Sadly, the British Foreign Office is currently warning against any non-essential travel to any part of Mali and it appears that the amazing shrines of the Muhave and Timbuktu have been destroyed by a radical Islamist group, as well as the Tomb of Askia in Gao. While, for now, it’s a case of look but don’t touch for Mali, get this country on your ‘to do’ list and hope for better times. When you do get there, you’ll want to see The Great Mosque, which is made out of nothing but mud and still manages to have three towers and five stories. There is also hope that Timbuktu, Muhave and Askia can be rebuilt in time. Try omelette sandwiches for breakfast, a variety of rice and sauce dishes, and satisfy your sweet tooth with small cakes and fried doughs. One day, perhaps, you’ll also get to explore the full-on local experience that is the Grande Marche, with thousands of traders and an incredible atmosphere.