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Old 24 Feb 2008
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Safety and security in Mali - Timbuktu, Dogon, Festival in the Desert

Hi

I'm going to be travelling through Mali in January 2009 with 2 motorbikes and a couple in an overland truck. I'm interested in going to the Dogon Country, Djenne, Timbuktu (Tombouctou) and the Festival in the Desert.

I see on the UK Foreign Office travel advisory website that these areas are known for banditry, and they advise against travel to these areas.

I'm aware the travel advisory has to be extremely cautious in their stance, and as such often overstate the situation. However, that said I also don't think it's a good idea to dismiss this advice off-hand, as they advise this for a reason!

So, has anyone been there recently, or have knowledge of the situation in the area? Is it too dangerous to travel to these areas, or would you consider it safe enough?

Is travelling without a guide, with only 2 people in an overland truck, and a further 2 people on motorbike a stupid thing to do in these areas?

Thanks for your advice!
Steve
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Old 25 Feb 2008
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As everyone who has been there will tell you, these areas are completely, totally and utterly safe. The trouble, such as it now is and even this is winding down, is confined to areas round Kidal and the border areas with north Niger. If you search past postings you'll find stuff about guides in the Dogon. You can do it solo but I reckon you'll get more out of if you have a local guide; at least for part. You don't need a guide anywhere else. My only advice would be that if you're going with an overland truck make sure you get to the ferry to Timbuktu well before the rest of the punters start arriving in their 4x4s because the ferry capacity is limited and you'll be there for yonks..and you'll have to pay a fortune too. You don't need a guide to get to Essakane-just follow the 4x4s! I have a friend locally who has told me that the kids in the Dogon have started to become particularly hassely but that's a function of the areas increasing popularity with tourists.

Q
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Old 25 Feb 2008
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Thanks

Thanks for the response, and you confirmed my suspicions!
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