Like most American children, I grew up hearing the word “Timbuktu” used as shorthand to describe somewhere very exotic and very far away. I had no idea it was a real place until I got older and started studying geography-it might as well have been located in Never-Never Land. Timbuktu is real, and it’s actually located in Africa, in the country of Mali. This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, Timbuktu was once one of Africa’s most important centers of trade and learning.
Founded by a group of nomads sometime in the 10th century, Timbuktu was originally a place for them to camp with their cattle during the dry season. Over the centuries, it grew, and since it was located near the Niger River and the crossroads of trans-Saharan trade routes for gold, ivory, salt and slaves, it eventually became a rich and influential city.
The city of Timbuktu was at its peak during the 15th and 16th centuries, when it became a gathering place for Islamic scholars from all around the continent. However, in 1591 Morocco invaded and exiled or killed most of the scholars. Timbuktu never regained its place in the Islamic world, but many of its manuscripts were preserved along with three gorgeous mosques made from hardened mud which later inspired the style of Art Nouveau architect Antonio Gaudi.
To visit Timbuktu, you need a Mali visa. The following documents are required in order to apply for a Mali tourist visa:
- 2 completed Mali visa application forms
- 2 passport-sized photos of yourself
- If you are staying in a hotel, a hotel confirmation is required.
- If you are entering on a tourist visa but staying with friends or family in Mali, you need an invitation letter from your hosts.
- A copy of your International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever.
- A copy of your round-trip itinerary
- Your US passport
One word of caution: The US Department of State currently has Mali under a travel warning due to the risk of kidnapping. There is a local branch of al-Qaeda that is active is especially in the northern regions of the country, so make sure to take proper precautions if you decide to go.
RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for a Mali visa, as well as any other visas you might need for your trip. We’ll review your itinerary to ensure that you know exactly which documents are required; then, we can help you apply. We walk you through the application process step-by-step, and expedite your visa application at the appropriate embassy or consulate.
Apply for your Mali visa today!