on August 9, 2001
Gao is a small city (57.000 people), 425 kilometers east of Tombouctou. By car it will take you two days to get there from Tombouctou. After days of sand and dust, arriving in Gao is very special. Suddenly you are in a real city again with a lot of people and even fresh food. From Gao to the south the land is turning more green again.
Besides a market and a busy harbour there is little to see and do in Gao. But there is a large sanddune north of the city that is worth a visit. The huge red dune is on the banks of the river Niger. The view from the top of the dune is magnificent and the boattrip to get there is very nice. On your way there you can see the local bathing and washing in the river and see the little sailing ships come by.
From Gao it is possible to rent a pinasse to bring you to the dune. Just ask around in the harbour. It takes about 1 hour to get there.
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