Disclaimer: Mali like the rest of the Islamic world has now become a dangerous place to visit so the following information in this blog about the Festival is now outdated. I am leaving it posted on the net to show how it was once a safe place to visit.
Well in 2007 we decided to go to Mali and make it to the Festival au Desert 2007 in Essakane just outside of Timbuktu.
It would have to be one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences that we have ever had, and if you have seen this website, then you know that we have certainly had some amazing experiences to compare it to.
However, it was definitely one of the harder countries that we had to research and getting information on doing it ourselves without using a tour group was REALLY hard, so we made sure we took plenty of notes to write up these following tips to help anyone else who wanted to do it independently.
These tips are mainly things that you may not find written about in a guide book, so you still need to go through the book to get a feel for Mali in general.
Information was very difficult to come by, and typical of African bureaucracy, a lot of information wasn’t available because things were left to last minute to make public.
We ended up traveling through Mali independently, but we didn’t do the festival part by ourselves. However, if we ever went back, we would have no problems doing it independently, so we hope these tips might help you guys who want to do the same.
Being intrepid adventurers who normally hate tour groups, we started out trying to do most of it ourselves, and initially we did most of our research on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forums.
Fortunately, we met a bunch of amazing people and found that a UK girl Kirsten Brand had started a yahoo group where other like minded people could get together and make arrangements for the festival.
This was invaluable to have made email contact with other travelers, so I would recommend networking before you get there as it will help starting a group for transport.
WHO ARE WE
Just so you know about us and our level of experience… we are 2 Aussies aged 35 who were living in Ireland at the time. We are widely traveled especially in South America, but had never been to sub-Saharan Africa before. We didn’t speak French but got some Michael Thomas CDs before we left which were handy and which we would recommend.
We were in Ireland at the time and found that the Malian consulates in Belgium and Paris were less than helpful, didn’t answer the phone or emails, and couldn’t speak English. Or they were really hard to find enough info about opening times to warrant a budget flight over there.
But we tracked down a lady in the Mali consulate in Geneva and she spoke OK English which was enough to organize the whole thing on the phone. We had to buy swiss francs and had to put these into the envelope along with some money for the return post which was a bit unnerving, but our visas were returned within the week to Ireland which was great!
HOW WE GOT THERE
We flew with Royal Air Maroc organized completely on line from their website which flew from Paris to Casablanca to Bamako arriving 2.35am. Cost 391 euros per person. Arriving at 2.35am was not a problem as we arranged to be picked up at the airport by our hotel, which is recommended as there are heaps of touts even at that early hour.
Royal Air Maroc was the cheapest of all flights from Europe except for Air Afrique which had a hard to use French website and also stories of losing luggage where posted on the thorntree, so that put us off.
We spent 18 days in Mali all up which was perfect as we didn’t take the pinasse. We felt that we had time to do everything that we wanted to do in this time and even had some buffer days to sort things out. It also worked out perfectly for the Djenne markets on Mondays. Our itinerary is as follows which gives you an idea of time.
4/1/07 Thurs-Arrived Bamako and explored on foot
5/1/07 Fri- Taxi to Point G lookout and walked down to the Museum and explored markets
6/1/07 Sat- Bus to Segou 3.5hrs (3000CFA) and explored
7/1/07 Sun- Bus to Djenne carrafour (crossroad) & got there at 11pm after a 5 hr breakdown. Easily got a ride into Djenne by a private vehicle even at 11pm at night! 5000CFA each for 4 people.
8/1/07 Mon- Djenne markets which were amazing. Then organized a private vehicle to Sevare 2500CFA.
9/1/07 Tues- Picked up by Balanzan tours and drove to Timbuktu
10/1/07 Wed- Day exploring Timbuktu
11/1/07 Thurs- Drove to Essakane and set up camp Festival Day 1
12/1/07 Fri- Festival Day 2
13/1/07 Sat- Festival Day 3
14/1/07 Sun- Up at 4.30am to head back to Sevare and got in at 2.30am the next day!!! Mainly due to breakdowns.
15/1/07 Mon- Explored Sevare
16/1/07 Tues- Organised trip to Dogon, drove to Sangay and started northern Dogon walk
17/1/07 Wed- Walked to Youga Nah and vehicle back to Sangay
18/1/07 Thurs- Stayed in Bandiagara to organize the Southern Dogon trip
19/1/07 Fri- Day 1 Southern Dogon walk
20/1/07 Sat- Day 2 Southern Dogon walk
21/1/07 Sun- Day 3 Trip to Koro to catch the bus to Ouagadougou
HOW WE ORGANISED IT
OK, first up, I guess we cheated a bit as we went with Balanzan Tours. I was quite happy with them as by African standards they were quite good. Transport from Mopti to Timbuktu was in a big off road truck like an overlander which was roomier but a bit slower than a 4×4. They provided tents if needed but they were a bit old. All meals were prepared in a central eating tent.
Their price was EUR 385 per person and the period was from January 8 to January 15 = 8 days from Mopti to Timbuktu to Essakane and back to Mopti.
What we got was
Ferry fees for the Niger river,
The Gas for the vehicles
The food prepared on the festival site 3 meals a day during the festival
The festival entry pass is 149 per person which was extra.
I’d be happy to recommend them as we had a good time, but there were some minor hassles with punctuality which are probably more of an African problem than just with the company.
They also had a price for a flight from Bamako to Timbuktu as well which was well under the official asking price on the official website.
WOULD I GO WITH THE OFFICIAL PACKAGES
Basically NO, the official website for the Festival sent us to other tour companies and their prices were a lot higher than Balanzan so I would not recommend going through the tour companies from the official website from price alone. Speaking to people who did, the tenting accom was in Tuareg tents which were often crowded with no security for your belongings and also prone to exposure in sandstorms.
Other companies include Saga tours which we heard used the Tuareg tents as well and we had heard mixed reports from them but they were one of the most expensive.
DOING IT BY YOURSELF
Although we didn’t do it by ourselves, we hung around with people who did and it was not that hard and I would consider doing it ourselves if we had our time again.
Before we left, our main concerns were transport availability and food and lodging at the festival. We were worried that all the local vehicles would be booked and that all the facilities would be poor, and that the language would be a problem.
Basically, we had no reason to worry. There were heaps of vehicle owners who had touts running around offering and bargaining transport from Djenne to Mopti, and Timbuktu to Essakane. There was also heaps of Pinasse touts in Djenne and Mopti offering the trip to Timbuktu also.
You can buy food at the festival but it is very basic Malian food. No snack foods that we could see, but you can buy biscuits etc in Timbuktu. Beer and water seemed to be available. Definitely bring muesli bars etc from home as the choice is limited for snacks.
The festival is spread out over a large area. The central stage is set into a depression in the sand dunes and a sand dune in front of the stage serves as a natural stadium. There is an area for markets and fantastic silver work jewelry and beads are sold here.
There are some truly disgusting toilets that you would never want to use. There is no running water so all water is brought in by bottles.
There was a single eating building serving basic Malian food. Everything has sand in it so get use to eating gritty food. Dried fish and tough chicken and muttony goats are staple diet with rice or potatoes in a tomato and onion type sauce. There were also a couple of bars set up selling beers.
Most of the tents were set up around the central stage and most groups seemed to have an area that they use. For example our company used an area on the out skirts and it would take about 6-7 minutes walking to get to the stage.
On the outskirts the ground is harder dirt as opposed to the stage area which is mainly sandy.
Toileting mainly consisted of taking a long walk into the surrounding dunes or dirt at night and digging a small hole. There weren’t any smelly areas so I assume that everyone walked far enough away to do their business.
Security was in good supply with plenty of military personnel. Before we left there was talk of terrorist attacks from Al Queada linked rebels and many foreign advisories like the US and Australia had travel warnings. The British one was more balanced. We even heard that Peace Corp volunteers were banned from going due to the security risk. You can read here about how freaked out we were.
However, we felt safe and felt the military presence was appropriate and the area was so big and people so spread out that it would be unlikely that any sort of attack or bomb would be damaging or worth it.
The Tuareg men disappointed us a little as they use hard sell tactics to sell their jewelry and also camel rides. And a few hassled people for money for taking photos which was a bit sad. Hence be a bit discrete when doing this and please don’t give money out blindly as it encourages this aggressive activity.
Entrance to the festival was via wearing an armband which is purchased at the time. There were officers patrolling looking for people without the arm bands and they seemed to be pretty efficient, so it isn’t worth scamming your way in.
There were heaps of beggar kids at the festival and looking after your belongings is a real concern. One of the benefits of being with a group meant that we could lock our tent and the guides watched our stuff.
In the Tuareg tents, things are a bit more exposed so you may need a good padlock and also may want to leave gear you don’t need in Timbuktu.
One of our big fears of doing the festival by ourselves was the fear that all the transport would be booked out by tour groups and locals and that we would get stranded.
Well, we can safely say that there was no shortage of transport offers, and you needn’t be worried about this. There are heaps of touts putting together vehicle groups and getting back seemed to be no problem either.
I can’t remember the actual prices that some people negotiated but I will say that you pay for what you get. There was everything from 4x4s to trucks to open tray trucks. There were people offering transport from Djenne, Mopti and Timbuktu. I think I remember a price being 15000CFA from Timbuktu to Essakane.
We used buses to get to Djenne and then 4x4s after that. And yes the bus broke down for 6 hours before Djenne.
OK this is important. Just before Timbuktu, there is a ferry to cross the Niger River which takes about 1 hour as it also goes down stream a bit. The ferry stops dead at 7pm and there were actually fights to get onto the last ferry. A LOT of vehicles got stranded on the wrong side of the river until dawn.
The moral of the story is that you should prepare for a night on the river bank just in case your vehicle is late, so don’t get separated from your warm clothes and don’t pre pay for accom in Timbuktu in case you don’t make it. Oh and make sure you are carrying food and water just in case.
We didn’t take the Pinasse but lots of people liked it as just having downtime for a couple of days. It seemed easy to organize as there were lots of touts around. Sorry we didn’t do it so we don’t remember the costs, but I seem to remember someone got it for 16000CFA, but don’t quote me on that. I heard the price was from 20000 to 40000CFA.
THE MUSIC PROGRAMME
The program wasn’t available until the day that we arrived in Timbuktu. Even then there was a lot of spontaneous swapping of bands so we missed some bands as they came on earlier than we expected. Also meal time clashed with some of the better bands which sucked. Mainly the program ran 1-3 hours late so that the last act was normally on at 1-2am which also sucked since it was really cold then. There were big gaps between the bands for set ups, so it was all very unorganized.
The production of the sound was excellent though.
We used the Bradt guide which was the first time we had used anything other than the Lonely Planet. It was excellent and I shall use these for Africa from now one.
Firstly, there is a shit load of sand from the Harmattan winds so everything gets covered in fine dust. It is seriously really sandy and there were a good few dust storms and one day we woke up covered in sand in our tent. Check our pics if you don’t believe it.
Take zip lock plastic bags for anything that you don’t want dusty like your camera and electronics. We took plastic bags for our SLR camera and even then it had to be cleaned when we got home.
If you easily get sinus or asthma problems make sure you bring the right drugs and some antibiotics for respiratory infections as a lot of people got sick from the dust.
We took our own tent and would advise it as the Tuareg tents are just a tarpoline hung over a depression in a sand dune and they don’t have any sides so you definitely cop the sand storms. This is where you will be sleeping with a lot of the official tour companies or if you do it alone.
Also in Djenne, the hotel rooms were festered with mosquitoes and really hot, but with a tent we could pitch a tent on the roof.
Also some of the supplied tents with our company Balanzan had dodgy zippers which jammed with the dust.
Do NOT underestimate Crum Crums. Crum Crums are the sharp thistles that get into your shoes and clothes and are very painful and very sharp. I would almost recommend having enclosed shoes as they even get under feet when wearing sandals.
If you are using a blow up sleep mat make sure that you carry a repair kit and detergent to find the leak as it is almost inevitable that you will get a leak from crum crums.
Also make sure that you bring cold weather gear as nights were really cold and the wind is also really cold, so wind proof clothing is good.
It is worth getting a scarf of some sort to work as a mask for the dust. There are Tuareg ones for sale in Timbuktu.
The sand is really cold at night so if you plan to stay up and watch music on the dunes, then bring something to sit on as the sand can really sap your body heat.
OK we didn’t speak French and got along just fine. In fact this is probably the best time to go as there are so many musicians, and journalists from the UK, France and Canada so bumming of other travelers who speak French was easy. Also there were a surprising amount of younger kids who could speak in English in Timbuktu and Djenne and also at Essakane.
The most important thing to remember is to take heaps of money. Everyone we met underestimated how much money to take and getting money from Western Union and the banks can take several hours.
We took heaps of Euros which was fine and some small amount of USD. Several people we met had problems with their banks issuing money to a west African country even via western union as there are so many scams. I guess if possible, you may want to enquire about this with your bank before you go. A couple of English girls we knew had problems getting money from their Barclay bank account at a Western Union.
I can’t give you an idea of how much to take but we budgeted 100 euros for 2 people per day and we just got through. Believe the books when they say Mali is an expensive place. It is mainly in organizing transport and the fact that banks are few and far between.
ATMs are only in Bamako and even then will only lend out small amounts. The ATM in Segou didn’t work and Timbuktu doesn’t have an ATM.
Do NOT bring a mastercard as these are not accepted anywhere and we had to a bail out a couple of people who got stuck. It is cash or Visa!
The CFA rate was 655CFA = 1 euro when we were there.
Getting a phone SIM card is dirt cheap and recommended if you are wanting to organize transport or a guide to Dogon. Card was 4000CFA with 2000CFA credit.
Internet was available in Timbuktu but it was very slow and a huge queue was there as there aren’t many terminals. Also the connection is unreliable and we were not able to upload photos due to the code word interface that they have. Elsewhere in Mali internet was often found at the Somatel telephone exchanges.
DOGON AND GOING TO OUGA
There are no shortage of Dogon guides but you must get a recommendation as we met a few people that got stuck with a nasty guide that swore at them, didn’t talk to them and who ruined their experience.
We had a great guide who we would fully recommend. He even carried mangoes for us in his backpack to surprise us. His name is Oumar Guindo and his email is email@example.com Mobile +2232441110 Home +2239368531. We used him for the southern part of the Dogon walk.
We used a different guy for the north Dogon, but we’ve stopped recommending that guy since we heard that some others who used him had some problems.
Just some advice for the Dogon walk. We met in Sanga and walked to the Yougas with 1 night out, and the guide arranged to get a lift for us to drive back which made it feasible in 2 days. The Yougas are much more scenic and mystical than the south and more quiet with less tourists.
The south takes 2 nights and we left Bandiagara and walked to Teli with Oumar. It was not as scenic as the north with a lot of tourists and towns selling lots of touristy type stuff which detracts from the authenticity a little.
If you are going to Burkina Faso, we slept at Ende on the last night and walked to Teli and got the guide to organize a car to take us to Bankass where they found us a van to take us to Burkina. We were in Ouga late the same night.
It is worth contacting the guides in advance of the festival so that you don’t have to hang around waiting for them to return. There is only a little phone reception on the Bandiagara escarpment so if the guide you want is on a walk, he will not be able to contact you until he returns. Internet is not freely available so it is not easy to get them on email close to the time they go. We got a few names just in case we couldn’t get the guide we wanted. We still had to hang around Bandiagara for a day which was boring.
OK I can’t think of anymore tips, so if there is anything else, just leave a comment and I’ll see if I can answer it.
PS To read our blogs on Mali, just back track to the preceding blog entries from this one.
PPS Our photos are at the following link
Hi Ced & Avril,
We are leaving for Mali beginning of January, and will want to attend the festival.
Thanks for the tips
Hi, just checked out ur website (very cool i have to say).
So would u recomment a single female to travel to Mali?
Yes, we found that Malians were actually very respectful of women and it seemed to be a matriacal society.
I would not expect any violence or animosity towards women, but you will probably only get hassled with an infinite amount of suitors wanting to talk to you…. but then again, everyone gets that anyway
if you go during the festival au desert time, you will have no shortage of people to hook up with
there were a heap of single women there
Sounds like I might not die alone
hiya – very informative website.
I was planning on doing the festival but its a bit rushed and may leave it until next time. I was on the phone to one company in Paris (active-visas) who should be able to get me a visa quickly but I just wanted to know if its possible to come via a neighbouring country that doesn’t require a visa before landing and then getting the Malian one at the border cross?
ie., Burkino Faso.
Let me know if you can please, I may still decide to go; rushed as it is.
Hi there Ced and Avril,
I am an Amsterdam student that ended up in Ouagadougou and has one month left for having fun in West-Africa with a visum for Mali for Januari. Your great tips make me want to go to the festival so bad! I am thinking of doing it, by myself.
Traveling won’t be the problem. My main concern is getting a festival entry pass this late. Due to typical African bureaucracy of the organisation it seems to be impossible for me to get information about the possibilities of buying this pass at the festival gates. The booking period on internet has already been expired. Do you think it’s worth to try traveling all the way up there to the sandy dunes of Essakane with a lot of CFA’s and giving it a try? (without a tent by the way)
Thanks in advance for your response.
sorry mate, i don’t know if you can do that.
have you posted the question on the lonely planet thorntree?
i do know that some people got a visa at the airport for 24 hours but then had to run around bamako the next day to get the official visa.
also burkina faso has a lot of embassies so you could go to the malian embassy in ougadougou
good luck…it is definitely worth it
Hi there Ced and Avril,
I am an Amsterdam student that ended up in Ouagadougou and has one month left
for having fun in West-Africa with a visum for Mali for Januari. Your great tips
make me want to go to the festival so bad! I am thinking of doing it, by
Traveling wonâ€™t be the problem. My main concern is getting a festival entry
pass this late. Due to typical African bureaucracy of the organisation it seems
to be impossible for me to get information about the possibilities of buying
this pass at the festival gates. The booking period on internet has already been
expired. Do you think itâ€™s worth to try traveling all the way up there to the
sandy dunes of Essakane with a lot of CFAâ€™s and giving it a try? (without a
tent by the way)
Thanks in advance for your response.
You get the entry ticket in Timbuktu itself and there were lots of people who turned up and got it then so there should be no worries getting it. Make sure that you enquire when you get to timbuktu where to get the ticket though as it can change… don’t leave it until essakane. The ticket should be an arm band so make sure that you don’t pay someone dodgy on the street.
When we were there they were taking euros for the ticket not CFA
Good luck, you won’t regret it! There will be accomodation in Tuareg tents so that should be no problem. Grab yourself some snack food in Ouga as it is hard to come by in Mali eg can drinks, biscuits
Thanks so much for all of your great info and advice – it has been invaluable.
Do you know anything about entering without a visa? The festival site says that it’s fine to get a quickie from the airport when i arrive, then get an official one the next day from the police in Bamako. Any knowledge on this??
Other sites say no way and then i just read one that said i wont be allowed on my flight!!
Thanks in advance
Hi again, just read the visa post above – got my question answered.
Keep up the cool bruce Lee moves.
thanks again for all of your info
Yeah, I don’t know why they seem to discourage you not getting the visa before you arrive.
The only thing I can think of is that most flights arrive at 2.35am so the immigration may be too sleepy to stamp your passport? 🙁
We met people who just arrived and got the 24 hour one and then went into Bamako the next day, so it is doable. I just don’t know how easy or how much hassle they got.
I can tell you that on Royal Air Maroc, we weren’t asked to show the Visa.
Good luck, you’ll love it.
Bruce Lee…er I mean Ced
I have to add my thanks to those already sent to your for these very helpful informations. I wondered about the extraordinary prices the travel agencies at the official website for the 2009 festival are demanding. I would be interested if anyone is planning to visit the 2009 festival and would share tips.
This is a great deal of information. Thanks. My wife and myself (both Canadians) we are going to the Festival in the Desert in Jan 2009. We were reluctantly considering to get on an organized tour but considering your tips and our strong desire to be independent, I strongly believe that we will go on our own. We are also planning to see other places on our way from Bamako to Timbuktu. Are there any places to avoid or to be extra careful? Also, I am a bit concern about the issues with carrying all the cash (for the whole trip) on me. How about the travelers cheques?
Sorry it took me a while to respond to this
Our trip to Mali was just 3 weeks and Bamako, Segou, Djenne, Mopti/Sevare, The Festival and Dogon was heaps.
I don’t think there is too much outside those attractions worth the effort.
The itinerary we did is on that post. Djenne on market day is certainly a must. Segou was nice for a day to see river life. The Dogon was great. Mopti/Sevare is worth a day at most.
There were really no places I would avoid. Like you, I was a bit nervous as it was our first Sub Saharan African country, but honestly, we felt safer there than in an American city.
As for the cash, there is no way around it. Travellers checks are useless in Africa in general and we never carry them. Either the commissions are high or you can’t find places to cash them. There are Western Unions everywhere though, but getting money out is not always easy or guaranteed
We carried a lot of cash and had money belts on us that look like normal belts but have zippers on the inside. We were planning on traveling for 3 months so we were loaded, but never felt in any danger of losing anything or getting mugged.
The best advice i can give you is to maybe carry some travellers cheques for emergency, but don’t rely on them.
Let me know if I can be of help
This advice is invaluable. I’ll be travelling solo to Mali in November and was a bit worried about not having things booked in advance. How did you get into Burkina Faso? Was that part of your Dogon trek? Do you need a visa? I have only 11 days, is B.F worth a day? Thanks, again
november is a quiet time so i don’t think you will need to book anything in advance
burkina faso border is only a 40 min drive from the dogon area but the minibus ride was horrible and cramped and very dusty – the wet season would be horrible and muddy no doubt
no i would say it isn’t worth it unless you are heading that way anyway as the border towns are nothing interesting and ouga is the only interesting place and it would be a 2 day round trip to get there
as aussie’s we didn’t need a visa so you’ll have to check out your status
Totally random question – and not really on the topic at all. But I’m sure that I met you guys in a hostel in La Paz, Bolivia back in 1998??!! Would that have been you? I think that I still have your hotmail address in my address book hence the “cedavril” ringing a bell!
Small world if it is you. Glad to see that you’re carrying on the travels.
Yeah we remember you. We drop you a line on your email.
Hi Cedric and Avril!
So nice to be able to join you on internet.
I’m Guindo, the main English speaking guide at Essakane festival with your group and Dogon country native. I’m doing well and working for myself. Right now I’m visiting the US for contacts.
Please to pass my mail address to those who are visiting Mali and Burkina Faso. I’m working on my website but not yet done!
Hi Cedric and all Mali travellers!
Thank you for the detailed tips about the festival. I travelled for a month through Mali in December 1998 with a female friend and we never felt in danger or harrassment.I would love to go back for the festival in 2009 but I doubt any of my friend will come along.
I am interested to join other travellers like Peter ( how do I contact him?) who want to do it themselves or through an agency but not the ones on the official website ; they sound too expensive for what I remember pricewise.
I speak Italian English and French and I travelled extensevely through Africa.
Cracking read thanks guys for putting that all down. It answers pretty much all of my queries!
Me and my lady will be going in 2009. We’ll be looking to hook up with some like minded people.
I like the idea of getting jeep in bamako and doing the whole lot with one driver…. anyon else game for that?
Me and another female friend (both Americans) are planning to go to the festival and would love to connect with others to share transportation, supplies, etc. We arrive by air in Mali (from Senegal) on Jan.6 and will be in Mali a total of 14 days. We are in late twenties, first time in Africa (but will be travelling 3 months here), openminded, peaceful and fun and would love to connect with good people. We speak Spanish and English and have travelled in Mexico, Central Am. and Europe. We are on a budget and the tour packages are out of our league but we would really like to join with others who are doing it independently, pool our resources and share the journey! Please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for this — I have a question. If you are going to the festival in our own 4×4 vehicles driving from Timbuktu, how hard is it to drive in sand if you aren’t accustomed to it and is it hard to find the festival on your own? And if you would make a recommendations for how to do this, what would it be?
Can you tell me where you got your money belts from? I bought one in South America the same as that over 30 years ago, but it has now given up the ghost and I need to get another one to travel to Mali and other countries in West Africa in 1 week’s time. Thanks for the info on your blog – it’s invaluable. I’ve travelled extensively in Africa, but have been trying to get to Mali since I lived in Ghana in the 1970s. Am finally making it and to the Festival in January 2010.
P.S. I live in Australia and haven’t seen those type of money belts here (all cloth ones).
Thank you so much for your in-depth review of your travels to the Festival au Desert, it’s been incredibly helpful for my planning of the event! My friends and I will be making the trek there this January 2010. I just had a quick question. As you mentioned, the prices of the tours are quite expensive, about 500 euros, and my friends and I are not quite prepared to pay this much.
My question was, do you happen to remember if the other independent travelers that you met had brought their own tent. I had heard somewhere that all the festival goers had to use Tuareg tents and I didn’t want to lug a large tent over to Mali only to find out that we couldn’t use it, but it would help us cut down on costs to provide our own lodging.
Thank you so much again, Ced!