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

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  #1  
Old 11 Jan 2002
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Tourists dying in Sahara


How many 'tourists' do actually die in the Sahara?

I thought it might be good to try and get some facts rather than the oft-repeated tales that get passed around.

waiting with interest!
Sam.
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  #2  
Old 11 Jan 2002
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Do you mean dead from bandit attacks, or dead caused by natural facts ?
I would say that from the first cause, 5 out of 500 travelers have the [mathematical possibility] of a violent death. [there is a formula for that].
The second cause could be something like 4/5 out of 1000.
The theory of probabilities has some complex variants, but you question is very intresting, but to find out what the real numbers are.., this will be a hard job, we first have pin-point -one year- and for a defined area, and than start our investigation.
The Sahara is quite abstract and Saharian secrets must have a very abstract level.
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  #3  
Old 12 Jan 2002
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I only know of 2 people dying in the Egyptian portion of the Sahara in recent history. One of them was a KTM rally driver who had an unfortunate accident while training. We don’t have bandit problems here.

However, I must say that the death toll should not be the only indication on how safe or enjoyable desert travel is. In fact it seldom is. There has been a lot of close calls almost all of which could have been avoided.

Usually the people who have problems in the Sahara, and sometimes die, fall into one of the following categories:

Reckless travelers:
This either means people who drive their bike/4wd as if they’re in Paris-Dakar or people who venture into the desert without the proper preparations, precautions, driving skills or stuck vehicle extraction know-how.

Wrong choice of guide:
I’ve heard of a case where some tourist got lost and eventually died because their guide had very little experience and had no idea what to do. This situation can be avoided by simply making sure that you hire a qualified guide.

The Sahara is a serene and wonderful place. It doesn’t have to be a harsh trip if equipped properly, knows what to expect and respect nature as well as your capabilities.

I don’t want to lecture here since I hate lectures myself but you have to take Sahara travel seriously in order for your trip to be enjoyable and safe. There are a lot of very good resources on the web to learn about the subject. But if anybody wants to learn more, just let me know. I have a long history of safe desert travel and would love to answer your questions.

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  #4  
Old 14 Jan 2002
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Giving me some spare time and an ADSL link was very irresponsible, but a lot of fun!

The only info the web has given up so far is:

12 Feb 1996, One Frenchman killed (one injured) by a mine detonating under their car in Western Sahara.

Anybody, anything else?

Sam.
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  #5  
Old 14 Jan 2002
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As I said in my post I know of 2 in Egypt. Do you need excat dates and nationalities for some research or something? I can try to find out exactly for you.

A.B.

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  #6  
Old 14 Jan 2002
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Hi Sam,

Not much time for research today, found 2 cases.

1. Mali. 29/10/2001. 1 driver and 1 guide killed. one french the other italian ? but the story is not clear. source: africaonline.com
2.Northeren Mali, near Tessalit, 2/9/2000. 3 Dutch tourist killed [troats slit]. source: BBC World.

ps. Wished your 'investigation' was on Europa, that would be so much easier, in Europa 43.300 people die every year on the road, the Sahara is so save.
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  #7  
Old 14 Jan 2002
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'Port', the central character from the book 'The sheltering Sky' by Paul Bowles, died in the Sahara, but he did't consider himself as a tourist, but more as the ultimo traveller.
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  #8  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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I know that in 'Ice Cold in Alex', there were loads of deaths, but given that it is a war film, I'm not sure we can count them!

I make us at eight confirmed so far?

Sam.
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  #9  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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22 Sep 96

11 Dead, 4 Missing In Sudan-Libya Desert

KHARTOUM, Sudan (PANA) - Rescuers have found 11 Sudanese nationals
dead in the Sahara desert in an area between Sudan and Libya, the
official Sudan News Agency, SUNA, reported Sunday quoting the
interior ministry spokesman.

"Eleven bodies were found burried in the same spot where the bus
was," the spokesman, police Gen. Zubair Ibrahim Zubair Said.

They are believed to have died of thirst after their bus got lost in
the desert. He added that four other passengers were "considered
missing."

Two survivors made it to Kufrik. The agency did not give its
location.

The the Libyan registered bus left Dongola, northern Sudan, for
Kufra in Libya, on August 29.

When it failed to reach Kufra on schedule, a search was mounted by a
combined team of the Sudanese ministries of the Interior, Foreign
Affairs, the Northern Sudan State Government and Libyan authorities.



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  #10  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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93 Perish in Libyan Desert (2001)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - Dozens of Africans traveling through the desert to
avoid
border checks died of thirst after their truck broke down, stranding them in
the Sahara, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

The bodies of 93 people were found Thursday at Libya's southern border, a
ministry statement said. The Sudanese truck driver and 25 others survived.
No
details about their rescue were available.

The travelers were not carrying identification papers, security officials
said. The truck driver described them as coming from various African
countries, but did not elaborate, the ministry said.

The Niger-registered truck entered Libya on May 8, it said.

Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands from sub-Saharan Africa have
migrated to oil-rich Libya to find work in agriculture or construction, many
illegally, the government said.

Earlier this year, the bodies of 22 Niger nationals trying to get to North
Africa through a side desert route also perished after their truck broke
down,
an Interior Ministry official said.

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  #11  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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11/01/2001. 4 Tourist killed South of Annaba, Algeria. source: RFI. [radiofrance inter]
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  #12  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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I found these on the Internet.

A French tourist is killed and another wounded by a mine explosion on the border between Mauritania and Western Sahara. Source: Western Sahara Briefing, dated 12th February 1996.

Belgian family (mother, father, and five year old son) who died in the Algerian desert after losing their way. Their car broke down and they ran out of water. Finally, only the woman was left. She described her last days in her journal which William Langewiesche later read. Source: William Langewiesche's book - "Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert".

There have been several carjackings, robberies and murders in the Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou regions involving U.S. citizens and other foreign tourists. Source: Mali - Consular Information Sheet dated 3rd October 2000 published by the US Dept of State.

So what's the count now Sam?
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  #13  
Old 16 Jan 2002
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"In the maroccan Sahara"..., [summer 2000], 1. French women died only 3 hours away from the Tizzarouine Hotel in Boulmane de Dades, south of Erfoud, she went for a walk and got lost. source: Expedia.com
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  #14  
Old 18 Jan 2002
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Sixteen tourists. I'm not sure that the (undeniably unfortunate nonetheless) refugees/illegal immigrants count. The one activity they were definately not involved in was tourism.

The Annaba entry is interesting, I can't find any details on that myself?

Sam.
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  #15  
Old 18 Jan 2002
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Annaba is not in the Sahara. It's a coastal city in Algeria and it's a well-known fact that the north of the country is still off-limits for foreigners.


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