Timbuktu Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by hannette
  • Things to Do
    by hannette
  • Things to Do
    by hannette

Most Recent Things to Do in Timbuktu

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Explorers: Ibn Battuta

    by sachara Updated Jan 31, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Strolling around in Timbuctu you can find some remains and houses of the first explorers who visited Timbuctu. Ibn Battuta from Tangier in Morocco visited between 1325 and 1353 most of the Islam world in Asia and Africa. His last journey of 11 months was to West Africa. He stayed 6 months with Mansa Sulayman, the ruler of the Malian empire and visited. Timbuctu.

    He is most likely the first explorer who wrote about Timbuctu in his Rihla or 'Journey'. After the publication of this Rihla there is little known about Ibn Battuta’s life. For centuries his book was forgotten even within the Muslim world, In the 1800s, it was rediscovered and translated into several European languages. Ibn Battuta has grown in fame and is seen now as a well-known traveller and author.

    In the old town of Timbuctu you can find a plaque commemorating the visit of Ibn Battuta to Timbuktu in 1353.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Sidi Yahya mosque and madrassa

    by sachara Updated Jan 31, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Sidi Yahya mosque is with the Djinguereber and Sankore mosque one of the three important mosques in Timbuktu. The construction of the Sidi Yahya mosque has started in 1400 by Sheikh El-Mokhtar Hamalla in expectation of a holy person. First after 40 years in 1440 the predicted saint in the person of sharif Sidi Yahya came to Timbuktu. In 1441 the city-governor of Timbuktu appointed Sidi Yahya as first imam of the mosque and the madrassa. The complex became a great centre of learning for the region.

    The original shape of the mosque was altered in 1939 to reduce its appearance as a military fortress. The original minaret still exists. The doors of the mosque and madrassa are abundently ornated showing Moroccan influence.

    Sidi Yahya mosque Sidi Yahya mosque entrance of the madrassa ornated doors
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Sankoré mosque

    by sachara Updated Jan 30, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In the 16th century the Sankoré mosque and its surrouding buildings was one of the largest Islamic universities in the Islamic world. You can hardly imagine there were about 25.000 students in those times.

    Each year after the rainy season the mosques of Timbuktu have to be restored. The external walls are replastered with fresh mud. The wooden sticks are used as scaffolding to reach the upper parts of the mosque.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    Walk the city

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Timbuktu is flat and easy to walk. While it can get a bit hot in the dry season from 11 to 3:30pm, your feet are the best vehicle to discover this old city. You can easily see it in a day even after taking in the local museums etc.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    View of the city

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From the top of the market building you can get a snack/soda and a great (almost 360 degree) view of Timbuktu. While there is not that much to see it is still a great vantage point to get the lay of the land.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    The market

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Any time I visit a new place I have to visit the local market. The sights and smells of the place give you a good feel for the place. They have everything here from the usual outdoor meat market ( no etra charge for the flies) to local handicrafts and other stuff for the locals. There is even a small foundry.

    Spices anyone? The meat market Watermellon anyone
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    Tea with the Tauregs

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Tauregs are the local nomads here. They are the ones in the blue robes. You can either pay 20 euro give or take a few and ride out to their campment on a camel for the night or you can sit in town and have tea with them. They are freindly yet poor (like the rest of the locals) and will try and sell you things. "Give me yor best price".......Due to a hemorroid that flared up on me I decided to pass on the camel ride into the desert....Been there done that in Jordan...
    If you do decide to spend the night with them, keep in mind you will be more or less sleeping on the dirt and eating a "basic" meal of either noodles or rice an whatever meat they have at the time. You will be asked to supply the water for the trip. 3-4 1.5 liter bottles should work. The camel ride to the encampment lasts from 45 min to 2 hours each way. If you decide to fly back in the morning you can arrange a 4x4 to pick you up from the encampment or let the Taureg know so you can get an early start back in the morning.

    Making tea Cheers
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo

    The explorers houses

    by SirRichard Written Sep 29, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another attraction here are the "explorer's houses". These are the houses where the first european explorers that arrived here lived. Most of them entered Timbuktu disguised as muslims, as entrance was forbidden for "non-muslims". The first one, Alexander Gordon Laing, died on the way back to Europe, so all the honours went to the 2nd to reach, Rene Caillie (1827)... fame is unfair sometimes...
    At the time I visited, they were under restoration, but I think normally you can visit the houses (not much to see inside though)

    Caillie House Timbuktu Lang House Timbuktu
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo

    Camel rides

    by SirRichard Written Sep 29, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you don't want to sleep in the desert, there are also short 30-60 minutes camel ridings to the outskirts of Timbuktu. You just step on the camel, go for a little ride and come back to the town.
    Book at any "guide" in the streets or at any hotel.

    The camels in Timbuktu
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Backpacking
    • Horse Riding

    Was this review helpful?

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo

    Sleep with touaregs

    by SirRichard Written Sep 29, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the most popular activities from Timbuktu is to go on a 2 days tour and sleep in the desert with the touaregs. The whole thing is a little tourist trap, to be honest, but as the area is not so touristic overall, it is yet a charming experience.
    For about 20 euros you leave Timbuktu in the afternoon (about 15:00) riding a camel for 2 hours till you arrive in a touareg campement (just a tent and 2 camels around). There you have "welcome tea" and wait for dinner (lamb with rice). Then all the touaregs come and try to sell you jewelery and things under a lamp torch. This goes on for about 1 hour. Then you are left outside on a carpet and sleep there under the stars. The next morning you ride back the camel after a simple dates breakfast.

    The touareg campement
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo

    Manuscripts Libraries

    by SirRichard Written Sep 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Timbuktu is well known for having one of the biggest collection of arabic manuscripts. Most are private collections kept in libraries in private houses, but some are open to the public and can be visited.
    Most are religious, but there are many scientific and literary manuscripts as well. Some are being digitalized nowadays.
    They will all soon be gathered in a big Timbuktu Library to be built in Sankoré.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo

    Dyingerey Ber Mosque

    by SirRichard Written Sep 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is the main mosque here, not far from the Place de l'ndependence. When I visited, it was under restauration, but I think you can visit the inside usually. If you wanna get a good pic of it, climb to the roof of the Manuscripts Library in front.

    The mosque from the Library
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Alpha_Ghana's Profile Photo

    Stamp your passport

    by Alpha_Ghana Written Apr 17, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At your arrival by plane or by road, you must pay a tourist tax.
    Ask them to stamp your passport with the special "préfecture de Tombouctou" stamp.

    There is a bar in London where they only accept people who went to Timbuktu.

    (I know this bar exists but I don't have the address, I already have my stamp, just have to find the bar).

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    The Mosque

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is one main Mosque in Timbuktu and it is very much a community affair as every year the rains come and erode part of it away the local citizens get to work and rebuild it.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • flynboxes's Profile Photo

    Explorer houses

    by flynboxes Written Nov 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While not actually lived in...Timbuktu has been subject of many European explorers. While many never actually made it here they are remembered for their quests to find the City of Gold.

    Rene is one of the few that made it.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Timbuktu

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

31 travelers online now

Comments

Timbuktu Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Timbuktu things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Timbuktu sightseeing.

View all Timbuktu hotels