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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 14 Feb 2006
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Agadez-Bilma-Nguigmi ; ode to the Russians !

We have crossed the Tenere and Erg du Bilma last é weeks and it was interesting. Want to share some of our gained knowledge. First we have managed to get from Agadez to Dirkou without the obligatory guide. We convinced the chief of police in Agadez that one of us(we were with 2 cars/4 persons) was a guide, which was true but only for rivercruises in Europe :-))) They bought it!!! In Dirkou people were very nice and we stayed at the Mayors (Bou Bakar) house. In Bilma we tried to find a guide and we had the choise of 2 guys. One was very expensive (190000 CFA) but seemed competent. He also had a drivers licence and a car. For 190K CFA he would have to be in our car though. The other guide was 130K CFA so we took him but as we got on our way we noticed that he had no kwowledge of what a car can do in the sand. He had crossed the desert many times but only on his camel. He was basically useless and after Zoo Baba he wanted to send us into a virtually impossible dune field. Not the nicely distibuted rows with wide corridors but short dunes, one after the other, as far as the eye could see with no corridors at all. We decided to ignore his directions and revert back to what we had: our GPS and the Russian Staff Maps! We had to drive a long way from where we were to get back on the russian route but soon enough we were very happy with our decision as one easy passage appeared after the other. Althoug the russian maps are old they are still very very usefull to get through the Grand Erg du Bilma, particularly the leg after Zoo Baba! So ODE TO THE RUSSIAN STAFF MAPS. In hind sight I can say that the Erg du Bilma is not all that difficult if you know the route. There are many places where the dunes can be crossed easily and without any danger but you have to know how to find them! The biggest problem were not the dunes but the corridors between the dunes which in places were so soft that we had to dig our way throug!

Moral of the story for anybody with the same plans; do not try to be cheap on a guide ! You will get what you pay for.

Cheers from N'Dlamena

Noel
www.exploreafrica.web-log.nl

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  #2  
Old 16 Feb 2006
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Thanks for this very interesting post.
A great trip, I'm sure, and a great achievement.
Do you have any GPS fixes you can share with us?
Thanks

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homepage [URL=http://www.kitmax.com]
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  #3  
Old 16 Feb 2006
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Interesting what you say about old large scale maps (generally no longer updated) being functional in dune fields. I have found the same in the Grand Erg with IGN 200ks. Formations in these areas are much more stable than people imagine (at least up to 50 years or so), given the myth of "ever changing sea of dunes" one reads about.

Look forward to doing this piste one day...

Chris S
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  #4  
Old 27 Feb 2006
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Hello. I am glad to read news like yours. I am gathering info about routes for Niger, country to which we will visit in November and December. I am gathering information about the countryl. The whole info that could remit me on tracks and wps, besides info practices of some of the routes that you have carried out, they would be of great value for me. I hope to continue in contact with you. Thank you luis
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  #5  
Old 27 Feb 2006
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Hi Noel,

Well done on you! This is surely the most impressive crossing I've ever made.

I fully subscribe to your observation that you get what you pay for when it comes to guides. We did the same crossing with an expensive guide (without car or driving license) but he came highly recommended and was worth his money.

Enjoy the rest of your trip,
Camiel
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  #6  
Old 1 Mar 2006
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Hi Luis,

I will email you the track log (Garmin format) of what i have one of these days. It is not entirly complete and un-edited, so with all the wrong routes we had to turn back on still in it but you can use it as a reference.

Cheers,

Noel
www.exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #7  
Old 5 Mar 2006
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Hi Noel,
we shall visit the NIGER in August.
Our information is: Air and Tenere only with guide.
Of course we prefere travelling without any guide, as we did the years before in Libya, Algeria..... .
Would it be possible for me to get your Garmin - track - data of your niger - travel?
As an email ?
Thanks RUDOLF
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  #8  
Old 9 Mar 2006
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Hi Rudolf,

I will forward you the track log of the Tenere and Erg du Bilma by email but it will be in .plt format for OziExplorer. As for the Air I did not keep the track log because it is all clear stoney piste. We did not take a guide in the Air but just went off. You dont need it unless you go to the extreme north of the Air which is sandy desert again. We were checked by the police once but they did not ask us for the guide! The Agadez - Dirkou stretch was a different story though. If you leave Agadez and you intend to report with the check point just outside town, count on it that they will not let you pass easily without a guide because its is required by law (they say). We had a hard time convincing them we had a guide, which was one of our own people (which was bogus of course, but they ultimately bought it). We also met some French guys who just avoided the police check point and got away without a guide. Once you are past that one check point just outside Agadez, there are no police checks anymore until Dirkou or Bilma. In Neither of these last towns the police seem to bother about guides. From Bilma to Nguigmi, a guide is not required by law but I guess its just a wise thing to do.

Cheers,

Noel
www.exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #9  
Old 17 Mar 2006
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Noel,

I would also be more than thankful for these tracks.

Anxiously waiting at noisedata_at_motosvet.com ... thank you in adv,

Noise
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  #10  
Old 20 Mar 2006
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Hello,
I also would be very interested in your tracks.
Would be glad to get them under:
sato.binkle(at)gmx.net
Thanks
Thomas
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  #11  
Old 4 Dec 2008
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converting tracks

Bumping up an old thread...

I got Noels track from this trip but as I'm not familiar with OziExplore I would like the track to be converted to use with mapsource. I've tried different programs to convert the .plt file but it seems to fail on the date being Pulkova 1942. What I understand so is the fix to open the file again in OziExplore and save it with wgs84 and from there try to convert it to work with mapsource.

Can anyone please help me with this?
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  #12  
Old 4 Dec 2008
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Hi Stefan,

send me the track I will convert it for You.

Regards

Ulrich
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  #13  
Old 4 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
Hi Stefan,

send me the track I will convert it for You.

Regards

Ulrich
Thanks alot,
I just send you an email...

/Stefan W
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