Ever wondered where on earth Timbuktu really is and what it is actually like as a place?
Timbuktu is a sandy city on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali, in the bulge of Africa near the Niger River. In times gone by this mysterious West African city was a famous intellectual and educational centre that thrived due to its position on both the east-west and north-south trans-Saharan caravan trade routes. This near mythical Mali city also played a central role in the development of Islam in northern Africa, making it a spiritual hub too.
Today Timbuktu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an international airport and steady tourist industry. You can walk the sandy streets of legendary Timbuktu visiting mosques or the ancient University of Timbuktu. According to travelers who have been to Timbuktu and back, there is not much to do out there in the middle of nowhere.
Experts claim that Timbuktu with all its history and myth is being swallowed by the sands of the Saharan Desert. So, maybe one day it will become nothing more than expression used to describe far off places.
Now that you know Timbuktu is a real place in Mali you can:
Read about Timbuktu and see what it looks like on the Wikipedia Timbuktu site or look into the mysterious history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Timbuktu page on the History Channel website. Or to see more of Africa visit this Overlanding site for ideas.