Timbuktu

Yes, we are at the edge of the world. Although the town is not too exciting, it is interesting to walk out on the dunes and see the Tuaregs and camels and realize that there are still camel safaris carrying salt slabs from the desert to here and Morocco. And bringing back dye for the blue fabric loved by the Tuaregs. We arrived after an all day drive which included six hours on a dirt road crossing the sahel. Air conditioner in the SUV not working so everything is dusty. Along the way we saw at least a dozen donkey trains carrying grains from the main road to the desert villages and presumably Timbuktu.

We spent four days in Dogon country on the Bandiagara escarpment. The Dogon have lived in the cliffs for centuries for protection from the Muslim invaders. They didn’t leave there cliff dwellings until after WWII, when the French assured theirsecurity. In turn, the Dogon had driven out the Tellim people. The Tellim and Dogon have build incredible graneries and burial structures in the cliffs. Much more elaborate than the Anatazi dwellings of the south west.

After just 24 hours here, we’ll be heading off at noon to get across the desert while there’s light. Then off to Djenne where we will go to a Fula cattle crossing. Bill and Lisette will leave from there to Bamako, and we’ll stay out in the Mopti/Djenne area until early January.

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