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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 26 May 2006
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Timbouctou Music Festival, Jan 2007

A couple of us are interested in going to Mali in January 2007, to the music festival; just wondering whether there are any others out there (4wd or bikers) who might be happy to link up with us some or all of the way?
We'll have maybe up to 3 x 4wds (including mine) between us but I'm more than happy to meet up with bikers who might be en route through North Africa, Mali and beyond.
We're thinking of driving through Spain from the UK to Morocco and then through Mali.
I've heard there are some unpleasant things going on in Mali, and the FCO are still saying its best not to travel north, east or west of timbouctou (!). I've travelled before in the Sahara as an independant traveller and in a couple of trips with others, and although I'm keeping my eyes peeled and keeping up to date with news coming out from Mali, I still want to give it a shot.
I'm a 'newbie' (kinda)
Just editing this - have been looking at general travel to Mali but would like some information on the best routes? maybe CS can help?
Cheers

Last edited by desertfox; 26 May 2006 at 15:38.
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  #2  
Old 27 May 2006
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At the moment I'm planning to do much the same. I'll be solo on a bike but I'll be leaving the UK a week or two before Xmas. Not quite sure on dates etc - depends on work commitments etc. I'm still working out my exact route - some bits I want to avoid and some bits to revisit from previous trips. pm me know your route and timetable - be nice to know who to look out for.
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  #3  
Old 27 May 2006
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Smile Timbouctou Music Fest

BackaBeyond
Hi there! Still finalising the route that I'm taking; I'm thinking of going through Algeria but am waiting on responses from those who've been through Mali very recently and/or Algeria.
Will keep the list updated.
What kind of bike have you? I'm thinking of splashing out on an oldish bike that I can put paneers on, and is big enough for the usual tent and things!
Regards
landcruiser
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  #4  
Old 28 May 2006
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This time the bike is going to be a CCM 600. If you've never heard of CCM I'm not surprised - they're a small British manufacturer that started making dirt bikes in the 70's and via a few go bust / start again cycles are still making them.
In your first post you mentioned Spain to Morocco so I assumed you'd be taking the Atlantic route. If you're going thru Algeria, as far as I know, the Morocco - Algeria border is shut, has been for a long time and I haven't heard anything about it opening. The usual route is to enter via Tunisia. For me, solo on a bike, the requirement for a guide in Algeria makes it a non starter. I'd also be a bit concerned about doing Tam to Gao solo for the distance / remoteness never mind the political problems. Not so much of a problem with 3 or 4 vehicles, but planning on the assumption that I'd be doing this on my own I'll probably be going Atlantic route / route d'espoire / Nema / Bamako /Timbuktoo with modifications dependant on circumstances.
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  #5  
Old 29 May 2006
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Mali Jan 2007.

Hi there, I am planning a trip to Mali in Jan 2007. I hope to follow the Barcelona - Dakar for part of the route and then enter Mali. For you information Nick Sanders (Fastest solo motorcyclist round the world) is organising a trip for approx 20 - 30 bikes to follow the Dakar route and then also head into Mali. this could be interesting for all travellers in Morocco, Mauritania and Mali (Timbuktu)at this time as you may come across this large group.
How safe is mali?
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  #6  
Old 30 May 2006
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Mali Safety

I don't know how safe it is at the minute. I think maybe there might be repercusions, but I'm kinda hoping things will improve. I'm still planning for the festival, and I'm trying to gather as much information as I can meanwhile. It troubles me but then things do happen in north africa and the best thing to do is keep an eye on developments. There will always be risks involved in travel to north africa, but I don't really mind this.
re the route to the festival, I'm still working on that, if it is indeed dodgy to go through Algeria I probably will consider the atlantic route. But I will weigh up the pros and cons anyway, as a matter of course. No route is preferred at the moment, as I'm still in the early planning stages.
Cheers
landcruiser
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Old 30 May 2006
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The situation in Mali

I guess Landcruiser is refering to the recent 'events' in Kidal as featured on various news web sites. The background and the situation is a little more complicated than all those reports have suggested as it transpires that the leader of this attack (a Touareg ex-rebel and deserter from the Malian Army) has organised a number of other, but unreported, attacks in the same area. On each previous occasion the government has negotiated/tolerated these actions with the predictable result that they continued and escalated. There is no impending Touareg uprising and no return to the civil war of 15 years ago, these are the actions of a very small number of, literally, outlaws with an agenda that is not political and who do not have local support; indeed there is much anger at the past failures of the government to 'deal' with the problem. Quite different from the 1970's & 80's.

There is a lot of western (and primarily US) concern about what is going on in the desert areas in the north of Mali. When I was there in 2004 I was told that the Americans had pulled their Peace Corps volunteers out of Tombouctou a week or so earlier because of report of terrorist training camps/activities locally. This turned out, as these reports always do, to be complete rubbish. There are risks in the East of Mali from bandits and theft of 4x4s, though rare, is not unheard of, even as far South as Gao.

My basic message though is don't be put off by these reports and if you want to go to the Festival do so. You will be safe.

Q
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  #8  
Old 30 May 2006
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Mali troubles

Thanks for this Q!
There is not much that would stop me from going, aside to a 3rd WW that is!
So I'm still champing at the bit. I've not been to Mali before, and I'm hoping this will be the first of several.
Cheers
landcruiser
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  #9  
Old 30 May 2006
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American interest in Mali

It won't have escaped the Americans' eye about the fuel deposits in Mali neither...
So I'm guessing that the Americans are going to continue with their 'presence' in Mali for the foreseeable future...

Someone mentioned to me recently that the Americans are training some of their soldiers to be crack fighters in this terrain. Now I wonder why that is...

I detract - It would be very interesting indeed, if lots of bikers were to descend on Mali, stormin' the Mali hinterlands!
It would be good to meet up with some of you! twill make parts of the trip very interesting and enjoyable.

If anyone has more information on what is happening out there, please let me know; official Malian sources are not telling very much, or rather, its not coming back to the UK in a form which is accessible.
landcruiser
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