through the Aïr Mountains by foot or camelback
Agadez - Azel - Dabaga
Leaving Agadez in 4WD vehicles, we follow
the Telwa Oued and go through Azel, a charming village of settled Tuareg farmers
and herdsmen. Arid moonscapes and emerald-green oasis, volcanic pillars and
well-tended gardens, light-footed gazelles and flowering acacia trees: on this
stretch of track, contrasts and surprises abound, to the unending delight of
the traveller. In Elméki, Tuaregs still extract tin from ancient cassiterite
Anou Mekkerene - Tchintoulous -
Zagado valley - Kogo
The track zigzags through small, chaotic valleys, crosses the
Anou Mekkerene Oued and follows the Zilâlet Oued to Tchintoulous, a village
nestled at the foot of the haughty Aguerâguer. Watch for gazelles in the
Zagado Valley that leads us to Kogo.
The walking tour with pack camels starts from the nomadic campground
of Kogo, under the guidance of Tuareg camelherds.
An ever-widening valley leads us to the desert shore along a
path skirting huge marble mountains. At Takarit, we start climbing toward Tchi-n-Taboûrak
for a magical birds eye view on Arakao, a claw-shaped crater that gathers
the desert sand through a large breach in its wall. Below our perch, dark, jagged
rock frames the gold crescent of a giant dune. An unforgettable night under
the desert stars awaits you there.
We leave Arakao through its desert door, making our way through high sand ridges.
After crossing the Issaouane Oued, we walk on to Illekane. Blue and white marble
mountains sprout out of the sand. The giant gold, silver and pink dunes nurture
delicate flowers and capture light tracks that hint of a secret life amazingly
well adapted to its harsh environment. Marble walls bar the way ahead, forcing
us take a roundabout path; the colors of the cliffs change, gazelles sprint
away at our approach. At midday, we eat and rest in the merciful shadow of a
After admiring the golden-brown sands of Izane, we turn north toward Adrar Chiriet,
one of the most magnificent sites of the Sahara. We must climb several high
ridges to discover the multicolored dunes rushing up against a dark volcanic
outcrop fantastically eroded by blowing sand.
We follow the Ifiniyane Oued, skirting dunes of many colors.
Our path up, down and around sand slopes finally leads us to a well.
Near Tezirzek Well, a hill covered with rock paintings evokes the rich fauna
that roamed the Ténéré when the desert still bloomed. All
those species have disappeared, along with the cultures whose life depended
There, our drivers are waiting with their 4WDs. The rest of the journey is done
by car, but short walks can be arranged on request.
Tezirzek - Iférouane
After this journey to the kingdom of sand and
silence, we reenter the world of the living through Iférouane. This rather
large lowland oasis dotted with well-tended, shadowy gardens is our meeting
place with traditional metalsmiths and craftsmen.
Iférouane - Assodé
South of Iférouane, the sand-covered track runs through
wide valleys; this is the heart of the Aïr.
Tales of the flourishing past of'Assodé abound. The ancient capital of
the Aïr is now a ghost town where only a few walls still stand, but pottery
shards strewn all over the site testify to its once thriving economy.
Bright green against the ochre expanse of sand, the Timia Oasis offers a striking
contrast to the somber lava range that surrounds it. Kel Oui farmers still water
their gardens with the wooden pulleys used by their ancestors. They raise corn,
wheat, a wide variety of vegetables, even grapes. Downstream from Timia, a lovely
waterfall cascades through a series of basins toward the guelta.
Elméki - Dabaga
- Azel - Agadez
We pick up the Agadez road right after passing through
Kreb-Kreb; gazelles sometime use it too. Our path skirts rock outcrops, crosses
oueds, passes traditional wells where Tuaregs gather with their livestock. Elméki,
Dabaga, Azel mark the return journey to Agadez.
PRICE per person for a party of seven or more starting
from Agadez (pack camels only)
14 days: 900 Euros (5,900 FF)
13 days: 870 Euros (5,700 FF)
12 days: 840 Euros (5,500 FF)
Expédition au départ d'Agadez - Expédition en 14 jours = 900 Euros (5.900 FF) par personne
- Expédition en 13 jours = 870 Euros (5.700 FF) "
- Expédition en 12 jours = 840 Euros (5.500 FF) "
* 4WD vehicles and fuel
* drivers, guide and cook
* full board, cookware, tableware and one foam mattress per person
* pack camels
* local taxes on desert travel and required route approval
Prices do not include: * drinks and personal expenses
* food and lodging in Agadez
* airplane tickets and airport taxes
* travel insurance (last-minute cancellation, lost luggage, emergency return
for health reasons) * camels used to ride (suppl. 600 FF per person, one camel for two people).
NOTE: these prices apply to the 2002/2003 season, save
for an abnormal rise in local prices.
DESERT TRAVEL IS NEVER DULL. EXPECT