Timbuktu: Best Things to Do

Flickr - Image by Gina Gleeson from Flickr

Timbuktu is a city in Mali, located in the western Africa

This city used to be the intellectual and spiritual capital of Islam in the 15th and 16th centuries

Timbuktu is famous for its three great mosques namely Djinguereber, Sankoré, and Sidi Yahiya Mosque

Visit other tourist attractions such as Centre De Récherches Historiques Ahmad Baba and Heinrich Barth's House in the downtown

Grande Marche and Arawane Couture are for shopping souvenirs or local products

For culinary tour, try its authentic Alabadjia



For sightseeing, visit Djinguereber Mosque, a city landmark built in the 13th century. There is a forest of 100 sturdy pillars and rooms with holes in the wall at ground level. Also, visit the Sankoré Mosque, one of the ancient learning centers in Timbuktu built in the 16th century. Here, tourists can learn about the history of the mosque.

Djinguereber Mosque

A great landmark from the 13th century

There's a forest of 100 sturdy pillars, rooms with holes in the wall at ground level

Offering a stunning view to see

Address : Askia Mohamed Bvd, Timbuktu, Mali


One of three ancient centers of learning

Address : Timbuktu, Mali


Centre De Récherches Historiques Ahmad Baba is a historical place where you can see about 23.000 Islamic texts from all over the world. Its oldest manuscript is from the 12th century. In downtown Timbuktu, there is Heinrich Barth's House. It's where Heinrich Barth stayed before returning to Europe. This tiny museum is located at the East of Sidi Yahiya Mosque. Here, tourists can see Barth's drawings and writings.

Centre De Récherches Historiques Ahmad Baba

An amazing collection of ancient manuscripts and books

Address : Timbuktu, Mali

Heinrich Barth House

German geographer and one of the great explorers of Africa

Address : Timbuktu, Mali


Grande Marche is Timbuktu's local market located in the downtown. It's the place where locals trade goods. Tourists can also find souvenirs like leather goods. For a better shopping experience, it's recommended to visit Arawane Couture. It's a shop that sells local clothing brands for souvenirs.

Grande Marche

One of the best places to observe economic activities

Address : Unnamed Road, Tombouctou, Mali

Arawane Couture

A place to buy local cloths

Address : Timbuktu, Mali


The authentic cuisine in Timbuktu is Alabadjia. It's a traditional Nomad meaty food seasoned with Ghee, a traditional butter and mixed with pre-cooked rice. Al Kefta or meatballs in sauce is another authentic Timbuktu cuisine. For the drink, Timbuktu has Ataye (green tea) to offer.


French is the official language in Mali. But, Timbuktu people also speak Koyra Chiini, a Songhay language. Most Timbuktu people are Muslim. For the culture, this city has many historical Islamic sites. Timbuktu also has a cultural event like the Festival au Désert, a celebration of peace treaty held in January.


The best time to visit Timbuktu is between November and January.


Hotel du desert is accessible because it's located in the downtown. This hotel is also near Djinguereber Mosque and Sidi Yahiya Mosque. You can also book a room at Hendrina Khan. This hotel is only 12 to 20 minutes from the city center. What is more interesting, this hotel provides local souvenirs for tourists to buy.

Hotel du desert

Comfortable, friendly and safe hotel

Address : Timbuktu, Mali

Hendrina Khan

An authentic and peaceful hotel to stay

12-20 minutes from town

They also provide local souvenirs to buy

Address : Tombouctou, Mali


Amanar Restaurant is the most popular restaurant in Timbuktu. This restaurant serves delicious soups, comfortable vibe with Malian blues music. You can see the Flamme de la Paix monument and the Sahara desert from this restaurant. If you're a fish lover, come to L'Auberge du Désert. This restaurant serves delicious foods, especially its grilled fish.

Amanar Restaurant

Mellow atmosphere with a soundtrack of Blues,chiiled,and friendly waiters

Address : Timbuktu, Mali

L'Auberge du Désert

a recomended place enjoying moment

Address : Timbuktu, Mali


Unfortunately, cafes are not available in the city yet.


If you look for places to spend the night, Timbuktu still has no recommendations.


Ethnological Museum is an important landmark in the city. Here, it's a must to visit the well of Bouctou. It's the place where Timbuktu was found. This museum is the home for cultural clothing, musical instruments, jewelry, and ancient rock carvings at Tin-Techoun pictures. Also, visit Sidi Yahiya Mosque. It's an ancient mosque built in the 15th century and one of UNESCO Heritage Sites.

Sidi Yahiya Mosque

One of the most famous mosques in the historic city of Timbuktu

Address : Timbuktu, Mali

Ethnological Museum

an archaeological and anthropological museum and it has an interesting mix of artifacts and contemporary folk art

Address : Timbuktu, Mali


Flamme de la Paix can be a nice picture background for your Instagram feed. It's a Mail Peace monument located at the edge of the Sahara Desert. You can also rent a camel at Camel Market nearby for exploring the Sahara desert.

Flamme de la Paix

The most spectacular monument in Timbuktu

It was official on March 27, 1996

A great monument in the middle of the Sahara can be a nice background to take pictures

You can also rent a camel at Camel Market nearby for exploring and photographing

Address : Flamme de la Paix, Tombouctou, Mali