We drive further north in our exploration of the Ennedi, and make a short stopover in the town of Fada. It turns out to be a friendly town, in which I would have loved to spend more time, but we need to continue further north. Strangely enough, there are short stretches of asphalt here, which comes a delusion: driving off road has proven to bring us even closer to the wild landscapes we drive through. The landscape has been dry ever since we left N'Djamena, and we have seen sand dunes on our way here. But now, we are about to enter classic desert terrain. We drive over sand dunes, and when we ask the driver if we will see more sand, he grins. A short break under one of the few trees allows us a view of higher sand dunes ahead.
From here, it is a short drive to deep orange sand dunes, which get higher and higher. They build around us, on our left and right, and in the distance, we see oddly shaped mountains: steep peaks, table mountains: dramatic shapes floating on the orange sea of sand. Exactly when I am secretly wishing we could get off, our car gets stuck in the deep, soft sand. I quickly jump out, and run up one of the dunes. Apart from giving me a short training for my legs, it also allows me sweeping views of the landscape. It seems like enormous waves of sand are frozen in time, with the mountains like caps above them. The wind is constantly moving the grains of sand, the shapes of the dunes are slowly changing. I am happy to see that despite the efforts of the assistants, our car is still stuck: it prolongs my enjoyment of this quintessential desert landscape.
We are in the depression of Mourdi, and when we get going again, the drivers take great fun in attacking the endless succession of sand dunes. Of course, we get stuck again, several times: it now becomes clearer than ever before why we are here with a convoy. Then, as a real surprise, after driving for hours without seeing a person, a caravan of camels shows up from behind one of the sand dunes. Some of them have leather bags, others have blue plastic bags. The camels are tied together, and the herdsmen wrapped in cloth to cover their faces from the sun and sand. We get off, and have short chats with the herdsmen: they are on an annual journey for more than two weeks with a load of dates and salt. Caravans like this have been crossing the Sahara for centuries, and apart from the plastic, they did not look much different back then. Watching them slowly march along, towards the horizon, touches me deeply.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Eyo demi (Chad). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Eyo demi.
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