Getting There in Timbuktu

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Getting there is half the fun. Timbuktu did not get its reputation for being at the end of the world for nothing. Basically you have three options: by air, by land and by boat.

By air
Air Mali has flights from Bamako and from Gao. There is a bus to the airport that costs about 1000 CFA.

By road
It's not easy but it's possible. You can either get here with your own 4WD or by bus. The 4WD is the realitively comfortable option; they operate like taxi brousses. The best places to catch one are Mopti and Douazenta. Depending on the state of the road (or rather: trail) transport from Mopti can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. The bus is actually an open lorry, even more crowded than a 4WD, and considerably slower. In any case, if you have the time, take the boat.

By boat
The most scenic way of transport. There are frequent tourist, public and freight pinasses from Mopti and Gao. During the wet season there is also a bigger boat, the Comanav, which goes all the way from Bamako. The boat stops at Kabara, some ten km out of town. Count on three to five days' travel from Mopti and Gao, with stops in villages along the way.

By camel
Certainly one of the more adventurous ways of getting to Timbuktu. For a price, it is possible to tag along with a caravan across the Sahara desert. 

May 23, 2005 change by jst
May 22, 2005 change by giorgio

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