Though poor and underdeveloped, this West African country offers the adventurous some extraordinary off-the-beaten-track experiences -- cultural, eco, and of course the haunting, legendary city of Timbuktu.
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  • What a horrific shame to see what Mali and its historic/cultural treasures of Tibuktu and elsewhere are being forced to endure as a result of religious fanaticism. It's like Bamiyan and the Taliban all over again.

  • We have just received our copy of the Rough Guides First-Time Africa in which we are listed on page 405, under the 'Africa Specialist Operators' category. The entry states: "West Africa Discovery: One of the few companies specializing in West Africa , with unusual tours and a strong responsible travel ethos".




    We have a selection of sustainably managed responsible tourism projects just for you to discover. Work with us to create better places to visit and better places to live in, in West Africa.


    You can also join a community dedicated to travel in West Africa which explores the rich local heritage in a sustainable and responsible way. 

  • The June Edition of The Talking Drum, our monthly newsletter, is nearly ready for sending and we invite you to join us by subscribing to our mail list.

    By receiving it, you will discover our newly listed responsible tourism ideas based in West Africa, learn about current news, discussions and debates, and of course will support the development of responsible and sustainable tourism in the beautiful region of the world which is West Africa.

    By clicking here, you can register. We look forward to telling you about what is going on in West Africa!

  • We are over the moon to announce that we have now listed 4 new awe-inspiring and exciting sustainable tourism holidays based in Mali. From music and cultural festivals to camel rides and pinasse (local boat) cruises along the Niger river, and the discovery of some of the most interesting architecture in West Africa, these trips truely make a difference, not only for the tourist, but also for the local communities in destinations. Have a browse by click here.
  • We are currently looking for Responsible/Sustainable tourism (http://http// ventures to list them on West Africa Discovery, a portal dedicated to raising awareness towards the west African region, and to create a database of tours, accommodations and volunteer projects which benefit the local communities whilst respecting the Historical, Cultural, Natural and Social heritages of the destination. If you have any information which may help us in going forward in our mission, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
  • West Africa Discovery ( , a web portal aiming to raise awareness towards West Africa and to promote sustainable/responsible tourism development through the listing of tours, accommodations and volunteer projects that strive towards the fulfilment of criteria outlined in the Cape Town, Kerala and Belize declarations on responsible tourism practices in destinations ( We also aim to make West Africa Discovery the first port of call in the UK for referring tourists to Western African based Responsible Tourism projects.

    As a company we aim to help in the development of Responsible/Sustainable development in all West African countries by linking like minded people together to facilitate the sharing of ideas, educating by distributing Responsible Tourism related material to Tourism organisations and helping locally based individuals to develop ideas which will help to develop the concept in their country.

    We are committed to putting West Africa on the map as a destination that tourists would like to visit, and our vision is that through the West Africa Discovery project the listed accommodations and tours will provide benefits for local communities whilst respecting the natural, cultural, social and historical heritages in the destination.

    If any of you know of tour operators or accommodations based in Mali who would be a candidate to be listed on West Africa Discovery, don't hesitate to get in touch.
  • Kathy, thanks so much for your observations! I see parallels with other countries/experiences I've had.

    Anyway, where were you exactly? What was your impression of Timbuktu in particular?
  • I spent 3 weeks in Mali and Burkina Faso in October/November. At the time there was a U.S. travel warning. The travel warning has gotten stronger with the November 19 release. But when I was there I didn't see/feel anything that gave me pause. Americans were welcomed. People didn't look like they had too little food and thus were rebellious or susceptible to radical persuasions. The general society is extremely tolerant of religious differences. Neither Christianity nor Muslim beliefs divide society. Problems in the north of the country were explained as attempts by outsiders to establish drug routes through the country, which were being fought by Mali-- and the drug traders were fighting back. People were totally mystified as to why there was any sort of a U.S. travel warning.

    What are other peoples' experiences?
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