Additional Resources - Books - Music - Websites

There have been many books written about Timbuktu and the desert. The following are some that might be of interest to researchers or use to travellers:

Guide Books

  • Objectif Aventure Mali, éditions Aruthaud, 2001 (has lots of GPS point itineraries for Adventurous travellers, French only)
  • Découverte Mali, Magie d’un Fleuve aux Confins du Désert, éditions Olizane, 2005, (Full of colour photos and cultural blurbs, French only)
  • Mali, Bradt (Is the only Mali specific guide book in English)

Non Fiction
  • Tombouctou, Réalité d'un mythe, Eric Millet, preface by Michel Onfrey, Arthaud 2006 (many amazing large format colour photos available in French and English)
  • Les lettres de Tombouctou et de Gourma-Rharous, Jean-Yves Loude, Editions Donniy / la passe du vent, 2006 (small paper back with colour illustrations addresses many cultural topics from A to Z, French only)
  • Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled City of Gold, Marq de Villiers, Sheila Hirtle, Walter and Company 2007 (Canadian authors probe the history and legends, glory days and decay of the city)
  • Sahara: Sur les traces de Frison-Roche, Eric Millet, Arthaud 2003 (French only; a trek retrancing the camel trek across Algeria of the famous writer and film maker)
  • Sand Dance: By Camel Across Arabia's Great Southern Desert, Bruce Kirkby, Intro by Sir Wilfred Thesiger, McClelland & Stewart, 2000 (Three Canadians seek to retrace Sir Wilfred Thesigers trek accross Arabia’s Empty Quarter half a century later)
  • Memoires d'un crocodile, du sujet francais au citoyen malien, Amidou Mariko, Editions Donniya, 2001(autobiography of a Malian, particularily his service in the French colonial army and then the Malian Army)
  • Le Vrais goût du Mali: Une traversée du pays en 50 recettes, Lydia Gautier, Hermé, 2006 French only a look at Malian cuisine including recipies.
  • Azalai, John Skoll, Harper & Brother, New York, 1955 (written by the first American to visit Taoudeni)
  • The Primative City of Timbuctoo, (Ethnographic study of Timbuktu done in 1940, the author stayed 7 months in the city and developed a detail and quite accurate picture of the town and its inhabitans)
  • Men of Salt, Michael Benanav, The Lyons Press, 2006 (An american undertakes Azalai in 2003. However he misunderstands one fundamental point: from beggining to end he beleives Azalai refers to the camel drivers when in fact it is the global idea of the Salt Caravan. Other than is it is an interesting personal account of the trip.)

  • La Quête du Désert, d’un rêve à la réalité, Eric Millet éditions Arthaud, 2005.
  • L'esclave de Dieu, Frison Roche a novelized biography of Rene Caille

while I offer the above books as insteresting sources of information I do not vouch for the accuracy of the information contained therein. It is very difficult for an outsider however long they live in a town and however much they research to get the full story of a culture and history that is not theirs. The posibility of miss comunication due to lanuage barriers or alternate interpretations of expressions and lack of ability to read between the lines of statements can give miss-information. But also informants often have thier own agenda. They may have a grudge against another group, or maybe they want fame and fortune for themselves, or today, maybe they tell you what they think you want to hear to earn your money in the role of your guide, or to sell you a peice of jewellery. Almost every book listed has at least some place that is inaccurate however minor, that should not take away from the value of these books as sources of information.

There are many websites dedicated to information about travel to Mali and Timbuktu. Below is a selection that may be of interest.

Mali is known worldwide for the excellent music produced in the country. Some of those musicians come from Timbuktu or the northern regions of Mali. Here are some of the popular Malian and specifically Timbuktion artists.

Ali Farka Toure, From Niafunke in the region of TImbuktu he is now deceased but his music lives on.
Ami Konate
Habib Koite
Baba Salah
Haira Arby excellent Tamacheq music