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Trip Rating
15-day trip begins in Ouagadougou and ends in Bamako
Rugged 4-wheel-drive travel, 2 days river travel, 2 days optional moderate hiking, optional camel ride
9 nights camping, 5 nights hotels
Please call us at (800) 282-8747 for dates!
2009 Prices
$4,795 (10-16 members)
$5,095 (8-9 members)
$5,395 (6-7 members)
$300 internal airfare
$800 single supplement

MALI & BURKINA FASO: Timbuktu & Beyond

Timbuktu & Beyond, a cultural journey in West Africa; Dogon dancers in Mali.

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As featured in the article, "Room With A View" in Conde Nast Traveler. Check it out!

The name "Timbuktu" conjures up an air of mystery, adventure, and the remote. And while the town no longer sports the riches of its heyday, it still exerts an allure that's hard to resist. On this intimate look at the lifestyles and cultures of West Africa, you'll venture far beyond Timbuktu to experience the heart and soul of this fascinating, sometimes perplexing, land. Each day is full of wonder, from meeting Bozo fishermen while traveling along the Niger River by pinasse (a traditional boat) to hikes among remote unmapped villages of the animistic Dogon.

The highlight is a genuine - and utterly amazing - expedition across the sands of the Sahara to meet nomadic Moors and Tuaregs in their encampments, see camel caravans transporting salt bars from the Taoudenni mines to Timbuktu, and ride camels to the outpost of Araouane, a sand-buried village that's a time capsule of the past. This highlight is not offered by any other U.S. tour operator! Expect a challenging - yet entirely enriching - adventure.


  • Spectacular expedition into the Sahara to see trains of camels laden with salt blocks (and to ride camels!)
  • Visit remote Dogon villages and attend an exclusive masked dance
  • Two-day riverboat journey on the Niger River to visit with Bozo and Fulani villagers
  • Superb crafts - Dogon granary doors and other carvings, mud cloth, batik fabrics, Tuareg jewelry

Map of route taken on our West African Sahara Desert adventure, Mali & Burkina Faso: Timbuktu and Beyond. Itinerary: Timbuktu & Beyond

Day 1 - Meet in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Days 2-3 - Head south through the savanna to explore the Gurunsi people's fortified compounds, painted with frescoes of red, white, and black geometric designs, and Mossi villages with their giant clay granaries.

Days 4-6 - Cross into Mali for hikes to Dogon villages visited by few other groups, including one hidden in an escarpment, and to witness a wildly colorful Dogon mask dance.

Day 7 - Visit Djenné, where the most beautiful and genuine examples of Sudanese adobe architecture are found, including the most famous mud mosque in Mali.

Day 8 - Explore Mopti, where salt slabs mined in the Sahara are still brought by boat from Timbuktu.

Days 9-10 - Navigate the wide Niger River by traditional pinasse to visit Bozo villages, meet Fulani herdsmen, and admire the fanciful adobe architecture. End river trip in Niafounké, the home village of worldbeat star Ali Farka Touré.

Day 11 - Cross through a desert region frequented by nomads. In the afternoon, we will visit nomad settlements before continuing to Timbuktu.

Day 12 - Arrive in Timbuktu, the major caravan terminal of all the Sahara. You'll spend the day exploring its sandy streets, including the 14th-century Djinguereber Mosque, the oldest clay building in Africa, and the local market.

Days 13-14 - We will explore the unspoiled Gandamia Mountains, a natural extension of the Dogon Cliffs, remote and rarely visited by western tourists - its spectacular spires, canyons, and valleys can only be discovered by foot. We will visit small settlements in a surprisingly lush valley, as well as a visit to the Songhai tribe, believed to be the descendants of the kings of Gao.

Day 15 - Fly to Bamako, with its beautiful Neo-Sudanese style architecture. Tour the sights, including the best ethnographic museum in West Africa. Depart Bamako.

Detailed Itinerary - MALI & BURKINA FASO: Timbuktu & Beyond

Detailed Itinerary - MALI & BURKINA FASO: Timbuktu & Beyond


For more information and reservations, please contact:

Mountain Travel Sobek
1266 66th Street, Suite 4
Emeryville, CA 94608
1-510-594-6000 or
Toll Free 1-888-831-7526 (USA & Canada)
Additional International Toll Free Numbers
Fax: 1-510-594-6001

Photo Credits
©Dylan Hiroms (MTS Staff)