Security update for the Caravan of Peace and The Festival In the Desert

The Festival in the Desert organisers in consultation with the Burkina Faso government, have announced that the Festival In the Desert in Exile slot on the Caravan of Peace, 20-22 February 2013, has been moved to a location close to Ouagadougou to better guarantee the security of the festival.

 

The festival was to be held at Orsi in the north of Burkina Faso. 

While the islamists hold the region in Mali north of the Burkina border, an incursion into Burkina Faso by the islamists for an attack on the festival itself is unlikely (see below). However, Orsi was felt to be too close to the border with Mali and so to safeguard the festival it has been moved to a site close to the capital so the Burkina Faso authorities can better secure the festival.

 

This is a good move. Of all the sites of the caravan, Orsi was the closest to islamist territory. This makes the route of the caravan from Bamako to Segou and down to Burkina Faso for the Festival itself very secure all over.

 

Perhaps this is a good time to set out my thoughts on security issues in general for the route of the Caravan of Peace.

 

Of course I get asked a lot by friends and family why I am bothering to go to Mali and run a trip given that Mali is in political chaos and that a band of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists control the north of the country and have a history of kidnapping westerners in the region?

 

The simple answer is that I am doing it because I feel safe. I have only felt unsafe once in Africa and I never want to go there again, and I certainly do not want to take anyone else there. If I didn’t feel the region of the caravan was safe I would not be running the trip.

 

The risk is undoubtedly there on paper, like the risk of a terror attack at a western airport is there. How significantly we assess that risk is largely down to our own perceptions and acceptance of risk.

 

Like at the western airport, the actual risk on the caravan of peace as I see it is small enough not to make me change my course. 

 

What is the threat?

Western tourists are warned not to go to the Sahara/sahel region of west Africa because there is the threat of being kidnapped by islamist groups who currently occupy the north of Mali. Since 2008 more than 20 westerners have been kidnapped. Currently there are 10 or so still being held.

 

My argument for why the caravan of peace is safe to join rests on my view that there is no longer a motive for the islamist groups to take more hostages. They have 10 that they are not getting money for and there are no negotiations on for ransoms as the game as changed and these groups now control the north of Mali. I will argue that their focus is now holding down what they have got against internal splits and preparing for a possible ECOWAS attack. Why risk potentially weakening themselves and inflaming the international perspective on Mali by taking hostages who will get them no money?

 

Hitherto nearly all the kidnappings have taken place in remote regions with no security, or where a couple of vehicles can go in and quickly take the hostages and flee back to the desert.  They have never attempted to attack festivals or to break through military lines to perform kidnappings.

 

Beyond the threat of kidnap there is no other significant threat to western tourists on the caravan of peace. Civil society throughout the route of the caravan is in tact, despite there being no real government in Mali and there has been no significant civil unrest.

 

Background to the kidnappings

 

 

I break the kidnappings that have taken place in the region since November 2008 into two groups. 

 

1) French nationals.

Roughly half of the hostages have been French. I believe that when French nationals are taken hostage the primary motive is political. There are currently 7 French hostages. There have been 4 or 5 other French nationals who have been kidnapped and either ransomed or they have died in rescue attempts.

 

The circumstances around French nationals being kidnapped are always a little murky and it seems that when French nationals are taken it is about the complicated relationships that France has in the region.

 

If I was French I would not be travelling in the region of the Caravan of Peace, even though I think the threat generally has eased off somewhat (see below), for French nationals the politics is too hot and so their security is too uncertain. I can still see a motive for islamists to take French nationals. My advice is stay away.

 

2) Other nationals. 

When other nationalities get taken hostage the motive seems to be money. It is this ransom money that has enabled these groups to amass weapons to be doing what they are doing now. Some European governments (Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland) have paid large ransoms. European nationals were reasonably high risk before the crisis but below I set out why I think they are less so now.

 

UK, USA and Australian nationals

These nationals are, in my view, the safest in the region as their governments do not pay ransoms. The UK has had one national taken – Edwin Dyer. He was in one of the first groups taken January 2009. A ransom was demanded, Britain refused and then the demand became release of prisoners in the UK, and still they refused, and Mr Dyer was executed. Edwin Dyer is the only hostage to have verifiably been executed. At this stage AQMI wouldn’t have known perhaps that Britain wouldn’t pay and to save face they had to go the distance – this was the beginning of their campaign and he was in a group with other nationalities whose governemnts did, it seems, pay ransoms. 

 

Since Dyer, no UK national has been taken. No USA or Australian national has ever been taken. 

 

I don’t think it is coincidental that it is these governments that do not pay ransoms. Together these nationalities, at a guess, probably make up easily half of the tourists and ex-pats in the region, so if the kidnappings were random or ideologically motivated then more of these nationalities, their governments being in the fore front of the war on terror, would have been taken one would have thought.

 

The problem for AQMI etc with taking one of these countries’ citizens is that it all becomes a lot more serious. The reality is take a Portuguese guy, no one hears about it, the money gets paid. Take an American and you’ve got a big issue on your hands. Not only can UK/USA/AUS not be seen to be paying ransoms to Al Qaeda affiliated groups, but it takes the game to another level politically and militarily. 

 

To understand the current threat we have tolook at what the islamists are focussed on?

AQMI’s focus before the Mali crisis was money and regional mafia politics, regional strategic positioning to protect their lucrative smuggling routes. The hostage taking coming in in 2008 was another way of making money, and it helped cut off the region and thus further entrenched their control.

 

It is unlikely that their focus has ever been expansion of an islamist agenda, rather the islamism is used to give credibility to their criminal interests. Politically really they are fighting Algeria’s war. Algeria’s bottom line at the moment is no international forces in Mali. But neither have an interest in a) expansion of the islamist territory b) provoking the international world beyond France. 

 

Their focus now is holding what they have got against the likes of the MNLA (Tuareg rebels) from the desert, the Malian army and/or ECOWAS to the south and east, the Mauritanian army from the west, a potential Ansar Dine split from within and internal divisions.

 

Currently they have 7 French nationals, a Dutchman, a Swede and a South African. 

No money is coming in for them nor is now likely to.

 

They’ve had them all for a long time. The last group (non French) taken was the Timbuktu three last November 2011, just before the crisis began. No negotiations are going on for their release. It is unlikely anyone is going to pay ransoms now. European governments have wised up that it doesn’t pay in the long run and the game has changed as these groups now control half a country. No one wants to fund or further arm them.

 

So when your shelves are well stocked but you can no longer shift your stock, why would you add to it?

 

Surely, with an event that is standing up to their sharia ban on music an attack could bring good publicity for a kidnapping?

But do they want publicity? Only if their motives are ideological, and no one is really suggesting that they are. I think they are doing nicely the more the situation remains on the fringes of the international agenda. Their only chance of being beaten out of the north now is if a UN/US/French force were to come in. There is nothing in any of the international discussions of a regional force that can really worry them at the moment on this. With talk that there is about a serious international force coming in, the forecasts are many months and possibly more than a year away. 

 

If you are AQMI, why would you do anything to potentially bring this forwards? The longer you stay in place, holding what you have, the more entrenched you get, the more time you have to bring in more support.

 

If you can’t get money from hostages, the only reason for taking them now would be political or ideological. Not much politics or ideology comes out from these guys – no great demands, no generalised anti-western rhetoric. The only rhetoric that does come from them is that the western world should stay out of this. Why do anything that could work against this? 

 

Why open your hand when you have all the cards?

If AQMI/MUJAO do want a battle they seem to want what they may well soon get: ECOWAS and/or Malian military. These forces are still completely unprepared, ill trained and unmotivated for a fight with mafia/islamists. If I were a betting man my money would be on the islamists to at least cause carnage before they retreat back to their safety in the desert and to their former lives.  

 

Why would they do anything that might begin to alter the balance of power away from this win win situation towards the one threat of force that could smash them apart – a UN/US/EU backed force? 

 

Notions of risk

My father asked me how, with no effective government in Mali, I could say I was safe on the streets of Bamako. I could only explain by comparing to awful massacre of children in Newtown in America. 

 

10,000 people a year get killed by guns in America. In terms of gun crime statistics, America is a very unsafe country to visit and yet it has a functioning government and a functioning society and none of us would really think twice about going there. Most tourists have no problems, some, occasionally, get caught up. Last year a British man was shot dead in a Texan bar. Would it stop me going to Texas? No.

 

Now clearly the threat of being kidnapped in west Africa and the threat of coming across gun crime in America are very different sorts of risk, but in terms of our assessment of the risks we take when we travel they are the similar. For both, the risk is of being caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Which is the greater risk? Statistically you’d have to say going to America and getting caught up in gun crime if over 10,000 murders happen a year.

 

Whenever we travel to another country we put our trust, first and foremost, in the community that we are in. The risk of gun crime in America comes out of something in its society and its laws that permit the place to be a wash with deadly weapons. The risk to the tourist is completely random, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, just as it was for those poor children. The risk has nothing to do with the effectiveness or not of the USA government, it has to do with the society, the community – these guns are out there.

 

The risk of kidnap in west Africa does not come out of the community. I have never seen a gun in Africa that was not in the hands of military or police. I have never seen a vehicle full of armed bandits. I have never heard a gun shot in anger. I have never seen conflict. Of course these things exist but they are not wandering around areas I go to and long before I have ever reached an area that is unsafe I have been warned away.

 

In the whole Mali crisis only a couple of hundred people have been killed, and they were mostly military in rebel attacks at the beginning. Throughout the crisis, despite rebellion, coup d’etat x 2, islamist invasion, no functioning government, no one clearly in control, a divided and bruised military, civil society has held together and zero crime rates pretty much maintained. All of this is not and never has been primarily down to the government’s control, just as gun crime in America is not to do with its government, it is down to the community, the cultures and their history of co-existence. 

 

Bamako still has loads of expats there and they don’t wander around with concern or extra security, there is no extra military presence on the streets, and yet the UK FCO will tell you Bamako is unsafe. Yes they may have to say this as there is no effective government, but this is not based on any statistics or realistic threat. If it was really the case these expats would have left.

 

Real security anywhere is not in the hands of the authorities but in the hands of the community. This is what makes Mali fundamentally safe away from the north, and what best assures the security of the caravan of peace.

 

 

 

Mali’s prime minister is arrested and resigns in a second bloodless coup. Who gains?

“Our country is living through a period of crisis. Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation are hoping for peace,” he said. “It’s for this reason that I, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government on this day, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. I apologize before the entire population of Mali.”

Thus Cheikh Modibo Diarra, Mali’s interim Prime Minister, sweating, shocked and in a make shift studio, resigned his post. Last night he had been been arrested from his home in Bamako, bundled into a car and driven off to face Captain Sanago and his junta. 

I guess they were discussing his recent involvement in organising demonstartions in Bamako calling on the international world to come to Mali’s help to recapture the north from the islamists so that Malians from all sides can get on with working out the peace that they all want now. The question is begged, why was this not conducive to Sanago’s program?

This latest round in the shifts of power in the Mali crisis has been, like all the others, characerized less by the bullet and more by the “music”, not a game of cowboys and indians but more of musical chairs.

The massacre of military personnel at Aguelhoc occured because the Malian military had no bullets. The resulting confusion over who had committed this war crime  – MNLA rebels as the government wanted to say or AQMI islamists as the Tuareg themselves claim – and the subsequent anger and shame amongst military families and the poulation in Bamako that the government couldn’t even protect its own army gave Sanago the platform on which to launch the coup d’etat.

The coup d’etat itself was not the usual gun battle we have come to expect around an African president’s  relaease of power. Not a shot was fired, it is uncertain whether President Amadou Toumani Toure was even at home to greet the incoming Sanago or whether he was already in his safe house.

Then the vacuum of power and authority created by this bloodless coup enabled the MNLA rebels and the AQMI/MUJAO islamists and Ansar Dine to sweep across the desert and take Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal in quick succession without a bullet fired.

Festival In The Desert – Timbuktu

Festival In The Desert In Timbuktu

A first-rate event is coming up soon in Timbuktu. The Festival In The Desert is an important, moving and entertaining cultural happening set in the glorious surroundings of the desert at Essakane.

The fantastic Mali Music Festival takes place from 20th to 22nd February 2013, running for three days. It unites a number of excellent artists, both from Mali and international. The festival pays homage to on-going creativity in a region which has seen trouble and oppression.

Local people and visitors flock to Timbuktu to share in their love of live world music and culture in the breath-taking surroundings of the sands at Essakane.

The Caravan Of Peace

Guy Lankester, founder of From Here 2 Timbuktu, has been travelling in and around Africa for 25 years. He will be joining the Caravan of Peace as it heads to the Festival In The Desert, going from Mauritania, via Mali to Burkina-Faso.

This is a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. Those who wish to support the cause and experience the trip for themselves may join the caravan.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

Guy would be delighted to welcome you as part of the caravan travelling through Timbuktu to the Festival In The Desert. For further details, please call us on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

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 Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Segou

Festival In The Desert Near Segou

Mali’s Festival In The Desert is a big musical event that is held every year. This year, its thirteenth, it will take place in Oursi, not far from Segou. The festival offers atmospheric entertainment in beautiful surroundings.

The Mali Music Festival occurs over three days in February 2013. It offers creativity, authenticity and harmony in a region which has seen the oppression of the desert peoples.

Set in the Segou region, the local environment makes a fabulous setting for this festival. Malian musicians, plus those from other African countries and international artists create a memorable event.

The Caravan Of Peace

Make the most of the Festival In The Desert by joining the Caravan of Peace, the travelling group which will travel from Mauritania through and overland to the festival at Burkina Faso.

The Caravan of Peace will meet up with several other festivals en route to the main festival. They are all triumphant celebrations, in firm contrast to the geopolitical issues of the time.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

If you would like travel in the Segou area and attend the Mali Music Festival, please contact us for further information +44 (0)117 230 1909.

About Segou

Ségou is a city in south-central Mali, lying 235 kilometres northeast of Bamako on the River Niger, in the region of Ségou. It was founded by the Bozo people, on a site about 10 kilometres from the present town. With 130,690 inhabitants in 2009, it is the fifth-largest city in Mali. Capital of the Bambara Empire in the past, Ségou is now the capital of Mali’s fourth largest administrative region of Ségou. Ségou has faced numerous conquests and changes of administration, but has always benefited from trade with nearby commercial centres such as Djenné and Timbuktu.

About Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Nauakchott

Festival In The Desert Near Nauakchott

Enjoy the cream of genuine African entertainment near to Nauakchott, Mauritania. The Festival In The Desert is an outstanding experience in the region, perfect for those who love good local music.

The remarkable Mali Music Festival is scheduled for February 2013. The joyful event lasts for 3 days, making the best of regional and international talent. It is a positive event that stands in contrast to the difficulties that have arisen due to the occupation of the desert peoples.

Revellers will have travelled from Morocco, Algeria and Niger as well as Nauakchott, Mauritania and much further away to come together in celebration.

The Caravan Of Peace

Guy Lankester, welcomes other travellers, members of the media and interested parties to join him on the Caravan of Peace that journeys to the Festival In The Desert. It meets up with other festivals along the way, ending at Burkina Faso.

The travelling group is described as a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. The festival is a toast to the local desert cultures in times of political unrest.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

Does travelling from near to Nauakchott to visit the Festival In The Desert interest you? If so, please call us on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

About Nauakchott

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 Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Niger

Festival In The Desert Near Niger

In a few short weeks’ time a superb event is being held, nor far from in Niger. The thirteenth annual Festival In The Desert is one the most fascinating festivals of the year.

The amazing Mali Music Festival unfolds in February 2013 and promises to deliver three highly memorable days. The festival is significant in this part of the world, where there has been oppression of and hardship for the desert people.

Visitors from and around Niger and beyond join in celebration and make the most of this important cultural happening against the backdrop of the Essakane sands.

The Caravan Of Peace

From Here 2 Timbuktu owner Guy Lankester will form part of the Caravan of Peace. This caravan will wend its way over many miles, joining in with other events along the way, until it ultimately reaches the Festival In The Desert at Burkina Faso.

Those travelling along this route view the group as a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. Interested parties may wish to join Guy and other guests on this unforgettable journey.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

Should you wish to travel in the region of Niger to attend the Festival In The Desert, please get in touch. We are available on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

About Niger

Niger, officially the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2, making it the largest nation in West Africa, with over 80 percent of its land area covered by the Sahara desert.The capital city is Niamey, located in the far southwest corner of Niger.

About Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Mauritania

Festival In The Desert In Mauritania

Immerse yourself in an unforgettable authentic experience near to Mauritania. The Festival In The Desert is an exciting event, one that draws those with an interest in supporting locals from the region and lovers of world music.

The exceptional Mali Music Festival is due to take place in February 2013. The festival lasts for 3 days and brings together talents from all over the region.

Travellers will come from
Mauritania as well as
Algeria, Niger and elsewhere to enjoy the festival on the sands of Essakane.

The Caravan Of Peace

Seasoned traveller and owner of From Here 2 Timbuktu, Guy Lankester, will be there. He and his group will be travelling within the Caravan of Peace to the Festival In The Desert. The caravan’s journey, which joins with other festivals en route, ends at Burkina Faso, where the main entertainment will be enjoyed at Essakane.

The travellers share a common belief, as the group create a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. The uplifting musical and creative performances are testimony to the will of locals and supporters who oppose the oppression of desert peoples in the region.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

If you would like to travel from the UK to Mauritania and onwards to visit the Festival In The Desert, you can find out more by calling us on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

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 Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Mali

Festival In The Desert In Mali

There is a superb event on the horizon in the Mali region. The Festival In The Desert is a highly engaging and authentic annual event, now in its thirteenth year.

The incredible Mali Music Festival is held in February 2013 and runs for three full days. It brings together some wonderful artists, not only from Mali, but based throughout Africa and internationally. It is a tribute to creativity in a region where the desert people have been oppressed.

Locals and travellers come to the Mali region to share their appreciate of music and culture upon the sand dunes at Essakane.

The Caravan Of Peace

Guy Lankester established From Here 2 Timbuktu and has been travelling in the region for 25 years. He will be travelling as part of the Caravan of Peace to the Festival In The Desert, going from Mauritania, to Mali to Burkina- Faso.

The group of travellers form a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. Interested visitors and members of the media are invited to travel too on this special trip.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

Guy would welcome you as part of the group travelling through Mali to reach the Festival In The Desert. For further details, please call us on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

About Mali

Mali , officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is bordered by Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) with a population of 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako. Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Sénégal rivers. The country’s economic structure centers around agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold, uranium, and salt.

About Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Burkina Faso

Festival In The Desert In Burkina Faso

The Festival In The Desert is a major annual event that is being held for the thirteenth time in Oursi, Burkina Faso. It provides rich entertainment in a stunning setting.

The unique Mali Music Festival will take place in February 2013. It promises to be 3 days of creative pleasure, offering great, authentic music in a land which has experienced difficult political times.

Burkina Faso makes the ideal setting for this wonderful event. Malian artists, musicians from other African countries and international artists all unite in the Sahara desert.

The Caravan Of Peace

Experience the Festival In The Desert by becoming part of the Caravan of Peace, the collective of artists which will travel from Mauritania through various territories to Burkina Faso.

The Caravan of Peace will join up with various festivals on the way to the main event. The festivals are defiantly celebratory in the face of oppression in the region.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

Should you be interested in visiting Burkina Faso and experiencing the Mali Music Festival, please give us a ring on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

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 Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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Festival In The Desert – Bamako

Festival In The Desert Near Bamako

Enjoy the best of authentic local culture near to Bamako. The Festival In The Desert is one of the greatest experiences to be had in the region. Ideal for lovers of music and travel.

The outstanding Mali Music Festival is scheduled for February to March 2013. The festival itself is 3 days long and celebrates the best that the artists in the region can. It makes a vital contribution to peace and harmony in the region, which has experienced troubles due to occupation.

People will be journeying from Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Niger and further afield to come near to Bamako for the festival.

The Caravan Of Peace

The founder of From Here 2 Timbuktu, Guy Lankester, invites you to travel with him and other guests as part of the Caravan of Peace to the Festival In The Desert. Culminating at Burkina Faso, there will be plenty of interesting stops on the journey from Mauritania to Mali to the festival.

The Caravan of Peace has been described as a “caravan of artists for peace and national unity in Mali”. The joy and creativity stands as a determined and uplifting contrast to the political situation.

Book your Festival In The Desert Now

If you would like to travel near to Bamako to attend the Festival In The Desert please call us on +44 (0)117 230 1909.

About Bamako

Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of roughly 1.8 million. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth fastest in the world. It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the upper and middle Niger valleys in the southwestern part of the country. Bamako is the nation’s administrative center. The city proper is a cercle in its own right. Bamako’s river port is located in nearby Koulikoro, along with a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the seventh largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar, and Accra. Locally manufactured goods include textiles, processed meat and metal goods. There is commercial fishing on the Niger River. The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning “crocodile river”.

About Festival In The Desert

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 festivals, Festival In The Desert was founded on a Tamashek (Tuareg) tradition of festivals celebrating the culture, music and stories of when the nomadic clans met in the cooler dry seasons. The festival has branched out over the years to represent all the communities and extraordinary rich musical traditions of Mali, the desert and the region as a whole. It is Mali’s number one attraction bringing people together from all corners of Africa and the world.

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