View Full Version : Is Mali off limit to overlanders now?
05-07-2012, 11:27 PM
A few years ago I worked in Mali and fell in love with that country. I was looking forward to go back for a second visit this year.
However it seems like the entire country is now in a precarious situation.
The entire country is now red http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/mali
Some foreigners have been kidnapped (and even killed) around Timbuktu since last year, including a South African/UK citizen.
Some good info on the Sahara Overland forum on the Hubb
05-08-2012, 04:40 AM
I wouldn't run a trip there, but I'd go personally in an instant. Been through DRC, Angola, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Serbia and Iraq all during conflicts of one sort or another. Practical conditions on the ground are rarely reflected in FCO or CIA warnings. Sure, you have to be careful, even extra careful, but if you are, nothing is closed.
Just my 2c
05-08-2012, 08:38 PM
Two things to keep in mind:
1. It's the State Department's job to be pessimistic and paranoid.
2. It's every new agency's job to sensationalize the news.
We were just in Egypt when U.S. news agencies were reporting Cairo was "in flames," and the State Department had warned all of us to keep away. And here's Roseann and Diane at the mercy of a mob of Egyptians:
That's not to say we blithely wander wherever we like and pay no attention to news or the State Department. But such information is part of our decision on whether or not to go, not the sole arbiter. And statistically speaking, the frequency of these events that result in headlines and official warnings is vanishingly rare.
05-08-2012, 08:58 PM
Looks like you guys had a fun time in Egypt. There's always warnings, people getting kidnapped all over the world. It's always something to consider and think about not just abroad but at home as well. I wouldn't suggest traveling through an active war zone or hitting up the Mogadishu Market for some fresh chicken, but take politically motivated warnings with a grain of salt. Stay Alert, Stay Alive
05-14-2012, 03:04 AM
I agree that the whole of Mali is probably fine, but I don't think I would venture in Timbuktu right now.
More sad news:
Mali Islamist militants 'destroy' Timbuktu saint's tomb
The Djingareyber mosque is one of the cultural sites protected by Unesco in Timbuktu.
Timbuktu is the site of three great medieval mosques, Unesco says.
05-27-2012, 03:35 PM
I agree. Well, Northern Mali is now REALLY off limits. The declaration today of a New Islamic state by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (no, really, thats their name) and the Taliban-crazy Bin Laden inspired "Ansar al-Dinne" (aka Al Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb-Mali branch) is at least one way to get the the coup winners in Bamako back on the USA and French good graces after looting the central bank. The Bamako response is going to be predictable and involve lots of overlanding ... well, if you call Toyota 75s with heavy machineguns and rockets moving armed men from the south to the north . Expect lots of high speed chases and random indiscriminate shooting of locals. Yeesh!
06-30-2012, 03:26 PM
I guess this is no surprise, but still extremely sad and deplorable.
Timbuktu shrines damaged by Mali Ansar Dine Islamists
Islamist fighters in Mali have damaged the shrines of Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu, witnesses say.
The fighters, from the Ansar Dine group, which controls much of northern Mali, attacked the mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud, one of 16 shrines in the city.
Last week, the UN cultural organisation Unesco put Timbuktu on its list of endangered world heritage sites, fearing damage following the coup which toppled the Malian government in March.
Islamists regard shrines as idolatrous.
However, some Muslims, especially Sufis, regard them as an accepted part of Muslim worship.
Witnesses said Islamist fighters began attacking the shrines on Saturday morning, using shovels and pickaxes.
"This is tragic news for us all," Unesco chairperson Alissandra Cummins said in a statement to the AFP news agency. "I appeal to all those engaged in the conflict in Timbuktu to exercise their responsibility."
Continue reading the main story
Treasures of Timbuktu
Timbuktu was a centre of Islamic learning from the 13th to the 17th Centuries
700,000 manuscripts survive in public libraries and private collections
Books on religion, law, literature and science
Letters between rulers, advisers and merchants on subjects as varied as taxation, commerce, marriage and prostitution
Added to Unesco world heritage list in 1988 for its three large mosques and 16 cemeteries and mausoleums
Unesco says theY played a major role in spreading Islam in West Africa; the oldest dates from 1329
Life in Timbuktu under Islamist rule
Why do we know Timbuktu?
Ansar Dine spokesman Sanda Ould Boumama told the AFP news agency the shrines would be destroyed, "all of them, without exception".
06-30-2012, 06:32 PM
We were there in March/April last year.
To be honest there were not many travellers around. Up in Bandiagara we were the only people staying and advice was not to go any further north. We had eyes on us all the time, same at Djenne. So while you might say "keep your head down, be careful" etc, when you're the only foreigners in town EVERYONE will know about it. If you're moving daily then you should be ok. I personally would not like to travel through Mali now. Kidnappings in the whole area are on the up and its starting to happen in daylight in public places.
Yes there are risks everywhere, but I think West Africa should be avoided as an overland destination for the time being.
Shame I know, but there are other places to see.
06-30-2012, 07:19 PM
I think also people have to remember that the libyan uprising put another few million AK 47's on the market in what was a relatively safe North Africa
warehouses of military hardware looted and removed
Pretty sure not only Ghadaffi's family fled south to Niger and Mali, he was also accused of using mercenaries....
what do you think they took home with them , postcards and happy memories ?
for me a family man- it would simply not be worth the risk, there are many other places to visit on the planet !
I once met an X SAS chap in Houston, arround the time of the Gulf war and asked him why he was'nt over there as a merc
his answer was I'm presently doing ship security in the gulf and caribean, they pay me about the same, but the chance of being shot at is way less....
Simple answer and made sence
I'm still here in Colombia after 1.4 years myself and my family are the only ones of our social group that have not been mugged or robbed,
we have either been simply been lucky or our awareness is such that we are'nt seen as an easy target my big arse weimeraner helps in keeping people away
we even take him to the pub with us !
here its just knives and odd pistol- but arround the city many die each week for the price of a mobile phone.
here I see the security issues as arround but carry an acceptable risk / the pay and family life.
I would see Mali Niger etc right now as unsetlled with too many un-controled guns and religious ferver showing its shadowy head
The benefits do not outway the risk
07-01-2012, 10:45 AM
I should also have added that if you want to know the situation on the ground in Bamako you need to speak to Bill at 'The Sleeping Camel' http://www.thesleepingcamel.com/
Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sleeping-Camel-Bamako-Mali/220855236277 1 post shows a couple who passed through about 2 weeks ago so there are still a handfull of people transiting Mali right now.
The other person to speak to in West Africa would be Martin at the Zebrabar in Senegal: http://www.zebrabar.net/
OK he is a long way off Mali but knows the situation in West Africa and keeps an eye on it as a lack of tourism in the area as a whole effects his business.
07-03-2012, 12:48 AM
Apparently they have destroyed half of the 16 temples so far. Such a shame, even my mother called me to share her sad feelings.
Why isn't there someone doing something to stop them?
07-10-2012, 06:50 PM
And the bad news keep coming in. This makes me sick.
07-12-2012, 06:05 AM
I found the blog of a swiss couple, they do the west route currently, and stay currently @ bamoko:
Then there are some, who are driving arround mali currently:
If you watch these blogs, you see that there are still other travellers arround, who drove through or arround mali.
So i dont see the need, to plan without mali currently. And it is good to know, that there is a way arround - if the situation goes worse.
Mat from "the sleeping camel" leave mali last week, because he dont know how the situation develops, not because it is too dangerous actually.
Same i read out of bruce`s blog @ http://bamakobruce.wordpress.com/ He leaves mali, because he dont know what happen in the future.
01-17-2013, 05:13 AM
Great CNN article on the current situation in Mali today:
01-17-2013, 05:55 AM
Still safer than Syria at least.
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