A mystical land of ancient empires and fabulous sandstone mosques, Mali is one of the largest and most sparsely populated countries in West Africa. It is the size of California and Texas combined, yet has a population of just 10.3 million. Landlocked and arid, its deserts dotted with the ruins of ancient cities, Mali is a difficult country to traverse, but the effort is well worth it. Mali is home to legendary Timbuktu, and the "Blue Men of the Desert" still drive their camel caravans to Taureg to fetch salt tablets for export across West Africa.
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