"Essakane, Festival au Desert" Lac Faguibine by sachara
Lac Faguibine Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 170 photos
The reason why I came to Timbuktu was to attend the 9th Festival au Desert in Essakane 70 km north west of Timbuktu. This festival at 8, 9 and 10 january 2009 turned out to be the perfect mix of desert, camels, Tuareg and African music I expected. The festival was originally a festivity wher several Tuareg clans met each other. Also nowadays most visitors are Tuareg. Many Tuareg men come to the festival on their camels. The camels are ornamented with colourful saddles and bags, really spectacular.
Besides Tuareg music, there are performances by varied West African musicians and a few other international musicians.
In Essakane we camped first class, in the dunes in front of the main stage just behind a dune ridge used as gallery for the main stage.
In the afternoon there were performances, mainly of regional musicians, in a wonderful setting in the white sanddunes. The singing, dancing and sword fighting were very authentic and unique. For the performances, have a look at my videos.
During the day there was also time enough to stroll around in the festival area, to visit the artisan market, to drink tea with Tuareg friends or just to sit in the white sands of the dunes adn enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the sanddunes of Essakane.
The mainacts of the festival were in the evening at the mainstage.
For the performances, have a look at my videos. The quality of the sound of the close up videos is not very high. Nevertheless I decided to upload also some of these videos, because they give a good impression of the fantastic atmosphere. There are videos of all three evenings. You can see vidoes of Koudede, Tuareg music group from Niger and Vieux Farka with a tribute to his father Ali Farka Toure.
In the program leaflet were announced Bocar Madau, Takora (Mali), Haira Arby (Timbuktu), Mario Lucio (Cape Verde), Awa Sancho, Salif Keita (Mali), Baba Djire, Samba Toure, Imarhane, Mana Mint Chighali (Mauritania), Bassakou Kpuyate (Mali), Koudede (Niger), Vieux Farka, Desert Blue. I am not sure who of all those people showed up and who not. Anyway it was a big surprise that Habib Koite played at the last evening, that late that I already had left my 'front seat' in the sand in front of the stage.
The setting of the Essakane festival in the middle of the white sanddunes is perfect for a camel ride into the desert.... more travel advice
For lunch, dinner of a drink I went to a small restaurant just north of the artisan market. You could sit here outdoors... more travel advice
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