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Old 6 Aug 2002
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Highest point in Niger

Hi Travellers.

I'm planing on hiking on Nigers' highest point. The data I have, CIA factbook and more, tell me that Gréboun is the highest, 1944m a.s.l. On the maps I have (IGN and Michelin) there is one higher, Adrar Tamgak, 1988m a.s.l.

Can any of you explain to me what is going on? What are the correct information?


Edit. Instead of writing Niger in the text I wrote Mali. I have change it now.

[This message has been edited by geokobbi (edited 06 August 2002).]
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Old 6 Aug 2002
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My understanding is that in Mali the highest point is Hombori Tondo which is 1155metres. It is one of the massive rock formations very near the village of Hombori on the main road between Bamako and Gao. When I was there late last year, I also understood from the owner of the hotel, that you are not allowed to climb it, because it offends the people of animist beliefs in the local area. (Looking at it though, I am not sure that you could get to the top unless you had climbing equipment - it is mostly vertical rock walls) Instead, I climbed most of the height of the conical rock peak next to Hombori Tondo which you were allowed to climb. There are other spectacular rock formations about 13 km from Hombori, including The Hand of Fatma, which are well known to rock climbers.

The title of your question refers to the highest point in Niger (rather than Mali). The highest point in Niger I think is Mont Bagzane in the southern end of the spectacular Bagzane region in the Aire Massif north of Agadez. The height of this peak is about 2050 metres. (I trekked through this volcanic area by camel in January this year)
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Old 6 Aug 2002
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Most of the Saharan massifs were surveyed in the thirties with rather crude methods, errors abound. Different maps may show different altitudes for the same peaks due to different sources. Even today, GPS altitude measurement is quite inaccurate. While locations matched exactly, two sets gave a varying difference of 10-20 metres in altitude side by side.

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Happy Travels, András
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Old 6 Aug 2002
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Alistair, I wanted to write Niger instead of Mali. This must be Freudian slip, since I was also thinking about doing Hombori Tondo. If Hombori in unclimbable what mountain is the secound higest in Mali. You ad another complexity to this topic by suggesting Mont Bagzane. Do you know if that mountain is easy to climb, I'm not talking about rock climbing, more hiking.

Which map or database would show me the most accurate altitute measurements? I would also be greatfull is someone had list of 5-10 highest mountains in Northern Africa.

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Old 7 Aug 2002
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Geokobbi, When you ask about the second highest mountain in Mali, I am almost certain that it would be one of the mountains near Hombori. There would not be that much difference in height between Hombori Tondo and the others in the same area. Near (ie within 2-3 km) the village of Hombori, there would be perhaps 4 or 5 other high mountains, and further down the road (about 13 km and not 30km as noted in the Lonely Planet West Africa book) towards Bamako, are a series of 3-4 other mountains which you could say are 'high'. These include The Hand of Fatma. Unfortunately for you, who want to climb/walk up them, they all either require rock climbing ropes and equipment, or are not allowed to be climbed due to the locals animist beliefs. My best guess, is that the highest point in Mali, which you are allowed to climb, and can get to without special equipment, is the slightly lower conical peak next to Hombori Tondo. This is the one which I climbed/walked most (but not all) of the way, late last year. I was in the company of another traveller, and although we felt we could get to the top, we thought it may be a little difficult descending, and being aware that it is a long way to a hospital, we decided not to go to the very top. I have no doubt that you could get to the top, if you were careful, without the need for any special equipment.

As for Mont Bagzane, in Niger, I am almost certain that this is the highest point in Niger. -some maps note that it is 2022 metres, including the recent Times Atlas. I would also be confidant that you could climb/walk to the top of this peak, if you knew which one it was. The peak does not stand out in an obvious manner, but is amongst a number of peaks in the Aire Massif. At the time I was there in January this year, it was (and probably still is) a requirement that you have a guide while in the area north of Agadez -so you would need to make sure that the guide was aware of which peak was actually Mont Bagzane. It is an amazing area covered in volcanic boulders and rocks, and dotted with villages. It can get cold and windy at night depending on the time of year you intend going there.

As for other high peaks, Emi Koussi 3415 metres, in the Tibesti mountains in the north of Chad would be spectacular, as is the whole region. May be one day when it gets a little easier and safer to get there.........
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