A British couple caught up in instability sweeping the west African country of Mali are safe and well, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
Officials said Neil Whitehead and Diane English have received consular assistance and are in neighbouring Mauritania.
The pair are believed to have been running a guest house in Timbuktu when the city was overtaken by Islamists loyal to al Qaeda.
The Foreign Office says the couple made the overland trip of more than 1,000 miles and are now in Mauritania.
Ms English's daughter Hana Callard told Sky News: "Obviously we've been worried and concerned.
"It's been a bit surreal as well. You expect it to happen to other people, not your own family.
"She wouldn't be my mum if she didn't take those risks and have that adventurous spirit."
Timbuktu became embroiled in Mali's instability last weekend. A few weeks ago the Malian capital Bamako fell in a military coup.
Mali was previously considered one of the most stable countries in Africa, having enjoyed 20 years of democratic rule.
But low-ranking soldiers are said to have become dissatisfied with the rule of central government - and its inability to arm them to fight an uprising staged over recent months by separatist Tuareg rebels in the north of the country.
Ironically, it seems the Tuareg rebels may have helped smuggle the British couple out of Mali after al Qaeda put a price on their heads.
In the early 1990s, the nomadic Tuareg of the north began an insurgency over land and cultural rights.
Central government attempts to supress them militarily or through negotiated solutions have failed.
The insurgency gathered pace in 2007 and was exacerbated by an influx of arms from the Libyan civil war in 2011.
The Saharan branch of al Qaeda quickly moved into the increasingly lawless country to spread its influence. The Tuareg are said to now control an area of northern Mali the size of France.
Mali is renowned worldwide for having produced stars of African music and is noted for its cultural and historic attractions.
But foreign visitor numbers had already collapsed after a Dutchman, a South African and a Swede were seized by gunmen in November.
A German abducted at the same time was apparently killed by his al Qaeda captors.