The first inhabitants of the city were the Bozos, a people living from fishing. Later there were also the Soninkes, the Malinkes and finally the Bambara people in the 16th century.
Segou is often considered to be the second city of Mali, and is certainly one of the most important ports in Mali.
In 2004 the region was inhabited by 1,887,100 people, of which nearly half younger than 15 years old.
The city is about 240km from Mali's capital, Bamako.
You can travel by river easily to Mopti, continuing on towards Gao, Wednesdays are your best bet.
Segou is on the main road therefore it is easy to get buses on the route between Bamako (CFA 2000) and Mopti (CFA 4500).
You can easily walk around the centre of the town, but to reach some of the outlying hotels you can easily get a taxi ~250-500cfa.
The Bambara people speak the Bambara language.
The most impressive architecture in Mali is to be found in the colonial buildings in the government district, however being government houses it's best not to take photos of them. The port is fairly small compared to Mopti but still worth a visit as part of a walk along the waterfront from the government district.
- 1 Grand Friday Mosque of Ségou. Completed in 2009, this large mosque is the main gathering point for Friday prayers and an impressive sight.
Visit the Craft centre along the Mopti road, it's in a distinctive bright orange mud building set next to large mud quarries. For CFA 500 you will be given a guided tour and explanation of how bogolan clothes are made and even have the chance to try your hand at creating your own masterpiece. They also have a shop with work that is generally of a higher quality than on market stands.
Take a walk along the waterfront from the government district to the port.
Festival sur le Niger, an annual music and dance festival in late January/early February.
Segou is famous for its bogolan cloth, or mud clothing (literally translated as "earth clothe" in the Bambara language), the craft centre is the best place to buy these from (note that the prices are fixed), but there are also plenty of street vendors selling them. Opposite the Hotel L'Auberge are several small shops and stands selling a variety of traditional Malian art and crafts including masks, bogolans, carvings, Tuareg boxes.
- [formerly dead link] Atelier Ndomo (On the way out of town towards Mopti just before the Hotel Independence). for great Bogolan
- [dead link] Espace Bajidala (On the way into Segou from Bamako, before you hit the main street in the Administrative Quarter on your Left (coming from Bamako) and a few blocks down on the edge of the river). Center of Contemporary Art in Segou
- Association des Potières de Kalabougou. They fire their pottery every Sunday around 4pm but are making pottery every other day of the week.. Pottery village of Kalabougou
- [dead link] Association des Potières de Farako. Pottery Village of Farako
Hotel L'Auberge and Hotel Indépendance both have good restaurants.
- 1 Le Soleil de Minuit (Center of town, opposite Djoliba Hotel). Excellent food, but rather slow service.
- 1 Hotel l'Auberge, ☏ . Clean, friendly, a nice swimming pool, most rooms have aircon and a very good (air conditioned) restaurant.
- 2 Djoliba Hotel (In centre of town, intersection of Blvd El Hadj Omar Tall and Rue 21), ☏ . Quiet, clean and friendly. Kids for free. Excellent food including several vegetarian options. Run by a German couple who speak both German, French and English.
- Hotel Delta, ☏ .
- Hotel Indépendence, ☏ . A nice clean hotel, some of the rooms can be quite small. It has a swimming pool and the food is excellent. The only downside is that it's quite a way out of the town centre on the Mopti Road. CFA 12 000-18 000.
- 3 Hotel L'Esplanade. Right on the edge of the river with a great restaurant.
- Motel Mivera, ☏ . From CFA 10 000.
- 4 Motel Savane, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Teriya Bugu  "Centre du Tourisme Solidaire", on the way east between Segou and San is a great ecotourism "resort" that is off the beaten path and deserves a visit if you can make it!
- Visit Gao, Mali's north-eastern region.