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Chad: Terkei Kisimi

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Terkei Kisimi | Chad | Africa

[Visited: November 2016]

After leaving the West Amphitheatre of Terkei, we drive further northeast. The sun is behind us, casting a warm light on the landscape. We have now entered the Ennedi region, and it seems that the views get better every metre we advance. We see rock formations on the left, on the right, and straight ahead, and the views are changing all the time. We see pillars we did not see before, and others disappear behind us. At every moment, I feel like asking for a stop to enjoy the landscape, but then realize that I don't know what lies ahead. I am happy I am not driving myself: I would have stopped every ten metres. Finally, when we reach a ridge of sand with large rock formations, we stop, and get off.

Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Desert view of Terkei Kisimi: rocky pillars in the sand

We are standing on a sand dune, and to the west, see a wide base of rocks, with tens of pillars sticking straight into the air. Right ahead of us, crowning the sand dune we are standing on, is what looks like a Gaudí cathedral. Slender spires of rock, many of which seem so fragile you could push them over, make for a spectacular cap of a deep yellow sand dune. The excitement that we have felt since the afternoon now only gets higher, and our thirst for more deeper. We continue to drive, get stuck in the sand for the first time, and drive past what likes like a huge bird head rock structure before we stop at a low rock where we set up camp. The next morning, we are out before sunrise, and walk towards the east, hoping to find rock formations as silhouettes with the sun rising behind. We walk past large formations until we reach a plain, the sun already above the horizon. The rocks take on warm colours now, as we walk back through the low bushes.

Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Rock formation with pillars standing in the desert of Terkei Kisimi

After breakfast, we are out on a long walk in discovery of rock art. In the morning, I had already noticed that most of the plump rock formations have deep holes in them. Under expert guidance, we now discover that in many larger caves, rock paintings were drawn, many thousands of years ago. They depict slender horses, seemingly flying through the air, often with horsemen on top. There are also women and children, and other animals. When we get a little higher up in one cave, it turns out that it has an exit on the other side, and there is a big bull painted on the ceiling, with more human figures on the wall as well. We could walk around here for the rest of the day, exploring all the many openings in the rock formations in search of rock paintings, but instead, we get into the Landcruisers again, and continue our journey into the Ennedi.

Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Figures painted on a rocky wall in the Terkei Kisimi region
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Late afternoon with warm light on the sand and rocks of Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Vertical rock walls standing in the desert at Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Rocky pillars in a sandy environment: typical landscape of Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Rock painting of a female figure at Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): View from a cave at Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Tens of pillars make this rock formation at Terkei Kisimi look like a cathedral
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Some of the evocative rock formations at Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Cave at Terkei Kisimi with a large bull painted on the ceiling
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Warm sunlight on one of the rock formations of Terkei Kisimi
Picture of Terkei Kisimi (Chad): Rock formations with vertical walls in the early morning at Terkei Kisimi

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