The Niger, as with most great rivers cutting a swath through a country, serves as a lifeline.
Food through fishing, agriculture through irrigation - and most importantly, commerce.
Even as waters are still receding in the "dry season", boats plied the waters from Mopti downriver to Korioume, Gao and beyond.
Lac Debo more than trebles in size, opening great channels where the big ships can ply their trade for a few precious months.
Lucky for us, our wee boat was a little roomier than these - which, if you're enterprising, you can catch a ride on all the way down river to Tim.
An inveterate traveler, who has explored all seven continents, Neil centres his freelance writing today on travel.
Published work includes travel writing in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Buffalo News, Travel Scoop and The Wonderful World of Budget Travel. Featured destinations include: Toronto, Ontario; Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Qufu, China; Oaxaca, Mexico; Jersey, Channel Islands; Trans-Siberian Express.
Neil’s photography focuses on finding images of the worlds he visits that capture the essence of “place”. Whether photographing landscapes, archaeological sites or locals, the goal is to make a picture emotive of what brought one there.