Timbuktu (region)

WARNING: As of Jan 2013, the Timbuktu region is in the midst of ongoing fighting between Islamist rebels (who have controlled the region since mid-2012, imposing strict religious law) and Malian, West African, & French forces who are trying to out the rebels. Travel is not recommended at this time. More information is available in the warning at the top of the Mali page.

Timbuktu is in a region in Mali named after the largest city within the region.



Whilst Timbuktu is the largest department in Mali, it is largely empty. The majority of Timbuktu is the deserts of the Sahara, the main towns are all focussed in the south along the Niger. The desert areas are largely the domain of the Tuareg.

Get around

The towns in the south can be accessed by bus/taxi. However the desert to the north requires a 4x4 or a camel, you will probably want a guide who knows what they are doing.


The city of Timbuktu itself is the main attraction in the department.


The world famous 'Festival in the Desert' is held at Essakane. You can easily get transport from Timbuktu when the festival is running.

Stay safe

If you are heading into the desert to the North there is usually considered to be a threat of bandits in addition to the risk of getting stranded. Be sure to register your itinerary and expected return date with the tourist office in Timbuktu.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, September 30, 2013. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.