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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 16 Mar 2006
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seeking cameltrains...

hi, have read the sections in the book and numerous websites about still existing cameltrains. in all articles it states that "a handfull" of these functional cameltrains still exist, in attempting to find out where these are, i have come across the two travelled by Alistair Bestow (great name) i.e.timbuktu-taoudenni and agadez-bilma, i have heard of a previous route timbuktu-nioro, does anyone know if this still exists?
I speak french and arabic (MSA and Egyptian) but have never had any experience of Hassaniya dialect, has anyone got any tips for good books relating to the languages spoken in these areas? Any relation between Hassaniya and Morrocan arabic?
sorry for the random questions, but it seems hard to find answers anywhere else!
also, can anyone advise on the idea of traveling by camel across borders? am looking at nema-timbuktu, does anyone have info regarding wells in this area? is it possible to attain camel-passports? anyway, any information would be a help, if not interesting!

al
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Old 16 Mar 2006
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>>>i have heard of a previous route timbuktu-nioro, does anyone know if this still exists?

You mean Nioro in Mali? I doubt it as there are good roads in the area - and what would Tim have to send to Nioro (or vv) that either can't get from Bamako?

Hassaniya is an archaic form of Arabic (as Afrikaans is to Dutch, I believe) but with your languages you will get by fine.

You ought to be with a guide anyway and have visas for wherever, but as a foreigner in this area it would be much less hassle not to cross borders.
If you want to do something different from the 2 well known salt caravans, have a look at north Sudan.

If you're still into Tim-Nema www.tanezrouft.com are an Algerian-based agency but with strong conections in Tim and Mali in general.

Chris S

(In your researches you may have comes across the sad story of the experienced American camel guy who got robbed and murdered in this area a few years ago).
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Old 16 Mar 2006
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Hassaniya is much closer to classical Arabic than Moroccon Arabic. Mauritanians and Saharawi's are very proud about that.

Never heard about an American guy being murdered between Nema and Timbouctou? What's the story? I only heard about an english guy making a film that disappeared somewhere in northern Mali.
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Old 16 Mar 2006
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hi Alistair
you must have a look at the page of Arita Baaijens, Sudan/Egypt
http://home.tiscali.nl/abaaijen/eng/home.htm
Good luck - Ursula

(I think you know already Michael Asher and his experiences on frontiers between Mauritania and the Red Sea?)
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Old 16 Mar 2006
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>>Never heard about an American guy being murdered between Nema and Timbouctou? What's the story?

Can't recall where I know of it, off the web or TV? He was making a film too and doing Asher-type traverses (an unfinished film exists or I watched it somewhere) but as I recall he was an older American and got done in west of Timbuktu.

>>I only heard about an english guy making a film that disappeared somewhere in northern Mali.

Yep, I recall that one - he was another guy, shooting a Mungo Park doc I believe

Ch

[This message has been edited by Chris Scott (edited 16 March 2006).]
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Old 17 Mar 2006
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There is a new book out called Men of Salt, by Michael Benanav. It is concerned with his roundtrip Tim-Taoudenni. An altogether good read (probably one for the book review list Chris S.)

The aforementioned Alistair Bestow is supposed to be returning home soon, after another two camel treks. I'm sending him an email in the next couple of days, and I'll tell him about the interest of the new Alistair.
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Old 17 Mar 2006
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>>>(probably one for the book review list Chris S.)

Actually I sent a copy to AB who will be reviewing it for the Books page one of these days.

Ch
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Old 2 Apr 2006
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Frank Cole, a Canadian, having completed a successful crossing of the Sahara from the Mauritanian coast to the Red Sea, was killed on his second attempt in northern Mali by bandits in 1990. I am something of an admirer of his, he shot a documentary of his first travel entitled 'Life Without Death', which I saw here, in Vancouver, at a the film festival a number of years ago. This fed an obsession I pick like a scab by reading the stories you post here. Just thought to add my two cents, as this may be the person referred to. He was a brave and talented man.
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Old 2 Apr 2006
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Thanks for the reply about Frank Cole. Must have been an interesting guy. By the way: on the internet the year 2000 is mentioned for him being murdered near Timbouctou. Around that time also three Dutch guys were killed in the north of Mali.
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