Blogs from Timbuktu, North-West, Mali, Africa

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Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu September 13th 2011

"Jak chcecie to plyncie sobie statkiem, bedziecie siedziec na ziemi w wodzie a ludzie beda po was lazic,ale mozecie plynac piekna Pinasa -wygodnie, w nielicznym towarzystwie" itd. Mowili nam bardzo nachalni przewodnicy w Mopti. W rezultacie Pinasa to mala lodeczka z towarem, pomiedzy ktorym sie lokujesz, ku uciesze naganiaczy,za co kasuja od20 do 35tys frankow od osoby (1E=650f) Statek to trzy pietrowy promik z tarasem, gdzie spokojnie mozna rozlozyc sobie np.namiot a bilet kosztuje 5tys frankow na glowe.Na pokladzie sa prysznice,bary z normalnymi cenami i muzyka. I pinasa i statkiem plynie sie do Timbuktu ok czterdziestu godzin. Pinasy plywaja codzien, statek np teraz pod koniec pory deszczowej raz w tygodniu z Mopti w Czwartek, w porze suchej nie plywa. Na promie swietnie,- dobra okazja by poznac miejscowych. W zasadzie tylko my bylismy bialasami, jak to ... read more
Dogonka
przystanki w mijanych wioskach to okazja do wymiany towarow
zycie na promie

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu June 13th 2011

AU REVOIR MALI...TIMBUKTU TO BAMAKO Last night in Timbuktu...last G & T before dinner...vodka...ah I've got two cans of Tonic I bought in Mopti when we loaded up for our pinasse "up the Niger in a leaky boat" to Timbuktu...hey this tonic water is dark brown...tastes erkk..yuk...what... its vitamin tonic..."Bottoms up...salut!" Leave for dinner...waiting for our lift...a young lad no older than 10 entertained us "I am little Tuareg... little Price"...he said as he unrolled a handkerchief and laid out his wares...charming the ladies as only a young Cassanova from Timbuktu can...so I sat back and watched him weave his Tuareg magic with the ladies (and the men)... "I have made an offer...you must make an offer to me...you have to make 3 offers"..."But I do not want to"..."You have to...I am little Tuareg, little Price...what ... read more
CROSSING THE NIGER
PIRROGUE
VALLEY OF THE MONOLITHS

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu June 10th 2011

OUR TUAREG WEDDING...FESTIVAL AU DESERT...TIMBUKTU, MALI Guy looked like "Lawrence of Arabia in sunglasses" as he raised his camel whip...whoosh...sway of the layers of his white bou bou. Then with flourish addressed the crowd and the sand dunes dotted with Tuaregs on camels. "I give you...my one time daughter...to cherish with your life". I grasped my sword hilt to not hit anyone...stepped forward...raised my camel whip and declared "I will protect her till the camels come home." Someone whispered "Thank you for remembering the camels." The Tuaregs trilled and the crowd cheered "Bizzou...bizzou.... kiss...kiss." So how did four Aussies...having gone to Mali to attend the Festival au Desert score a full scale Tuareg wedding? It was an idea that I watered and li... read more
ON OUR WAY TO GET MARRIED
THE GROOM
THE BRIDE

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu May 7th 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...FESTIVAL AU DESERT 2011...TIMBUKTU Our encampment is a large circle of tuareg goatskin tents covered in a red dye that brushes off on our clothes and skin...Den & I share with Mike & Ros. I erect my Socceroos flag next to the From Here 2 Timbuktu flag so our Aussie presence is proclaimed...and as it turned out notwithstanding we were 4 among a group of over 20, our encampment was often referred to by others as "the Aussies"...maybe it was our wedding on Day 2 (see next blog)...or maybe it was because we had just lost the Ashes and the Poms among us liked to rub it in...or maybe it was 'cause we had travelled the furthest to be here! Anyway our group was the best of the best...everyone got on well and ... read more
SECURING OUR SAFETY
AS WE MAKE CAMP...
DUSK SETTLES...

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu April 21st 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...TIMBUKTU...THE ARRIVAL Sanddunes line the Niger riverbank as our pinasse slides into the port of Korioume...people everywhere...hands grabbing our packs to load into 4WDs or reaching out in the event we are feeling benevolent...goodbyes to Ibrahim & Amadou who will now head downriver...into 4WD with Bastos...telling us this will be the BEST Festival au Desert yet...and the President is coming...belt along tarmac through a grove of Aussie gums...then through sand...through a brick signless gate...BIENVENUE A TOMBOUCTOU..."Welcome to Timbuktu"...we have made it...that fabled city...place of learning...once on the Niger river...now 20kms away...overtaken by the Sahara Desert... Welcome to Timbuktu...the city of 333 Saints...La Mysterieuse Relax & Enjoy, Dancing Dave (who danced, danced and kept on dancing until he got to Timbuktu...(as you do)..... read more
EXPLORE...
...LA MYSTERIEUSE
TUAREG

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu April 13th 2011

FACES OF MALI...TIMBUKTU Many faces partially obscured by the indigo turbans of the Tuareg..or smiling from them...the nomadic peoples of the southern Sahara Desert...strong faces...showing resolve, endurance and handsome all...Tuaregs arriving by camel to trade...but also Songhai (descendents of the Songhai Empire who once controlled the gold & salt trade) & Bozo (fishermen of the Niger) also wear turbans of many colours to protect from the unrelenting strong sun...Felani (nomadic herders & traders) in their distinctive dome hats... We are now in Timbuktu...that mythical location that does exist...and these people bear witness to that... Timbuktu...overtaken by the Sahara Desert...the city of 333 saints...repository for ancient manuscripts...where 3,000 rifles were burnt in 1996 to mark the end of the Tuareg rebellion in the Place de la Paix "the Flame of Peace"... read more
CA VA
ITS A SMALL WORLD
SWORD DANCER

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu March 31st 2011

IMAGES OF MALI...UP THE NIGER IN A LEAKY BOAT We piled onto our pinasse near Mopti...5 men lifted the back & pushed us off...into the middle of the Niger...then the sound & sight of water rushing at our feet...yikes "We are sinking!!!!" Pull into the riverbank lifting our packs & whatever onto bench seats or into our arms to avoid soaking...pile out with cameras, daypacks etc and sit on a concrete bank for a fish sorting area ...silence...reflecting...pondering...we have three days in this boat to get to Timbuktu...and we have just started...and there is a hole as big as my fist in the bottom... And so started our "leisurely" cruise up the Niger River to Timbuktu! We had been joined by Guy, our tour operator from 'From Here 2 Timbuktu' the night before in Mopti together ... read more
...IN A LEAKY BOAT
RELAX & ENJOY...
APPROACHING THE MOSQUE...

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu February 28th 2011

Goodbye to Mali - last day was 13th February, 2011 We had one day's rest back in Timbuktu after the festival and I spent a fair bit of time cleaning out our packs and trying to get rid of as much of the Sarah sand as possible and having a well earned shower and clean up. We decided to have a fancy dinner on our last night in Timbuktu and we were not disappointed. The special restaurant that we went to also had a very important diner who had a lot of protection and the two streets surrounding the restaurant were very protected by local police and lots of guns........(two Hi-Lux uteswith 50cal machine guns mouted in the back of each ute and plenty of armed soldiers as well),,,,not sure who the important person was but ... read more
Local scene at the port of Timbuktu.
Scene at the port of Timbuktu
Freshly baked bread coming out of the oven.

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu February 27th 2011

Festival in the Desert Highlights - 7th and 8th January 2011 7/1/2011 As I mentioned in an earlier blog - there was to be a wedding at the festival. David and Denise, who we were travelling with us, had decided to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows and the festival seemed to be the perfect place. Our travel group were all to be part of the wedding party and with Hamma's help we managed to get traditional clothing made for the wedding. We had several wedding planners involved in getting everything right - wedding photographer and video specialist, clothing, Tuareg traditions had to be learned and followed, etc. etc. Invitations were send out by word of mouth around the camp sites and at about 4pm the celebration began. David and Denise were dressed ... read more
That's better - David now his head gear on.
Your transport awaits - one lap around the festival area.
Up, up and away.....

Africa » Mali » North-West » Timbuktu February 27th 2011

Festival in the Desert - 6th to 9th Januray 2011. The first Festival in the Desert took place in January 2001 and was based on a traditional Tuareg gathering. The first of these festivals was a rambling open-air celebration of Tuareg culture, music and dance, as well as a stage for other Malian and international performances. The Tuareg people are the largest ethic group in Mali and are mainly found in the northern part of the country. They are nomadic people and for the festival they travelled several hundred kms with their camels - travelling at night and resting during the heat of the day. The festival is seen as a yearly opportunity to trade and make an income that would last them for the whole year. By 2004, the three day event had a fixed ... read more
No stopping in this sand - just keep going until we reach our camp site.
Stage for the festival surrounded on all sides by sand dunes.
Familiar sight around the festival site.




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