"Aguenat and Mount Tigrine" Tamanrasset Travelogue by janiebaxter
Tamanrasset Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 63 photos
As well as Redha my guide, translator, general organiser and “bodyguard” there was Moulud, our driver, cook and desert boss and Buhafs our tea maker, chech fixer, fire maker and bread baker........and of course me, THE tourist. Redha had his chech (head cover) fitted by Moulud and Buhafs in the style of the traditional Tuareg “tagelmoust” which is very dark blue and covers most of the face.
I soon abandoned my sunhat for the chech which was much more effective for keeping the head cool and the sun off. Nice colour too! The chech has more uses than just protection from the sun. The Tuaregs use it to cover the mouth and it can also be used to get water from the ground when there is no rope. And it disguises the fact your hair has not been washed for days!
Our first stop was not far from Tamanrasset – Aguenat. The first view of the prehistoric rock art of the area which, date back as far as 12000 years ago - carvings of various animals mixed with symbols, a very early form of writing, which started to appear in the carvings at the same time as camels did. This rock art is found in a wide area of the Southern Sahara.
Shortly after, we left the road for the "piste" and did not see the road again until our return to Tamanrasset.
We collected wood for the evening fire, which was stored on the roof while we searched for somewhere to camp for the night.
It is important not to choose somewhere too exposed because of the wind and never in a dry river bed in case rain in the mountains causes flash floods.
Our chosen spot looked perfect to me! I asked the location but was told it doesn’t have a name – the nearest place is Mount Tigrine.
Our “home” for the next few days was a large straw mat. We had no tents, and slept under the stars on thin foam mattresses. I was told I could have half a litre of water per day for washing – thank goodness for wet wipes!
While I enjoyed a beer, dinner was cooked on the fire – mutton with a vegetable sauce, Harissa, and bread.
We watched the sunset and later the moon rise over the dunes and failed to count the vast number of stars. The silence was incredible – just nothing, not a sound until the wind started. Small gusts blew sand over me at regular intervals but it was soft and clean! I couldn’t say I had the best night’s sleep, with the sand and slight snoring on 2 sides but I wouldn’t have chosen to be anywhere else!
Not a natural morning person, I was surprised to find myself happily awake just before the sun rose. Soon the fire was lit and after coffee and breakfast we set off towards Mertoutek, and the Tefedest mountains.
We stopped to talk to 2 nomad boys who were taking some camels and goats to a village 100km away.
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