WHERE TO STAY
One of the first things you will want to decide upon arrival is where to stay, where can you leave your stuff while wandering the town or riding camels in the desert. There are several hotel options. Which you chose depends on how much comfort you want and how much you are willing to pay. The following is a list in Alphabetical order
Please note this page is a work in progress. Not all the information is yet avalible for every option. If you feel information is incorrect or wish to share your experience, good or bad, at one of these locations, feel free to contact me or visit the blog and post your comments.
All of the hotels listed below exist and are operating. None have changed names or closed, with the exception of the Azalai which is closed for renovations or other notes made on this page in red. If anyone tries to tell you different he is lying!
Auberge Atri Itoudoun (78 46 40 14 firstname.lastname@example.org) A small place with a couple rooms, dormitory, and camping options in the north west section of town. It is run by a French man Marc.
Auberge du Desert New Hotel on the Route de Kabara
Campement touristique du Mora (21 92 13 55, email@example.com) 5km west of Timbuktu on the road to Goundam. It is located with in a sedentarized tamacheq tuareg camp that was established during the rebuilding after the rebellion of the 90s. 5000/ night in the tents. Camel treks, Traditional music and dancing and Michoui (whole roast sheep) can be arranged.
Camping Bouctou Located south of town a I have never actually visited the interior so I do not know much about it. Older guide books give it a less than sterling review however when I passed by the exterior in 2011 it looked like it may have been renovated.
Caravanserai New construction behind Energie du Mali, It is owned and run by retired French couple. Fairly nice set-up with a foot-bathing pool in the public area. They have a bar and live music some nights but some guests complain of noise and drunkeness untill very late. Currently the hotel is closed. The owner has left the region at the recommendation of the French govt. and not yet returned, though still taking reservation from Bamako and rooms are apparently available, the electricity is out and it is a bit of a ghost hotel.
Colombe The original Colombe hotel on the east side of the paved road facing the Lycee has been sold and is now home to commercial enterprises. It’s smaller annex right next to the lycee which may still appear in the older guide books as it once had a cybercafe is also no longer operational. The big annex on the west side of the paved road just north of the tourist office is open for business. The rooms have more western comfort (but less local ambiance) with private bathrooms, A/C and TV. Restaurant/Bar on the terrace is a pleasant place to relax. On the downside the TV only has ORTM, the Mali station, and the entryways are often blocked by a gamut of guides, artisans and hustlers who tend to be unpleasantly aggressive and obnoxious. On the plus side it has a pool open to guests and non-guests may use it for a fee.
Hendrina Khan (2192-1681, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tomboctou.com) is considered the luxury hotel. It has a generator to keep you in air-conditioned comfort even when there is a general outage in town. Its situation at the south of town makes it inconvenient if you don’t have a car, but they do have a shuttle to the airport. Suites are 60,000, doubles 30,000 and singles 20,000. They serve meals in the dining room or in the spacious garden. Breakfast is 2500, dinner 5000.
Hotel Alafia Located in the building where Sahara Passion was initially situated, upon their removal in 2006 the guardian imediately put up a sign Camping La Paix and began taking clients claiming it was still Sahara Passion it had just changed the name. The absentee landlord sold the building and the new owners maintained the “camping la paix” hotel with the same underhanded tactics. In the end of 2010 it was sold again to an English couple who have changed the name to Hotel Lafia which means Peace, la paix. They have spruced it up a bit adding transitional wooden window grates and such and offer restaurant service and cold beverages however they have maintained the same bunch of employees whose unreliable behaviour was the reason Sahara Passion quite the location. While the owners themselves do not perpetuation the falsehood that it is really Sahara Passion and other lies intended to acquire clients by trickery, their guardian and others locals who frequent it do. It is located one block east of the Flamme de la Paix monument on the paved road, where google maps falsely indicates Sahara Passion’s location.
Hotel Azalai was really something 26 years ago when it was first built as part of the Sofitel chain, but has deteriorated somewhat with the passage of time. It has been purchased by Libyans who plan to spend a million USD to renovate and add 40 more rooms and a swimming pool. The canal that used to run from the port to Timbuktu has been re-dug and terminates behind this hotel. Currently the hotel is closed, undergoing massive consturtion. They have changed the name to Lybia Hotels.
Hotel Bouctou has long since lost its shine. Once a nice hotel, the first to be built in Timbuktu, maintenance has been neglected. There are some A/C rooms and private baths, but the general feeling is one of dis-repair and the public/shared toilets are deplorable. Crowds of guides, artisans and hustlers, hang around waiting to pounce on anyone with white skin and may even come knock on your door. On a positive note the white sandy area behind this hotel which had been used as a dumping site for the town's garbage has been cleaned up, considerably improving the view.
Hotel du Desert Also newly constructed one block north of Caravanserai
La Maison (2192-2179, www.lesmaisonsdumali.com) is a hotel made from a renovated traditional home. The owner is a Bambara-French woman who has lived extensively in France. The style is a mix of the traditional and the modern, which should be appealing to those wanting to experience Timbuktu without forsaking all the comforts of of the west. It is, in fact, luxurious by local standards. They have 9 rooms; doubles are 35,000 and singles 30,000. Breakfast is 2500. Dinner 7,500 is served on the terrace, it consists of entrée, main course and desert, and is only menu du jour. Lunch is 6000, but available only on request.
Maison d’Hote des Orphelins A new establishment at the far south of town. North of the Airport but before even the first fuel station you will see a track to the west with a sign signalling it. Follow the track for perhaps a kilometre and follow the second sign to the right a few hundred meters. Built in traditional style with the limestone facing there is a large yard with vegetation started and a covered veranda area for dinning. The rooms are spacious and include ensuite washrooms and air conditioning. 25,000 f cfa. Possibility to sleep on the roof top. Meals on request. It is a bit distant from downtown if you have to walk but for those who have their own vehicle it is in a peaceful location.
La Palmerie (21 98 01 75, 76 40 00 00 email@example.com) New Hotel contructed at the south end of town, just to the north of the Sonayat gas station. Run by a retired French man, it has about 18 rooms and a suite. It has an outdoor pool that adds to the ambiance but probably not desirable to swim in right after a dust storm. Singles 32,000, doubles 38,000 suite 90,000. Restaurant with a wide range of dishes the menu ranges from 3000 - 9000 f cfa.
Refuge de Sahara () is also a converted home, but less polished than La Maison. It has rooms with A/C. It is located three blocks south and a couple blocks west of the flamme de la paix monument. A second Refuge de Sahara that looks like it is a true hotel has recently been built south of town on the pavement north or the LybiaGas station.
Sahara Passion (7942-6947, 7631-9145 www.hotelsaharapassion.com) Sahara Passion is recommended in most of the guide books as the best budget option for your money. Two hundred meters north of the Flamme de la Paix monument, it is conveniently located. A short walk to the north for the most beautiful dunes around Timbuktu; it is also a short walk to town for the historic sights, but away from noise and bustle. The rooms are simple but clean (7,500-12,500). The staff is friendly and the proceeds go to help the nomad people. Dormitory, camping and parking options are available (2500-5000). It is also a haven for those wishing a reprieve from all the guides, artisans and hustlers that cluster around the other hotels. They are not permitted to come in and harass the clients. It is now managed by a Canadian woman who is open and informative, her husband is a Berabish Tuareg and arranges trips, tours etc. See the section on guides.