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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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Old 2 Dec 2011
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Timbuktu & Festival du Desert

People ask if it is ok to go to Timbuktu now, after last week's kidnappings.
I think that is up to everyone to stay informed and take the right decision.
There's been bad guys in the vicinity of Timbuktu for a long time, but no kidnappings. Also, Mali has been reported to strengthen security this year with new military posts. And now this?
What is disturbing about the kidnapping is that it took place in daylight and there was no reported immediate action from police or military.
There is also the added insecurity due to the influx into the region of arms and people from Libya.

The Festival is still on, according to the organizers:
Festival au Désert - 12, 13, 14 January 2012
Greetings to all,

You may have heard about the recent events that occurred in Timbuktu last Friday. It is a serious blow for our Festival which for many years has suffered from the instability in the Saharan region.
Today, we are faced with a dilemma.

Since its creation, the Festival in the Desert has represented the values of peace and reconciliation. It is a symbol of people, Malian, Sahelian, African and non-African, meeting in the desert where, in the face of the reality of this difficult environment, all men are equal. To not hold this festival, when the same area is threatened by violence and terrorism, is somehow to forget these values and to let fear gain a durable foothold.

However, we cannot ignore the risks which exist for all our invited westerners, be they festival attendees, volunteers or members of the organization. Yesterday, the President of the Republic of Mali himself reaffirmed his strong intention that the event be held and his firm engagement to strengthen security measures. The Festival Directors are working in collaboration with the government to put in place maximum security measures to assure the safe operation of the Festival.

The Festival will be held as scheduled on the 12, 13 and 14 of January 2012. See you there!"

Festival to be held 2 kms from Timbuktu, walking distance.
Again, I think it is up to everyone to take their own decisions.
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Old 2 Dec 2011
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Yeah, fantastic,

and allways drag the medicine You need everday on the body in case of kidnapping!

Best regards and good luck

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Old 2 Dec 2011
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if you go by plane to the festival that´s one thing.But the guys here want to go by their own vehicle.I know the ways from Douentza,Niafunke and from Hombori to Timbuktu.And i think this ways are not safe at the moment.

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Old 2 Dec 2011
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and even if they arrive by plane this ...
Festival to be held 2 kms from Timbuktu, walking distance.
two kilometers are the problem. - See the last kidnapping there when the visitors gone back to hotel by car.


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Old 2 Dec 2011
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The 'drop in popularity' has mainly been due to the fact that they now charge €320 per person...

According to Priffe's post- looks like they have moved the location from Essakane which once took a few hours in deep deep sand by 4X4 to '2kms' outside Tombouctou as well

easier access for Malian forces?
2010 vid here

You might do better going to the one in Segou from 15 to 19 Feb 2012 for €100pp
Tickets and info here
and if you go, don't forget that these little guys are really active....
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