Thursday 4th April
The storm blew through last night with the worst of the wind, and therefore sand, dying down as predicted. As things eased I pitched my tent in an area nicely protected by several cars and had a great nights sleep. This morning we have woken to still air, the sun is up and the temperature is already beginning to rise.
Today was all off-road through rough desert trails, soft sand and stony valley floors. It is clear to see where the rivers at times flow with great power, however there is no water and the ground is dusty dry. Apparently the flood waters flow down from the mountains at certain times of year with huge force. A river crossing we needed today was checked several times through the night to ensure that all was well. Because of where the flood waters start there is no easy way of predicting there arrival which must be terrifying at times for the locals with their delicate homes built right on the edge.
Lunch was at an authentic oasis in the middle of the desert. Soft sand on the approach and palm trees to provide shade.
Several times during the drive we saw individuals walking in the middle of nowhere. No houses, other people or animals in sight. It seemed they were just out for a stroll! One of the most impressive figures was a gentlemen dressed totally in blue – a Tuarge nomad. There were also wild camels to see along the way.
A few minor dramas during the day; Bill busted a shock and dislocated a spring. Both fixed. Several punctures, it seems the Pete may be looking at 6 new tyres and another shattered rear window – Phil’s this time.
After a long 8 hours behind the wheel we approached the Erg Chebbi dunes, mountains of soft golden sand that can be seen from miles away. At the foot of the dunes is the most welcome oasis of Auberge Du Sud. An amazing hotel in the form of a colonial fort. We had planned on camping, but were advised that as we were here for two nights a room would be a better option.
Dinner in the hotel was a simple, but wonderful affair, after which an early night on a real bed.
So tomorrow is a rest day. Due to the mechanical issues that need to be sorted there will be no driving, just a lazy day. Back on the road again Saturday.
A few final points ….
I wasn’t on a horse, with or without a name, but it was great to be out of the rain – and snow.