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Getting there & away

Apart from international flights operated by Point Afrique, CAM (282 0960; Hôtel Atlantide) offers Gao’s only plane connection with the outside world, with one flight per week to Bamako (US$217) via Mopti (US$153) and Timbuktu (US$76).

Apart from the Comanav ferry (282 0466), there’s no regular transport upstream to Timbuktu; chartering your own private pinasse is possible, but expensive (from US$540).

Binke (282 0558) and Bani (282 0424) buses leave for Bamako (US$29, 16 to 20 hours), via Sévaré (US$13, eight hours) and Ségou (US$26, 12 hours), leave early in the morning (usually 5am) and mid-afternoon. There’s also an occasional truck/4WD to Timbuktu (up to US$27, 12 hours) from the gare routière.