Only, Bamako is definitely not retreating… I have just checked up on Wikipedia, and it says that Bamako “is currently estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa (sixth fastest in the world)”…so no, definitely not retreating. You do, however, need to retreat from it from time to time.
I’m always on the look out for somewhere different to go, to get away from the hustle and bustle that is everyday life in the Bamako streets. For some or other strange reason, I don’t yet have a photo of the “hustle and bustle” and I shall endeavour to get a few in the coming weeks. We (husband and I) don’t get out much due to the fact that we ought to be working, so when the opportunity arises I am quite happy to jump for a chance of exploration of a different sort. Last time I blogged about Mali, it was after enjoying Sunday Sundowners, at the Hôtel Mandé.
This week’s new location is Café d’Afrique – Logon River Restaurant, also situated on the banks of the River Niger, further out to the east of the city.
At this time of year the river is not in full flow. During and immediately after the rainy season (July-January) the water levels are considerably higher, and would presumably be fast-flowing right up to the terrace of this restaurant. At this time of year, the main channel is now quite some way off. However, there is a nice rocky patch in the river bed at this particular point resulting in a large pool of water for the relaxing clients to sip drinks by, which is a whole lot better than sitting by a bank of dust.
We pitched up around Saturday lunch-time, and noted that it was particularly quiet. This suits us fine… service usually is better when there are fewer people to run around after. Our guide for the afternoon reckons that when it is busy, you are better off ordering yourself two drinks at a time because things do tend to slow down considerably, and you could be left feeling a little parched. The restaurant is only open on weekends and Sundays are busy days with ex-pats and their families coming for the afternoon to splash around in the pool.
It is worth noting at this point, that there are two separate parts to this restaurant. The area around the pool appears to be more informal and probably best suited for families and kids. It has a small drinks bar and a nicely paved café-style terrace all laid out under the natural shade of some leafy trees. The second area has a much larger bar, where most of the service comes from, a huge thatched-roof open area under which are some rather fancier wicker armchairs (with cushions!) and looks more like an outdoor lounge. This would, no doubt, be more suitable to business entertaining and slightly more sophisticated clients than ourselves. We chilled out long enough for a quick drink in the less formal terraced area and we shall be coming back…
Logon River Restaurant, River Niger, Bamako, Mali - February, 2011