Following on from last weeks instalment about our adventures in September 2004, this weeks sees us entering the Sahara Desert
After 6 days we had finally settled into a routine, over breakfast in our wild camp in the morning we would have a quick briefing of our journey for the day. Our leader would give us a series of map co-ordinates ending in a rendezvous point in the evening, it was up to us to decide when we left and how long we took.
There was one occasion when he made me highlight one particular co-ordinate and told me he couldn’t guarantee our safety if we missed this turn off from the track, the village beyond it was basically dangerous and we should not be going through it. At that very moment my navigation skills went from adequate to expert.
The ‘roads’, if you could call them that, were at times barely passable and were literally crumbling as we drove across them. We learned to drive dead slow through the tiny villages as kids would run alongside the road calling for pens or sweets and would throw stones if we drove to fast.
If you drove too slowly though you ran the risk of getting an uninvited hitchhiker jumping on the roof to catch a ride or check out what you had in the boxes on the roof rack! Everything, even our water tap, had a padlock on it.
Entering the Sahara at the end of day 6 was an experience that will stay with me forever it was so hot (50C) and so dry that it literally zapped every drop of moisture out of you, but it was breathtakingly stunning to look at and we needed to have one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when we start to doubt the reality of what we saw. We spent two full days playing in the sands of the desert, learning off-roading skills getting stuck on the top of huge sand dunes and really putting our car through it’s paces.
Those few days in the Sahara was a once in a lifetime experience that will stay with me forever.