West Africa visit

This item appears on page 30 of the November 2010 issue.
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I toured Mali and Burkina Faso, Feb. 10-27, 2010, with Craig Canadian Group Travel, Ltd. (Toronto, Ont., Canada; 800/387-8890), who also arranged a post-trip, seven-day hotel stay for me for in Paris through March 6.

The tour was named “Into the Heart of West Africa,” and the cost for everything was $8,754. That covered round-trip air from Portland, Oregon, everything in Africa (except water during meals), the hotel room in Paris and an overnight in a Toronto hotel on my way back.

In Mali we had the best driver I’ve ever had in 50-plus years. His eyes never left the road — and there were so many animals on the road! Our guide was excellent, Mousa Tembrine (P.O. Box 1356, Bakamo, Mali; phone 00223 79 074935, e-mail Cliffadventurer@yahoo.fr), who also does private tour arrangements. I highly recommend him.

The trip was certainly interesting and worthwhile, but it could have been a lot better, information-wise. The hotels were okay, but you can’t expect much. The food was remarkably wonderful (French influence?). The flights and the 15-person, air-conditioned Mercedes van were excellent. I didn’t see any cause for alarm in Africa — not even many police or military.

Timbuktu was Timbuktu (for an intrepid traveler, not to be missed). However, Mr. Tembrine does not encourage anyone to consider a camel tour to the salt mines north of Timbuktu (Tombouctou). It takes 28-plus days, and after day one there is no turning back — very challenging, even for the physically fit. I had seen a TV program about it and it sounded exciting, but he said it’s very foolish to even try it.

If anyone has questions about Mali, write c/o ITN.

HELEN PAULUS
Underwood, WA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I toured Mali and Burkina Faso, Feb. 10-27, 2010, with Craig Canadian Group Travel, Ltd. (Toronto, Ont., Canada; 800/387-8890), who also arranged a post-trip, seven-day hotel stay for me for in Paris through March 6.

The tour was named “Into the Heart of West Africa,” and the cost for everything was $8,754. That covered round-trip air from Portland, Oregon, everything in Africa (except water during meals), the hotel room in Paris and an overnight in a Toronto hotel on my way back.

In Mali we had the best driver I’ve ever had in 50-plus years. His eyes never left the road — and there were so many animals on the road! Our guide was excellent, Mousa Tembrine (P.O. Box 1356, Bakamo, Mali; phone 00223 79 074935, e-mail Cliffadventurer@yahoo.fr), who also does private tour arrangements. I highly recommend him.

The trip was certainly interesting and worthwhile, but it could have been a lot better, information-wise. The hotels were okay, but you can’t expect much. The food was remarkably wonderful (French influence?). The flights and the 15-person, air-conditioned Mercedes van were excellent. I didn’t see any cause for alarm in Africa — not even many police or military.

Timbuktu was Timbuktu (for an intrepid traveler, not to be missed). However, Mr. Tembrine does not encourage anyone to consider a camel tour to the salt mines north of Timbuktu (Tombouctou). It takes 28-plus days, and after day one there is no turning back — very challenging, even for the physically fit. I had seen a TV program about it and it sounded exciting, but he said it’s very foolish to even try it.

If anyone has questions about Mali, write c/o ITN.

HELEN PAULUS
Underwood, WA