenne

Overview of Market in Front of Djenne Mosque

Djenne Marketplace

I had a shirt made from some fabric made at the market, but it is ill-fitting and I don't wear it often. So, most of the marketplace attraction is not the goods for sale, but rather the people selling them. I took images of the strange pile of dried fish and the huge calabashes, but mostly I looked for interesting images of people. The villagers dress up when coming to market.

Directions: In front of the Great Mud Mosque once per week.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Feb 17, 2006
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
4 more images
Muslim Village Woman - Djenne

Muslim Village Woman

Djenn Villages is a cultural adventure

I've discussed this elsewhere, but basically there are various tribal villages within a long walk outside of Djenne, which are easily visited with the help of a guide. It's best to visit them during an off market day when everyone is hanging around home. Some tribal villages are Muslim while others are Animist. Some villages earn their living by agriculture while others do so by fishing. All the villages are interesting.

Address: None, these are best found by guide

Directions: Outside Djenne within a long walking distance or short scooter ride. Contact your guide and arrange a visit.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Aug 18, 2005
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse
2 more images
Our man in Djenne - Djenne

Our man in Djenne

Find a Guide for the Djenne Villages

Our guide found us eating at the restaurant, and I was tired and skeptical, but his pleasant and not-so-pushy manner sold me. I knew that I needed a guide for the Djenne Villages the next afternoon. Without a good guide, it's hard to find your way around outside the city walls. Also, it helps to have a scooter. Nothing fancy is needed, but something a little faster than walking will help. While my wife rested in the hotel, I jumped on the back of the scooter found by the guide and we took off. Bring some change to tip for the photos you take of villagers. The guide can help smooth over any cultural mistakes you make.

Address: Djenne Villages are a long walk from town

Directions: The area will be flooded during the rainy season, so I assume a boat is needed then. The guide will help with all this.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Aug 18, 2005
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse

atufft

“California is on the edge of the planet, not the center of the universe”

Online Now

Male

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 5 5
Forum Rank:
0 0 2 2 6

Badges & Stats in Djenne

  • 13 Reviews
  • 61 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 6 Comments
  • 6,227PageViews

Have you been to Djenne?

  Share Your Travels  

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)