Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Transportation Tips by JLBG
Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Transportation: 3 reviews and 5 photos
As soon as the camel feels that you are ready (even if you actually are not), he unfolds abruptly his hind legs and throws you ahead. This is when pushing on the camel’s neck with the feet and grabbing the camel’s hair with one hand will help! As soon as you have found a new equilibrium, the camel will unfold his front legs, equally abruptly, and throw you backwards! This is the most dangerous part of mounting. Without help, the hazard of being kicked out as by a catapult is high! This is when the helps of a cameleer will be the most useful!
Once you are standing on the standing camel, you are fit and everything should run smoothly, given that the camel will not gallop, for any reason, but walk quietly. If the camel is well trained and keeps a gentle pace, riding is not a problem at all. You have just to seize and keep in your hand the single bridle, a rope attached to a ring fit in the camel nose, named "arzema" in Tamashek. This is what will allow to slow the camel or to drive him right or left.
The next critical step will be to dismount from the camel. The camel’s knees are delicate and you must select a spot as stoneless as possible! Anyway, a stoneless spot is also better for you as you are bare feet! Even more than for mounting, you will need help to dismount. The process is exactly the same, reverse, than for mounting. The camel will first fold it front legs : push on the neck with your feet and grab the bump hair. Then he let his back fall as he folds his hind legs and you are thrown backwards.
Djanet airport, 1974
In 1974, Djanet airport was a single sand runway enclosed by wires to prevent any cattle to walk into. There was no building but only three zeribas made of reeds. I know that there is now a small airport but as far as I know, the runway has remained the same. Thanks to those who will give an update for this tip!
Riding a camel is not performed in the same way everywhere in the world. The following applies to the Sahara and to the Tuaregs way of riding.
As the camel neck is smooth, trekking shoes should be avoid and the best advice is to remain bare feet. After a few days, for those that might have caught a sun-stroke on the upper part of the feet, socks are possible.
Unless you have a good practice of camel riding, you will always need some help from a cameleer. First, you must rise high one leg to get astride on the saddle. I have described elsewhere the Nigerian saddle with its front topped by the Agadez cross and its back. Pierre, our guide, warned us “do not grasp at the front and do not lean on the back. They are here only to make the saddle beautiful”! The saddle is fit before the hump, on the withers‡ of the camel.
Second, you will put FIRMLY (important, see below) your feet on the camel’s neck, one behind the other. A prehensile toe is desirable to grasp the cords of the neck. Third, you will grab FIRMLY (important, see below) the tuft of hair standing on top of the camel’s hump. Ready?
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