Djenné raises its head just above the flood plain and is like a vast hive drawn up from wet inland delta earth. It is still a city hardly touched by the 21st century.
Though the few hotels in Djenné have electricity, to walk the streets at night with only oil lamps (and the dazzling starlight) illuminating the adobe courtyards is amazing and timeless. It’s a cliché to say it but in this case it really is true that you step back a thousand years.
People (especially women) are wary of being photographed and so you have to be discreet to get foreground figures. Entry to the Great Mosque is closed to tourists because a French photographer used it a decade ago for a fashion shoot of scantily clad models.
However, a small tip to one of the boys hanging about will get you in, unless you are a woman as they are forbidden. It is actually more impressive on the outside, especially from an overlooking rooftop – another small fee required – during the vast and dusty Monday Market held in front of it. With all the dust and hustle and bustle, one can almost blend into the background.