Where: Niger, central west Africa
Best sights: Attending the Wodabe herders festival and the Tuareg camel races
Remember to bring: Plenty of water and head protection from the heat of the Saharan desert
Niger is a country of astonishing diversity of climates, landscapes and ethnic groups. Rarely filmed and only for the hardy adventurer, Niger is one of the last undiscovered desert destinations in the world.
Holly Morris begins her trek in Agadez, where she visits the Wodabe Gerewhol Festival – the traditional gathering of the nomadic Wodabe herders. The long thin features of Wodabe men are emphasised with bright makeup and fine jewellery as they try to woo the women with dancing for long hours and try to reveal their personal charm to eligible young women.
Holly heads up into the Air Mountain range to the oasis of Timia and the Tuareg, one of the most revered of the North African nomadic tribes. The Tuareg are renowned for their bravery and their proud and warlike stance, with their blue eyes peeking through long taguelmoust – a shawl or scarf that completely covers their face. The Tuareg are also famed for their ‘cavalcades’ – camel races through villages where a hundred rider race for the prize of a sword. Holly herself becomes the first woman ever to enter a camel race, cheered on by women in their finest silver jewellery, singing and clapping to the sound of drums.
Holly ends her trek by heading back across the desert in search of Africa’s most spectacular migration – the salt caravans, as hundreds of camel trains make the long journey across the desert to trade salt and dates.
Caption: Ships of the Desert at the Tuareg Camel Races
Plan you trip to Niger with Air France. They fly to more than 290 destinations worldwide, and you can book your flight on their website, cheque flight status, take advantage of special deals, and find out all about their Frequent Flyer programme.
Dunes Voyages prepare Saharan and sub-Saharan expeditions, treks in the Aïr and theTénéré -the land of the Tuaregs. With over 25 years of experience in Niger and in Africa, Dunes-Voyages will make sure your travel in desert will be a success.