Alice reaches Timbuktu, the City of Gold.
Alice Morrison takes on the vast Sahara in an epic camel trek over the dunes. At night by the campfire, she hears a shocking story of modern day slavery from her trekking guide. The next day, her journey across the sands is halted by the closed border between Algeria and Morocco. Undeterred, Alice heads west on another trading route to Guelmim. She stops in Tamegroute, where she finds a hidden library of ancient books, including manuscripts by a 16th-century Malian scholar. It is evidence that the trans-Saharan trade routes transferred knowledge as well as gold and salt.
Guelmim was home of Africa's largest camel market centuries ago, supplying the merchants for their caravans across the desert. There is still a bustling lifestock market, but the salesmen tells Alice that now camels are mainly sold for food. Border disputes over Western Sahara bring Alice's journey along the salt roads to a complete halt. She has to fly across Africa to the capital of Mali, Bamako. Here, she gets to the source of Timbuktu's legendary wealth with a visit to a gold mine, and she rolls up her sleeves to try to unearth her own gold nugget. Flying the last leg into Timbuktu itself involves begging a seat on a UN flight. This ancient city has turned into one of the most dangerous places in the world after an incursion by Islamic extremists in 2012. It lasted a year, and now UN soldiers keep a fragile peace in the city, having pushed the insurgents just a few miles back into the desert.
When she finally reaches the City of Gold, Alice relives its glorious past with a visit to its world-famous mosques, the last surviving treasures of a bygone era. In the oldest of them, the Djinguereber mosque, she hears the tale of Mansa Musa, Mali's greatest king and the richest man in history.