Marrakech and Fes – Two Ancient Citadels, Two Very Different Vibes

Sometimes we all long to immerse ourselves in the bustle and surprise of somewhere other, somewhere truly exotic and unique. With Morocco, we in Europe have the orient just a couple of hours flight away.

Morocco has long been the trading post between Europe and Africa. The great Saharan caravans brought gold across the desert from the south and traded with produce from the silk route, Europe and Morocco itself.

The two great citadels of trade were Marrakech and Fes.

The Berber and the Tuareg – A Snapshot of Situations

The Berbers are a proud race with one of the longest histories on earth. They called North Africa their home long before the arrival of the Arabs. Their culture is believed to date back more than 4,000 years and ancient Berber states called Mauritania and Numidia existed in classical times.

Between the 11th and 13th centuries, two great Berber dynasties – the Almoravids and the Almohads – much of north-west Africa and parts of Spain. Today, there are substantial Berber populations in Morocco and Algeria, plus smaller numbers in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Security for the Festival In the Desert and Caravan of Peace trip.

Below is a response I gave to Ethical Travel Magazine’s questions about security for my forth coming trip to Festival in The Desert and The Carvan Of Peace.  

 

1) Safety, specifically my precautions.

 

My pet topic!

 

Safety, when it comes to travel, always lies primarily on the level of the local and the specific. 

 

Take health. If you are seriously injured when travelling- say you have a heart attack – your best chance of survival lies in the people looking after you knowing how to get you quickly to the nearest hospital or doctor, rather than calling on the million dollar medivac evacuation package offered by your insurance company. If being medivaced out of say the sahara desert is your best chance of survival you have probably had it.

 

Then when you get to the doctor, he or she can best diagnose your problem if he has specific information about what happened, what are your symptoms and some of your medical history. 

 

Your best chances of survival have depended on local solutions and specific knowledge.

 

It is exactly the same for security.

 

The government warning us generally that terrorists target airplanes and airports does nothing for our security. How do we decide on travel plans? We can’t not fly. This sort of travel advice just induces fear. 

 

Governments warning us that a bomb can made out of only 100ml of liquid gives security staff something concrete to work on and would give the individual something practical to understand: if you see someone mixing liquids or creams on a flight you know to sound the alert. 

 

Being told by western governments that: “There is a high risk of terrorist attack, and attacks can be indiscriminate”, which has been the FCO’s mantra on west African countries for 3-4 years now, tells the traveller nothing. 

 

This was even the advice on the Mauritanian page before my first trip to that country. I googled terrorist incidents/attacks in Mauritania and didn’t find one. Since this Mauritania has had 2 or 3 incidents spread over a country twice the size of France that could be ascribed as “terrorist”. If we compare this to any major western country how can this be described as “high risk”?

 

Worse than this advice being unhelpful, it actually endangers the traveller. When people become used to generalised advice, they no longer pay attention, and so the cry wolf syndrome kicks in. When the government have something serious to say about a country, or specific intelligence on a specific attack, they wont be believed. This problem nearly led to me getting kidnapped once. My salvation was due to my local contacts, knowledge and experience.

 

 

My precautions on this trip, as ever, are my local contacts, my local guides and drivers, my local knowledge and experience of the specific regions through which the caravan will pass. (See below)

 

I may also have armed guards hired from the local military accompanying my group if concern justifies it. This is just a final precaution – really window dressing. I would not be running the trip if I felt I needed to rely on an armed guard. But say the unthinkable happened, it provides a last line of defense. The equivalent of having an armed guard on a plane.

 

 

2) What would you want travellers to know about the situation?

Firstly that I wont run any trip if i have doubts about security. In all my 25 years experience of travelling in Africa I have had one incident when I felt out of control of my secuirty and I never want to go there again. 

 

How my experience and local contacts direct my assessment of the true security risks.

I have seven years of knowledge and experience of being responsible for other travellers in this region.

I have a 100% record of safety and success in calculating correctly the risks of taking people “down the road less travelled” and since 2008 this has included going to the north of Mali. This includes successfully calling a retreat when the recent kidnappings were in their infancy from a planned kidnap attempt on my group. A combination of bad timing, useless generalised information from my government and authorities’ colluison led me into a trap. It was my local guides and my specific knowledge of the situation and my sense of control that helped me make the crucial decision that turned us back.

 

All this experience has enabled me to judge the truth of the security situation rather than have to rely on my government’s advice which is more concerned with covering its back and its political positioning than my safety.

 

This experience tells me that although the islamist invasion of north Mali has increased insecurity concerns for the local people, it has arguably made travel for tourists, in the region where the caravan takes place, safer. 

 

Before the current crisis these drugs smugglers and traffickers (the islamist agenda is new clothes, put on to give some form of credibility to their agenda) were essentially a bunch of bandits only able to operate in remote regions and their motive was money. Now they control a region the size of France, their efforts are concentrated on holding this down, their motive is primarily political and military. Moreover they already have 10 or so hostages that European governments are finally wising up to understanding that it does not help to pay the ransoms, so what possible motive do they have to take more? The hostages are now just a drain on resources with not much prospect now of getting any money for them. I hear the hostages are not even tightly guarded anymore. There is no ideological purpose behind the kidnappings, and with all govenments now following the same line on ransoms, the market has dried up. That is unless you are French. 

 

I see as significant the fact that no westerner has been taken hostage since the crisis began. I see as significant the fact that no British, American or Australian has been taken hostage (since the first kidnapping of the recent wave when a Brit was taken and subsequently killed because there was no money coming for him)  and the correlation between this and the fact that these governments do not pay ransoms. 

 

I have recently been to Mauritania, south Mali and Burkina Faso – the route of the caravan – and have seen for myself what the security situation on the ground is. I felt as safe in Bamako and throughout my journey across the region as I have always felt. In Bamako the friendliness and the lack of the need for an overt display of military on the streets to control a population who effectively have no government tells me that Bamako is safe. 

 

The history of the security warnings around the Festival in the Desert.

 

The Festival in the Desert has had travel warnings placed on it by western governments every year since 2009. Every year the Festival has gone ahead despite the warnings. Why? Because local authorities and the festival organisers knew that there was no threat to the festival, that these bandits could only attack in remote areas away from the high military presence that is always there for Mali’s biggest international event. 

 

Every year I have explained to my group the situation and after they have got a feeling for the country 100% of my tourists have opted to go on to the festival. Every year it has been a great success without even a sniff of a problem. 

 

But every year, as western governments ratchet up the fear, more operators pull out, more tourists decide not to go, more local people lose their yearly income, and more young men are given less employment opportunities to the extent that in the end they are tempted by so called Al Qaeda groups to accept €300 as a monthly wage to feed their families. So in the long run, western government travel advice policy has exacerbated the situation. 

 

Last year I ran a trip to the Festival In The Desert in Timbuktu a month after 3 tourists were kidnapped from Timbuktu. I did not run this trip out of a bullish stance against the big beards or to prove a point or to cash in on my bookings – I could have offered an equivalent trip and possibly saved money. I was going on my experience of the recent history of security issues in the region and my knowledge of the reality of the security situation around Timbuktu and the festival site. I ran the trip because of the virtual impossibility of an attack.

 

Up to now the kidnappings have been carried out by bandits and then the captives are sold onto the islamists groups. These bandits do not have the strength or motivation or devotion to the cause to risk their own deaths. To capture a tourist at the festival In the desert they would have to:

 

1) manage to dodge military surveillance from the air and lines of armoured vehicles patrolling the desert around the festival site.

2) If they did mange to enter the festival site unchallenged, they’d have to find a tourist (under 2% of the crowd) and get back out beyond the same lines of military.

3) They’d then have 1000 kms of desert to cross without the military vehicles or planes catching them up.

 

The odds are not great. They are certainly not the “high risk” western governments would have you think. I’d put my bottom dollar you’d more likely stumble into a terrorist attack at Heathrow or JFK airports on your way out to Mali.

 

Now of course the situation has changed somewhat from a group holed up in the desert buying kidnapped tourists from bandits, to a force holding down half a country. But think about the reality of what that now means for them: AQIM and related groups are watching their backs against rival groups; watching their other back against an attack from Tuareg/MNLA rebels who are mighty peeved with them; watching their third back for a military attack coming from Mali; and planning for a possible international attack.  The chances of them feeling it is worth them sending people out of their zone, through military ranks to take tourists from the caravan of peace, given that they have 10 or so hostages who are not earning them any money, the likelihood is so slim. 

 

And at each stage of the caravan there will be appropriate local secuirty.

 

The risk is theoretically there, but so is the threat to Heathrow? How can we really differentiate between these risks?

 

How my trip to the Caravan Of Peace will support the community?

 

If we are to discuss how my trip to the caravan of peace will help local people, and the Tuareg in particular, perhaps we could start with the fact that I have not abandoned them when all others have, and that in bringing people to the caravan I am highlighting their plight. 

 

Of course I am also employing people too. For Mamayiti my Timbuktu guide, his sister and her eldest daughter, all in refugee camps in Burkina Faso, employment on my trip will bring in much needed cash and break the tedium and misery of being exiled from home; for  Mohammed my driver who is currently dodging joining any groups in Gao, Djeneba my cook from Mopti, Amadou and Vieux my pinasse river boat drivers, it will provide the only employment they have had since my last trip to mali in January.

 

All of these people have been helped this year to get through their crisis from my “Mali Displaced families Fund” on my web site: https://www.fromhere2timbuktu.com/about-us/fh2t-community-fund 

and at: https://www.facebook.com/CommunitySupport.fromhere2tiimbuktu?ref=hl

 

 Amadou my fixer in Bamako will delight in the work he gets as business has been slow even for someone who has other channels of work. 

 

But the main benefit to the people will come from seeing others from foreign lands coming to join them in their time of crisis. For all Malians, Tuareg, Bambara, Bozo, Fulani, Songai and Dogon the stranger is the most valued in the community. On my recent trip to Mali a Tuareg friend in Bamako, who works for the ministry of tourism, said to me: “When there are no tourists it is like you have your eyes closed, no one sees your soul, you are alone”.

 

I have on going community support schemes, including a school in the desert between Aguelhoc and Tessalit which I have never been able to visit as our friends Al Qaeda In The Islamic Magreb (AQIM) have been camped up nearby since 2009.

 

 

International involvement in Mali could be avoided by supporting the MNLA and the regional military.

Everyone is suddenly taking Mali seriously now. Frantic discussions at the UN, Hillary Clinton’s on the case, Francois Hollande makes hapless pronouncements, Algeria is being pressurized. Is invasion in the air? 

 

I have called for international engagement in the Mali crisis since March, since the islamist invasion of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal following the MNLA advance into these towns after the coup d’etat in Bamako opened their path. I have also called for Algeria, who I see as controlling events, to be pressurized. But now I see my friends in Mali, from both sides of the divide, between a rock and a hard place.

 

Back then it seemed simple. Help the MNLA to rid the north of the islamists in their midst, a battle they’d have jumped at. There would have been innocents killed for sure in the street fighting, but not many. With US/French special forces and/or intelligence the few big beards could have been isolated and eliminated. Once the heads were removed the body would have wilted away, either to be picked off by the MNLA in the desert or the malian army from the south.

 

Mali would have been divided. 

 

The Economist had two articles on the crisis in the Nov 10-16 edition.

Their titles indicate the nature of the international world’s debate:

 

The first article is titled Terror in the sahara: Getting the UN’s intervention plan right is more important than implementing it fast.

This article concludes: “This will take time. The trick is not to rush into Mali, but to apply force as a part of a coherent military and political plan. The lesson from similar operations in Somalia is that sound preparations pay dividends. Better to miss the UN’s deadline, even by some months, than to plunge recklessly in.”

Agreed.

 

The second is: Can the jihadists be stopped? Hectic diplomacy and preparations for a UN backed war against al Qaeda in the Sahara desert are both proceeding apace.

It concludes: “But whatever the sincerity of Mr Ag Ghali (leader of Ansar Dine) and his comrades (AQMI aand MUJAO) and the possibility of persuading them to come onside, it is clear that al-Qaeda itself has a growing presence in northern Mali – and that it can be contained only by a carefully designed military and political strategy. That cannot happen overnight.”

Again agreed. But in the economist’s conclusion, as with the powers that be’s intentions, I wonder what this “political strategy” is all about. Is it the western’s world’s self interests that we are talking about or a political strategy for Mali. 

 

If the former, the startegy will fail the region and fail the war on terror and one day it will all come back to haunt us. If the latter, the region could be in for a new dawn.

 

In response to an article in Eurasia review: http://www.eurasiareview.com/09112012-meddling-in-mali-oped/

 

The reason Algeria does not want international involvement is that it would lose control of the situation in Mali. 

 

Before this crisis, the countries bordering Mali – Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali itself – attempted to get together a regional coalition to tackle the growing threat of AQIM. But they knew to be successful they had to have Algerian cooperation. Algeria stalled the process and they are stalling now.

 

AQIM are a creation of the Algerian state, created to give Algeria control of their own “islamist” problem, export it and use it to give Algeria an underhand control of security of the region around its borders and influence over this mineral/oil rich region.

 

Algeria are quite happy to have chaos in the north of Mali, hence their stalling even now. If they were really worried about growing islamism within Algeria why aren’t they jumping at the chance of US help to rid the region of the menace? 

 

The US know all about all this. They were involved with the Algerians when the GSPC, an Algerian salafist group, were transformed into Al Qaeda In The Islamic Magreb. They have been there in Mali on the ground with AFRICOM supposedly monitoring the AQIM situation and training the Malian military in “counterterrorism”. They were so successful at this that AQIM grew from a bunch of bandits smuggling drugs across the Sahara to a force that can now hold down an area the size of France, and the Malian military were so well trained, that in their garrisons closest to the AQIM camps such as Aguelhoc their military did not even have enough bullets.

 

If the international world are seriously worried about the spread of “islamist” ideology and influence in a region that has no grassroots sympathy for such things, why has the Mali crisis been left to fester with no international engagement since March 2012?

 

The world now has a very difficult choice to make on Mali. Either we sort this out properly once and for all now or we push the problem under the table to reappear later as the specter that is held up for us of an “Afghanistan or Somalia”.

 

Resolving the “islamist” (the international element of the Mali crisis) issue properly would help resolve the trafficking problem and the interconnected domestic problems of governemnt corruption and involvement in the causes of the crisis and the north/south divide. Only if all these issues are dealt with together and resolved fully can we pave the way for a lasting peace across the region. The only way to begin to do this is to eliminate the “islamist/mafia” contingent. This can’t happen now without western involvement. 

 

Unless we let the MNLA do the job for us. 

 

Pie in the sky thinking? Perhaps, but possible.

 

Cut off the head of the islamist/mafia question and you disrupt the drugs and cigarette cartels (made up of AQIM, MUJAO, and the governments and militaries of both Mali and Algeria).  This would return the desert and Tuareg lands to the people and pave the way for a rethinking of the Mali constitution with only Malians involved. This is the only way to reunite the country and give the northerners a state structure that they can live with.

 

With the coming wealth from their oil deposits, Mali could rebuild a fair and inclusive form of government, perhaps on federal grounds. But it has to be based on the country’s ethnic make up and give all regions a fair share of the wealth. The worst possible solution is a return to the status quo, the supposed “beacon of democracy in the region” or a similar international solution based on western models of democracy which caused the situation in the first place. 

 

For Mali to have a chance of achieving this best case domestic scenario the irony is that they need the international world to engage with the situation, without self interest driving their engagement. 

 

The alternative is that we leave the region to sort this out themselves. This will probably mean that the “islamist” problem will just end up eventually retreating to its drugs smuggling position, leaving the continued threat of kidnapping of westerners. ECOWAS and  the Algerian and Malian governments have shown no signs of wanting to engage all parties in round table constitutional talks for Mali. Without such talks it is unlikely that the north/south divide in Mali will be resolved. In this scenario we may well be pushing the hitherto ridiculous idea of an “Afghanistan or Somalia” situation in Mali down the road.

 

I believe passionately that the only solutions for African problems have to come from Africa. But the only way a Malian people’s solution to Mali’s problem can now come about is if the international world facilitate it. 

 

This is after all an international problem now more than it is a domestic Malian issue. The domestic issue was sparked by the fall of Gadaffi. The AQIM situation has been left to fester since 2003 . These “islamists” are regarded by all Malians as foreigners (even Ag Ghali, a Malian Tuareg, is hated by the majority of the Tuareg,  regarded as the great traitor and a one man band of megalomania). The Tuareg now have reluctantly (most of them never wanted any of this in the first place) placed themselves behind the only force that speaks for them – the MNLA. And yet to look to a solution the international world engage Ag Ghali not the MNLA. 

 

Why is it so difficult to get representatives of all parties  – Ag Ghali, the MNLA, the malian government and the military – round a table?

The Berber Camel Caravans, Travelling to Timbuktu

Timbuktu is an evocative name. For over a millenium it has conjured travel, mystery and adventure, salt, gold and knowldge. It is a town located where the Niger River flows northward into the desert. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg Imashagan in the 11th century and thanks to its unique geographical position, it became a natural meeting point for Tuareg, Songhai, Wangara, Fulani and Arabs.  From the 11th century onwards, Timbuktu became an important port where goods from West Africa and North Africa were traded. Timbuktu is also the crossroads “where the camel meets the canoe,” a place of traders and middle-men. Timbuktuians say of their history: gold came from the south, salt from the north, and Divine Knowledge, from within.

Mali Travel – Kayes

Mali Travel Near Kayes

From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Mali Travel near Kayes will take you on the trip of a lifetime. During this incredible adventure, you will get the chance to see truly stunning scenery as well as experiencing different and fascinating cultures for yourself.

From Here 2 Timbuktu offers unique holidays such as the Mali Travel around Africa – not many other travel companies offer such great trips for such good value. The trip costs from £950 per person for at least a week.

Reasons To Travel To Mali

  • Your trip will allow you to discover the real Africa because you will get close to the local cultures in a way that you would never experience on an ordinary package holiday. Enjoy discovering the true essence of Africa as your learn about the way of life in this amazing place.
  • This Mali Travel is like nothing you will be able to experience anywhere else or with any other tour operator. If you are looking for an adventure you will never forget, this trip to Kayes is the perfect holiday for you.
  • From Here 2 Timbuktu’s trips to Africa introduce you to the unique culture of this fascinating continent. These holidays allow you to see the amazing landscapes and learn about the people, history and music of the area. Your tour has been devised by local expert Guy, who knows all about the traditions and culture and can help you to experience them as you go on a journey that is completely off the beaten track.
  • You will never forget the sights you see and the people you meet on this adventure. Guy and From Here 2 Timbuktu love introducing you to this beautiful country and showing you exactly what it is that makes it so special. These trips really are the best way to see Africa and visit the many must-see sights. Allow Guy to share his experiences with you and see everything Africa has to offer.

For the majority of the Mali Tours you will be part of small travelling group and as you travel along your chosen route you will be touring with a local guide. The guide will take you on a specially planned path that allows you to see things from an African perspective and is sure to be an unforgettable, life-changing experience.

The itinerary for the Mali Tours near Kayes gives a detailed break down of what the trip will consist of.

About Kayes

Kayes is a city in western Mali on the Sénégal River, with a population of 127,368 at the 2009 census. Kayes is the capital of the administrative region of the same name. The name “Kayes” comes from the Soninké word “karré”, which describes a low humid place that floods in rainy season. The city is located 420 kilometres (260 mi) northwest of the capital Bamako.

About Mali Travel

Mali can be described really as two countries in culture, history, landscape and politics divided by the great River Niger. The north side of the country is where the Sahara Desert is and is the home of the nomadic Tuareg for thousands of years. And in the south, the Bambara people can be found there along the River Niger with Fulani nomadic pastoralists, Bozo fisherman and the animist Dogon. The Mali tours and festivals focus on the south and the desert trips take you to the north, deep into the Sahara Desert. The Caravan Of Peace and The Festival In The Desert run from February to March and can either be a week long up to the full month with an option of hiring out a whole caravan. These tours are a fantastic way to see and experience Mali and the essense of Africa.

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Mali Travel – Mauritania

Mali Travel Near Mauritania

Experience the trip of a lifetime with From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Mali Travel near Mauritania. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views, stunning landscapes and beautiful cultures during your vacation.

The unique tips offered by From Here 2 Timbuktu are unforgettable Africa holidays that you won’t find anywhere else. Adventures such as the Mali Travel are excellent value too because the trip costs just from £950 per person for at least a week.

Reasons To Travel To Mali

  • You will discover the real essence of Africa as your trip takes you to the heart of the local life and cultures. You will have the amazing opportunity to learn all about the way of life as well as being astounded by the beautiful and diverse scenery.
  • This Mali Travel is like nothing you will be able to experience anywhere else or with any other tour operator. If you are looking for an adventure you will never forget, this trip to Mauritania is the perfect holiday for you.
  • From Here 2 Timbuktu offers unique trips that introduce you to the music, landscape, culture and people that make this beautiful place so incredible. Their adventures are the perfect way to see and experience Africa and learn about its rich traditions and history. You will meet Guy, who will lead you on your tour as he uses his own knowledge of the area to show you an array of amazing sights that are off the beaten track.
  • You will never forget the sights you see and the people you meet on this adventure. Guy and From Here 2 Timbuktu love introducing you to this beautiful country and showing you exactly what it is that makes it so special. These trips really are the best way to see Africa and visit the many must-see sights. Allow Guy to share his experiences with you and see everything Africa has to offer.

For most of the duration of your Mali Tours adventure, you will travel along your route as part of small travelling group. Your guide will take you on a specially devised route that shows you life from an African perspective and stunning sights.

For more information about the Mali Tours near Mauritania, take a look at the itinerary to discover what the trip will consist of.

About Mauritania

Mauritania officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara (controlled by Morocco) in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.

About Mali Travel

Mali can be described really as two countries in culture, history, landscape and politics divided by the great River Niger. The north side of the country is where the Sahara Desert is and is the home of the nomadic Tuareg for thousands of years. And in the south, the Bambara people can be found there along the River Niger with Fulani nomadic pastoralists, Bozo fisherman and the animist Dogon. The Mali tours and festivals focus on the south and the desert trips take you to the north, deep into the Sahara Desert. The Caravan Of Peace and The Festival In The Desert run from February to March and can either be a week long up to the full month with an option of hiring out a whole caravan. These tours are a fantastic way to see and experience Mali and the essense of Africa.

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Mali Travel – Burkina Faso

Mali Travel Near Burkina Faso

From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Mali Travel near Burkina Faso will take you on the trip of a lifetime. During this incredible adventure, you will get the chance to see truly stunning scenery as well as experiencing different and fascinating cultures for yourself.

The unique tips offered by From Here 2 Timbuktu are unforgettable Africa holidays that you won’t find anywhere else. Adventures such as the Mali Travel are excellent value too because the trip costs just from £950 per person for at least a week.

Reasons To Travel To Mali

  • You can discover the real essence of Africa on this very special trip, which takes you on a journey through Africa’s exciting and historic cultures and landscapes. You will experience new things, see incredible sights and meet people who will change the way you view life forever.
  • You won’t find an Africa trip like the Mali Travel available anywhere else because this adventure takes you right off the beaten track to show you the real side of Africa. If you want a unique holiday with a difference, then this journey to Burkina Faso is the perfect trip for you.
  • As well as taking you to see stunning scenery, From Here 2 Timbuktu’s trips also teach you about the music, history, people and cultures that make Africa such an amazing place. From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Guy has devised a special tour using his own knowledge to take you off the tourist trail.
  • Guy will help you to have a trip you will never forget as you visit the beautiful rivers, deserts and towns that this country has to offer. If you want the best way to see Africa, this trip with From Here 2 Timbuktu will help you to discover the real essence of the country and its people and see sights you will remember forever.

On the Mali Tours, you will spend most of your time as part of a small travelling group. Your guide will take you along your chosen route, which allows you to see the African way of life and have an experience that is like nothing you have ever imagined.

Take a look at itinerary for the Mali Tours near Burkina Faso for more detail about the fantastic events the trip will consist of.

About Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d’Ivoire to the southwest. The country’s capital is Ouagadougou. Its size is 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 15,757,000.

About Mali Travel

Mali can be described really as two countries in culture, history, landscape and politics divided by the great River Niger. The north side of the country is where the Sahara Desert is and is the home of the nomadic Tuareg for thousands of years. And in the south, the Bambara people can be found there along the River Niger with Fulani nomadic pastoralists, Bozo fisherman and the animist Dogon. The Mali tours and festivals focus on the south and the desert trips take you to the north, deep into the Sahara Desert. The Caravan Of Peace and The Festival In The Desert run from February to March and can either be a week long up to the full month with an option of hiring out a whole caravan. These tours are a fantastic way to see and experience Mali and the essense of Africa.

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Mali Travel – Timbuktu

Mali Travel Near Timbuktu

Experience the trip of a lifetime with From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Mali Travel near Timbuktu. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views, stunning landscapes and beautiful cultures during your vacation.

From Here 2 Timbuktu offers a range of exciting and unique tips around Africa, including the Mali Travel. You won’t find these experiences anywhere else and you will certainly find nothing like them at such a fantastic price. The price per person is from £950 for at least a week.

Reasons To Travel To Mali

  • You can discover the real essence of Africa on this very special trip, which takes you on a journey through Africa’s exciting and historic cultures and landscapes. You will experience new things, see incredible sights and meet people who will change the way you view life forever.
  • You won’t find an Africa trip like the Mali Travel available anywhere else because this adventure takes you right off the beaten track to show you the real side of Africa. If you want a unique holiday with a difference, then this journey to Timbuktu is the perfect trip for you.
  • From Here 2 Timbuktu offers unique trips that introduce you to the music, landscape, culture and people that make this beautiful place so incredible. Their adventures are the perfect way to see and experience Africa and learn about its rich traditions and history. You will meet Guy, who will lead you on your tour as he uses his own knowledge of the area to show you an array of amazing sights that are off the beaten track.
  • Guy and From Here 2 Timbuktu offer you the chance to set off on an expedition you will never forget. You will learn more than you imagined possible about this fascinating place as you journey to the rivers, deserts, towns and villages that you will see on your tour. Their Africa holidays really are the best way to see this stunning continent.

Most of the Mali Tours will be spent travelling as part of a small group, which lets you have a more personal experience. Your local guide will take you along your chosen route, which has been specially devised to include an exciting and packed itinerary every day. As well as including all the must-see sights, your trip will also allow you to see life from an African point of view and take you on a journey you will remember forever.

Take a look at the itinerary for the Mali Tours near Timbuktu to find out more about what the trip will consist of.

About Timbuktu

Timbuktu, formerly also spelled Timbuctoo and Timbuktoo, is a town in the West African nation of Mali situated 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It had a population of 54,453 in the 2009 census. Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves, and it became part of the Mali Empire. Most tourists visit Timbuktu between November and February when the air temperature is lower.Over the following decades the tourist numbers increased so that by 2006 there were seven small hotels and guest houses.

About Mali Travel

Mali can be described really as two countries in culture, history, landscape and politics divided by the great River Niger. The north side of the country is where the Sahara Desert is and is the home of the nomadic Tuareg for thousands of years. And in the south, the Bambara people can be found there along the River Niger with Fulani nomadic pastoralists, Bozo fisherman and the animist Dogon. The Mali tours and festivals focus on the south and the desert trips take you to the north, deep into the Sahara Desert. The Caravan Of Peace and The Festival In The Desert run from February to March and can either be a week long up to the full month with an option of hiring out a whole caravan. These tours are a fantastic way to see and experience Mali and the essense of Africa.

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Mali Travel – West Africa

Mali Travel In West Africa

From Here 2 Timbuktu’s Mali Travel near West Africa will take you on the trip of a lifetime. During this incredible adventure, you will get the chance to see truly stunning scenery as well as experiencing different and fascinating cultures for yourself.

From Here 2 Timbuktu offers exciting and unique adventures across Africa, including the incredible Mali Travel, which is a trip you are unlikely to find anywhere else and you certainly won’t find it for this unbeatable price. The great-value trip costs just from £950 each for at least a week.

Reasons To Travel To Mali

  • Your trip will allow you to discover the real Africa because you will get close to the local cultures in a way that you would never experience on an ordinary package holiday. Enjoy discovering the true essence of Africa as your learn about the way of life in this amazing place.
  • You won’t find an Africa trip like the Mali Travel available anywhere else because this adventure takes you right off the beaten track to show you the real side of Africa. If you want a unique holiday with a difference, then this journey to West Africa is the perfect trip for you.
  • From Here 2 Timbuktu’s trips to Africa introduce you to the unique culture of this fascinating continent. These holidays allow you to see the amazing landscapes and learn about the people, history and music of the area. Your tour has been devised by local expert Guy, who knows all about the traditions and culture and can help you to experience them as you go on a journey that is completely off the beaten track.
  • You will never forget the sights you see and the people you meet on this adventure. Guy and From Here 2 Timbuktu love introducing you to this beautiful country and showing you exactly what it is that makes it so special. These trips really are the best way to see Africa and visit the many must-see sights. Allow Guy to share his experiences with you and see everything Africa has to offer.

Most of the Mali Tours will be spent travelling as part of a small group, which lets you have a more personal experience. Your local guide will take you along your chosen route, which has been specially devised to include an exciting and packed itinerary every day. As well as including all the must-see sights, your trip will also allow you to see life from an African point of view and take you on a journey you will remember forever.

Take a look at the itinerary for the Mali Tours near West Africa to find out more about what the trip will consist of.

About West Africa

West Africa is west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10° east longitude. The Atlantic Ocean forms the western as well as the southern borders of the West African region. The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Ranishanu Bend generally considered the northernmost part of the region. The eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, and others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad.

About Mali Travel

Mali can be described really as two countries in culture, history, landscape and politics divided by the great River Niger. The north side of the country is where the Sahara Desert is and is the home of the nomadic Tuareg for thousands of years. And in the south, the Bambara people can be found there along the River Niger with Fulani nomadic pastoralists, Bozo fisherman and the animist Dogon. The Mali tours and festivals focus on the south and the desert trips take you to the north, deep into the Sahara Desert. The Caravan Of Peace and The Festival In The Desert run from February to March and can either be a week long up to the full month with an option of hiring out a whole caravan. These tours are a fantastic way to see and experience Mali and the essense of Africa.

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