Trade of goods, people, and faith across North Africa’s Sahara desert peaked from the eighth century CE to the 1500s. Camels were the main mode of transportation. Gold, salt, animal hides, and slaves were among the main items transported out of Africa to points east and north. Muslim merchants imported camels into the region; they also brought along their faith in Islam, which spread rapidly into North and West Africa. Three important West African trade centers along these trade routes were Djenne, Goa, and Timbuktu.