Timbuktu, western Africa

The country of Mali, where Timbuktu is located, gained independence and became the Republic of Mali in 1960. Timbuktu has changed quite a bit through the years since Halliburton’s visit. While storks can still be found and seen in Timbuktu, today the sight is not as extreme as Halliburton experienced. Many visitors to the area see no storks at all while they are there. The story of Halliburton “buying” slaves is probably not true. However, slavery was still practiced in parts of Mali into the 21st century.

Watch a 2:57 minute UNESCSO video of Timbuktu


Timbuktu donkeys.
Timbuktu donkeys. This is in front of the Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu. (CC BY 2.0 ©2007 Emilio Labrador)
Here is a modern day cloth seller.
As drab as the city is, with its sandy streets and mud buildings, the people wear such brightly colored clothes. Here is a modern day cloth seller. (CC BY 2.0 ©2001 Jeremy E. Meyer)


The desert city of Timbuktu
The desert city of Timbuktu was once—before the end of slavery in America—a great slave-trading center, with a population of 100,000. Now it’s a crumbling town of only 10,000 people. There is no sound of traffic in Timbuktu, as the streets are all covered with deep sand. The buildings and houses in Timbuktu are made with mud walls and flat roofs. It almost never rains in this desert city, so the houses stand for many years. But one good rain would wash them away. (CC BY 2.0 ©2001 Jeremy E. Meyer)