Donkey Caravan to Timbuktu

52 MINUTES • 1999 • 4:3



• Co-production with •
NDR (Germany)

• Also aired by •
WDR • BR • MDR Germany)
ARTE (France)
Voyage (Africa)
KTO TV (Europe)

• Shown at •
Festival Internacional de Cinema Ambiental Brasil

'It has been a tough trip, but we returned to Timbuktu with 39 donkeys', says Al Mouktar, chief of a Tuareg tribe near Timbuktu. Due to three droughts and the civil war this tribe lost all of their animals. A Tuareg tribe in Bouressa, 900 kilometers up north, heard of their problems and offered Al Mouktar its surplus of donkeys.

Before set off Al Mouktar, Al Joumarat, Al Kou and Achmed have to chase the donkeys. After three days they have caught 39 of them and set for Timbuktu. For 25 days they lead the herd across the never ending plains, through sandstorms, across sand dunes, along a track where they can find enough water.

The whole day they talk and make jokes.


The only things that silence them are eating and sleeping.

Al Joumarat is without doubt the most cheerful and hard working of the four. Achmed is a bit older. On the fourth day he falls from a donkey and is barely able to do any hard work. Al Kou has an inspiring laugh and smokes a pipe made out of a goat's bone. Al Mouktar keeps up the spirit. At night they sit endlessly around the fire making food, slaughtering a goat, helping each other shaving, getting a splinter out of each other's feet, or just talking.

Accompanying these Tuareg, their amusing camels and sweet-tempered donkeys, we see and feel how these people cope with life in a harsh, but beautiful environment.


Director & Producer
Mark Aardenburg
Production Mali Marius de Rijke
Camera Ulbo de Sitter
Editing Maurits Guιpin

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