I am a little uncertain of the safety situation in Mali, though all my research and recent discussions say I should be perfectly fine as long as I stay in the South of the country. All the military problems are in the far North, and for the most part the South has been stable for a few years. It seems the vast majority of locals just want to get on with life, and wish the trouble makers would stop. All of the amazing things to see are in the far North (Timbuktu, etc.) but there is no way I can go there now, it’s extremely unsafe.
In fact I am later told the Mali military will physically stop me from driving there if I were foolish enough to try.
Once again, I will just have to come back one day in the future.
Not far from the border I stop for a night in Sibi and I’m extremely glad I did. It’s a beautiful town, with the last of the mountains from Guinea and slightly less dense vegetation. Happily, it now only rains for an hour or so every couple of days in the late afternoon, a massive improvement over the last months of continual downpours.
I checkout a couple of waterfalls in the area, and find a great secluded place to camp for another night in the middle of nowhere. Moving a rock near my campsite with the Jeep I find a scorpion, and then decide not to move any more rocks.
Walking through the small town is a great way to get the vibe of Mali, and the Police checkpoints on the roads are friendly and efficient.
I like this place already!