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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #1  
Old 2 Aug 2016
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West-East Sahara crossing by camel caravan

Hi everyone,

I am planning an expedition to cross the Sahara on camel, I know this could take months.

The idea is still in its infancy, however this is a general call out to other people who might be interested in joining me or finding out more.

I've started to gain momentum in my research and I'm reaching out so if anyone simply has experience or knowledge regarding guides, salt caravans, fixers, people they know who have done similar or any advice, it would be whole heartedly well received. Or if you think I'm completely nuts please let me know

I will still research this stuff myself, but I don't know what I don't know so I'll take any and all advice.

A bit about me - I'm a 35 year old film composer from Sydney and recently my life got turned upside down for numerous reasons, so I thought to myself 'I want to have a life changing experience' and thought this would be just that adventure.

So please get in touch if you want to know more or are thinking of doing something similar! Lets chat

Have a great day,
Dan

Last edited by DanNewBeginnings; 2 Aug 2016 at 15:15.
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  #2  
Old 2 Aug 2016
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Hello and welcome!
Every few years there is a nutter with the same idea
it was never doable and now even less then ever before
You cant cross Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger for security reasons.
Even Tunisia is unsafe. And the eastern borders of Morocco and Mauretania also no go.
You can read about some of the other trekkers here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-caravan-67746
http://www.humanedgetech.com/expedit...=21&view=39475
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...atlantic-49257
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...amelling-72929
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7744386-sahara
Paula Constant made it from Maure to Niger. And Christian Bodegren from the Red Sea to Tunisia, where he ran out of luck (accused of smuggling camels from Libya!).
Why not cross Australia instead?
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  #3  
Old 2 Aug 2016
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North Africa is very safe these days. Especially Tunisia (as it has always been). Been there twice in the past 18 months.

Early January 2015 - Ksar Ghilane







Near the Lybian border



I returned to Douz in May 2016. Didn't go any lower as it was stinking hot. Too hot to cross the desert to Ksar Ghilane alone this time.







Sure, doing the annual pilgrim route from Mauritania thru Mali, Nigeria, Tchad, Soudan, Saudi Arabia to Mecca might prove difficult though. ;-) You can ride from Morocco to Nouahckott through Western Sahara if you stay on the main road. But once in Mauritania, it will be risky to go East toward Mecca. ;-)
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Old 2 Aug 2016
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Brave man. I spent two days on a camel. Never again. Even a KTM is more comfortable!
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[ Tim | History - NW Italy/French Rivera, Swiss Alps, Morocco | 2016 - Greece > Albania > Macedonia > Kosovo > Montenegro > Bosnia > Slovenia > Austria ]
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Old 2 Aug 2016
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Well youre supposed to walk with the camel, not ride it
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Thanks for the advice and stories everyone, seems it might be a bit more challenging than I first thought, particularly security. I am determined to make it happen though, and it's good to know I'm the next nutter that has come along to suggest the idea. I'm thinking I should work out a country at a time.

Please keep the posts coming!
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Hard to tell how seriously to take this.

OP, have you any experience with camels? I mean, at least enough to know that they tend to be surly, opinionated, difficult to load, and hideously uncomfortable?

Have you any experience with self-supported desert travel? How about movement in low-level war zones? Spent any time in Africa at all? Etc.

Not trying to criticize; it's just that you're not giving much to go on here. What you're proposing is unlikely to come to any sort of fruition unless you happen to have considerable resources at your disposal--this means money, time, stamina, skills and experience. Plus some more stuff, like luck.

There are folks here who're well-supplied with much of the above. You might attract some interest if you can demonstrate real potential; otherwise, you look like just another dreamer.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Hi Mark,
Thanks for the message, I understand I haven't given you much to go on. I do have the time, money, stamina and some skills, but as far as unsupported desert camel travel in low level war zones I have no experience.

The idea is still in it's infancy, but reading others stories I believe it is possible (political climate depending of course). This thread is just a generic call out to others who might be interested or to offer advice/tips. I've already made contacts within a few days, and a route is starting to form, but as far as logistics it is still a way away.

Perhaps you could offer some advice on what might make people take me a bit more seriously? Or how to demonstrate real potential? Or better yet how I might connect with some more experienced folks on here?

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Thumbs up crossing the Sahara with camels

"as far as unsupported desert camel travel in low level war zones I have no experience"


hello Dan - what about spending first a 4 weeks test in Mauritania with camels?


Just to get good camels is an adventure - did you read "Impossible Journey" ?



All the best and Good Luck - Ursula
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Is such a journey impossible? Well, nothing is impossible and any dream is meant to be experienced. But you don't get to climb the Everest without ever having hiked previously...

I'd say start by visiting Southern Morocco on a motorcycle. Get ooe of these tourist camel back rides in Merzouga or M'Hamid El Ghizlane. Maybe reach Mauritania. Then get a feel for the environment. Ask questions. Get a feel for this new environment. Then you will know if you are ready for crossing the continent. Any which way you want.

I myself would love to cross Africa. But maybe I am 10 to 15 years too late. Back then, only Western Sahara was dangerous with its inhabitants' territorial revendications and the Polisario. Now Occidental politics have created terrorism in Africa. And it won't get any better.
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Thumbs up crossing the Sahara

the impossible journey...
became finally a reality! Michael Asher, the writer of the above mentioned book, crossed the Sahara from Mauritania to the Red Sea with his wife and camels.

Morocco is IMHO still too near to the civilisation. In Sudan, Dongola, or Mauritania, Atar, you can experience during a short stay paperwork, markets, camel trade and climate. Both countries offer Sahara conditions to test a trip with local camels.

PS my anatomy did not like the moorish camel saddles...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/726643...7621650762967/
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Old 3 Aug 2016
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Wishing that one day, I'll be able to cross from Mauritania to the Red Sea on a motorcycle. Sadly, it might only stay a wish. ;-(

Lee
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Old 4 Aug 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanNewBeginnings View Post
Hi everyone,

A bit about me - I'm a 35 year old film composer from Sydney and recently my life got turned upside down for numerous reasons, so I thought to myself 'I want to have a life changing experience' and thought this would be just that adventure.
Hi Dan,

The "Impossible journey" was 30 years ago, and Asher as far as I remember the story worked in Sudan with Camels and spoke fluent Arabic! Things has changed since then ....
Dan you are from OZ and maybe not so aware of the Problems with Kidnappings in the past and other Political problems which paralysed basically the Sahara and Africa Overland Tourism, thats where your research should start, in deep!!!

Asher's book is a good start and if you take all the current security aspects in consideration add them to Ashers experience then you might find that there's a hell of a lot more Adventures out there with even a better survival chance than E-W Sahara.

Don't forget the mines in Chad.
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Old 4 Aug 2016
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Thanks for all the more info. Yes I have been doing a lot more research into the political climate and which boarders are closed (overland & militarised). Plus Libya is sort of a no go zone as far as I've read. I know of the kidnappings too, however there are also a lot of people saying they've been there recently and everything felt safe.

Travelling across Chad is out of the question, so I'm thinking a route change is in order. Perhaps the EW crossing was possible 10 years ago, it would be extremely hard today. I'm now thinking Mauritania/Morocco (more research on boarders needed) into Algeria into Tunisia and finish at the Mediterranean.

Yes I totally agree with getting there first and climatising myself to the country. Would be a lot easier to get info re guides/camels etc.
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Old 4 Aug 2016
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Exclamation mines and UXO s

There are more mines between Mauritania – Morocco – Algeria than in Chad!
We have seen many UXO s in the border area between Mauritania/Western Sahara/Algeria/Morocco.

Chad is the safest Sahara country for the moment, except the borders with Nigeria.
(my last trip was in january and the next in february J)
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