To Timbuktu and Back: A Brief Recap

by phil on October 22, 2010

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These items will be expanded in upcoming posts

– Overland Bamako to Mopti
– Mopti to village of Niafunke in overloaded-somehow-still-seaworthy pinasse on Niger River
– Hanging out in Niafunke, meeting the rest of Ali Farka Toure’s family, contracting amoebic dysentery
– Timbuktu.. with amoebic dysentery
– Timbuktu to Sevare overland.. with amoebic dysentery (never again)
– Extensive blood, urine, and stool analysis in Sevare
– Dogon Country
– Sevare back to Bamako

The trip between Timbuktu and Sevare is officially the worst overland journey I have ever experienced. That said, Mali is an incredible country and even in the throes of fever and bloody stools, I got to see some of the best parts of it.

Something you should know: Mali is safe to travel. A terrorist warning cast by the US, UK, and the EU, has devastated tourism here. It’s true, there have been several kidnappings in Northern Mali by a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. But these kidnappings have happened in the largely unpopulated border area with Niger. Not in Timbuktu. Not in Dogon Country. Not in Bamako. Everyone I’ve talked to laments the dwindling number of tourists and in a place where so many people depend on foreign visitors for their livelihood, I can understand.

The true terrorists are amoebas, and they can be prevented. I will tell you how. Soon.

I am back in Bamako. Staying once more at the lovely Sleeping Camel hostel for $8 a night. Recuperating, writing, reading, working on some music. My next post is an interview with one of the owners from the hostel. After that I will get into the journey above. It is one for the books.

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