After watching sunset from the top of a sand dune, sleeping at the foot of the same, and watching the sun rise from the same dune, there is time for a walk in the morning in the desert landscape. Walking in the desert always brings surprises: what looks like sand deposited haphazardly in the emptiness of endless plains, turns out to hide small bushes, many insects and other animals living in and around the sand. Some of us find stones once used as spearpoints. The ribbed sand, constantly reshaped by the wind, and the sun playing around the sharply defined sides of the dunes, changing the colours: it is just not true that the desert is dead. Instead, it is always in flux, always alive, always fascinating to watch once you develop the eye for it.
We drive past sand dunes, over sand dunes, park near sand dunes for a break, and then, there is more sand, stretching to the horizon, and beyond. The driving gets tough: deep sand alternating with stretches of treacherous rocky surface, and the drivers constantly shift gears, steer the vehicles around all kinds of obstacles, while we watch in admiration, and look at the landscape passing by, until we believe that this will go on forever. After every curve, there is another sand dune, another stretch of rocks, only to find more sand dunes. The excitement of racing up the dunes, the sensation of reaching the top, and plunging down on the other side: we sometimes feel like kids in an amusement park. Then, tabular mountains appear at the horizon, and the landscape starts to change a little. We get to deeper sand, get stuck, and have to dig and push cars out of it.
When we reach our lunch spot, I see a smaller tabular mountain which rises straight up from the desert floor, and want to find out if it can be climbed. After walking through a white-crusted plain of sand, I find a way to climb from the backside, and once up, I feel exhilarated by the awe-inspiring views on all sides. In the distance, the big mountains we have just passed, to another side, massive sand dunes on which camels look like minuscule dots on an empty sheet of paper. Driving further, we meet a car with a lepra patient: the nearest hospital is a two-day drive away. We stand still on a sand dune, and overlook a battlefield in the Chad-Libyan conflict: tanks scattered around everywhere, almost as if they were abandoned the day before. Here and there, carcasses of vehicles who did not survive driving through this hostile environment. We now start seeing vehicles overloaded with people, which we have not seen for almost a week: we are slowly getting closer to the inhabited world. At the end of the day, we camp in a small valley between sand dunes where we the sunset makes for the last spectacle of the day.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Koraa (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 Koraa.
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