Timbuktu can wait

The fabled and mysterious desert city of the 333 saints: Timbuktu

The fabled and mysterious desert city of the 333 saints, Timbuktu, has inspired explorers, writers and travelers

‘Look, that’s the travel agency, who refused to organize our trip to Timbuktu’, Ibrahim recently overheard a traveler say to his travel companion when walking past our office in Ségou.

Quite regularly people contact us to inquire about the possibilities to travel to Timbuktu. The fabled and mysterious desert city of the 333 saints is on many a traveler’s bucket list. Apparantly these travelers were amongst the people who had contacted us for a trip to Timbuktu.

True, we do not take people to Timbuktu at present. And for good reason.
Don’t get me wrong, we would love to (and we would love to travel there ourselves too), but it’s simply not the right time.

One swallow does not make a summer!
Even though these travelers went to Timbuktu and returned, the situation in the city is far from safe and the risks of incidents both in the city and on the road to Timbuktu are high.

Our good friends and guides in Timbuktu share their stories with us and provide us with up-to-date inside information and they are absolutely clear about it:
‘Do not take anyone to Timbuktu yet! Monique, you too will have to wait!’
Keep in mind that they used to make their living by guiding tourists and you may realize the value of their advise!

Banditry abounds in the North. Incidents happen almost daily and don’t even make it to the news. When a car is being ambushed, being robbed from valuables and money  is only the best case scenario.
Gunmen have no mercy.

Give it a few thoughts:
What would happen if you’d be kidnapped or murdered on a trip to Timbuktu?
You may be ready to take the risk. But it’s not just about you!
It’s also about your family and friends, about the people who organized your trip, about the people representing your country in Mali and about the consequences for the entire nation of Mali.

We’re not willing to expose our clients to this level of risks.
Neither do we fancy losing our license over a premature trip to Timbuktu or contributing to another set-back for Mali.

Be assured that we’ll let you know when we’re ready to add Timbuktu to the itinerairies again. Till then, we warmly welcome you to experience Mali’s beautiful South.

Most posts on this blog are based on experiences in my personal life. Every now and then – like in this case – I’m writing as the owner / founder of Papillon Reizen as well.

About MoInMali

Monique is the founder of Papillon Reizen, a Mali based travel agency specialized in inspiring journeys in Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. Fair-trade and with a heart for people, environment and culture. Small-scale group journeys as well as family trips and journeys tailored to your wishes. We love to share West Africa's beauty with you and take you on a journey to experience rather than to see. Monique lives in Mali with her Malian partner and shares some of her daily life experiences with you through this blog. For information on Papillon Reizen: www.papillonreizen.com
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