Timbuktu Travel Guide

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In the minds of the West the name Timbuktu evokes the end of the world. The city gained its reputation as a city of mystery because no European ever saw it and returned to tell the tale until 1828.

Timbuktu used to be an important center along the trade routes (gold, salt, slaves) linking sub-Saharan Africa to North-Africa. The Tuareg and Arabic tribes ruled over these routes and this brought them their wealth. What's left of this grandeur is a small, remote but charming town made near the Niger River in north-central Mali.

The best and nicest way to get to Timbuktu is by riverboat. It does take a long time to get there by this route. From Mopti it takes about three days with stops at villages along the way.  If you want more than 2 or 3 stops, arrange to spend 4 days on the boat.  It costs 300,000CFAish to charter a pinasse - technically it'll seat 20, but more than 6 people will be cramped.  From Gao takes 3 to 4 days.  You will see good bird life as well as the life of the local people, and particularly on the Gao route should be able to see hippos.

You can fly to Timbuktu from Mopti or Bamako a couple of days a week.

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February 06, 2007 change by giorgio

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