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Old 1 Nov 2009
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Desert Festival Timbukatu

We are off to the Desert Festival Timbukatu in Jan and have read the FCO advice and wondered if it as bad as they say and whether anyone has been recently
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Old 6 Nov 2009
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It`s difficult to say, obviously. I think the festival itself is fine in terms of "safety" but all around Timbuktu can be a sensible area where many things can happen but that's common in northern Mali. My humble opinion? Better come and leave when everybody does.
All things considered the Festival is a beautiful experience and I think is very worth it.

I'd like to hear more opinions.

Last edited by Bertrand; 7 Nov 2009 at 11:32. Reason: removed drug related comment
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Old 7 Nov 2009
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Hi Dave

We went to the festival last year. When we arrived we found out that the foreign office had issued a warning about going. Apparently there had been threats issued against foreigners by some militant group.

I believe a lot of people did heed the warning as apparently attendance was well down on previous years.

I don't know if the threats affected the number of bands that came to play, but I found the festival quite disappointing musically.

The setting is extraordinary, and probably worth going just for that experience.

We had no trouble at all. Just the usual herberts that wanted to charge us for camping under a tree near the venue. We kept telling them to push off, they kept returning, and on one occasion with a young policeman.
Since they could not convince us that they owned that section of the desert, or the tree we were under they had to retreat unrewarded.

I suggest camping some way from the venue as the locals have a habit of playing 'disco' music from the tannoy system at max volume until about 5 in the morning

We of course paid for the festival which we did at the entrance. Each of us received a coloured bracelet as proof of payment.

The routes in and out are easy to find, but there are areas of very soft sand.

On balance I'm glad I went - it is an extraordinary experience - however I wouldn’t go again.

Hope this helps

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