Rabat - BBC Two will air on May 18 the second part of “Morocco to Timbuktu – An Arabian Adventure," a travelogue of North and West Africa presented by writer and Marrakech resident Alice Morrison.
Rabat – BBC Two will air on May 18 the second part of “Morocco to Timbuktu – An Arabian Adventure,” a travelogue of North and West Africa presented by writer and Marrakech resident Alice Morrison.
Episode one saw Morrison following the Salt Roads, once one of the world’s largest trading networks. Setting off from Tangier, the Gateway to Europe, the explorer traversed trading routes opened centuries ago into sub-Saharan Africa to feed Europe’s appetite for gold via North Africa.
Passing through the ancient city of knowledge, Fes, Morrison visited the world’s oldest university before boarding the famed Marrakech Express to her hometown of Marrakech. There she toured a tannery and listened to ancient trading stories in the grand square of Djimaa El Fnaa.
Morrison then crossed the Atlas Mountains on foot, visiting Berber villages, home of Morocco’s indigenous Amazigh people. On the far side of the mountain range, our explorer toured salt caves and a casbah-lined valley where traders of old found safe shelter with their valuable cargo.
Episode one’s final stop brought Morrison to the lost city of Sijilmasa, a ruin on the edge of the Sahara. Once it was a sanctuary for merchants arriving after their arduous journey from Timbuktu.
On May 18th, episode two of the series has Morrison heading west to Tamagroute and Guelmin, once the camel capital of the trading world. Now only a few remain and are sold primarily as a food source.
For the final leg of her journey, Morrison is obligated to circumvent border restrictions by hopping a UN flight to Timbuktu. There she finds a UN contingent keeping an uneasy peace since ridding the city of unwelcome Islamists who took over the city in 2012. Even now the insurgents maintain an unwelcome presence only a few miles from the city.
Morrison visits the Djinguereber mosque and learns the tale of Mansa Musa, once the richest man in human history. Our host, however, finds the wealth of Timbuktu long gone and the city even too dangerous for the Sahara’s historic nomads, the Tuaregs. That, however, doesn’t stop Morrison from making some new Tuareg friends and throwing a party to honour the city’s indomitable desert spirit. Forbidden under Islamist rule, music now flows freely in Timbuktu.