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Security Situation in North/East Mali for women? (Bamako)

Hi folks,

My sister will be traveling in Northern Mali by herself in September/October of this year.

She was hoping to go visit Timbuktu and stay for a few nights in the cliff side caves with the Dogon people.

She was also thinking of entering Mali from Burkina Faso near the Goa entrance.

My quick questions are:
(1) what is the safety situation around Goa, Timbuktu, and the Bandiagara area? Do I need to accompany her?
(2) she is traveling on very limited budget. Does anyone know of any cheap and reliable guides in the area of Bandiagara or Timbuktu?

Cheers,
David -

Bamako Forum