2017-10-06 / Travel

Timbuktou, a trip into history

Part 2: The Boat
By Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D. WarnerM@TheColumbiaStar.com


Our next meal was pulled up the gangplank. Our next meal was pulled up the gangplank. I woke up early, went to the dock on the Niger River, and waited for the boat to Timbouctou. The first boat, the weather- beaten General A- Soumare, loaded with people shouting and waving, sailed on by.

An hour later, a brand-new, passenger boat docked and blew its horn and the gangplank lowered. Six well-dressed officials exited an officially-labelled Mercedes limo and paraded up the gangplank followed by two boys pulling a reluctant goat up the gangplank (probably our next meal).

I followed several other white passengers into the boat and was ushered to a room with a sink and two double-decked beds. I hid my backpack under the beds, locked the door, and watched us pull away from the dock into the flow of the mighty Niger.

Note: The 2,600 mile-long Niger River runs through the nations of Mali, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria into the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, behind the Nile and the Congo. The Scottish explorer Mungo Park was the first westerner to have travelled to the Niger River (but that’s another story).


A brand-new passenger boat docked and blew its horn. A brand-new passenger boat docked and blew its horn. Continued Next Week



Well-dressed officials paraded up the gangplank. Well-dressed officials paraded up the gangplank.

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