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Chad: Tokou wells

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Tokou wells | Chad | Africa

[Visited: November 2016]

Driving through the mesmerizing landscape of Ennedi, with an abundance of rock formations, we eventually reach a shady spot at the foot of rock formations. To our surprise, a small group of foreigners leaves just as we arrive, here, in the middle of nowhere. We see nomads with their cattle, and quickly realize that there are wells dug into the sand. Their goats, donkeys and horses all gather around the holes in the ground, while the nomads fill their water bags. Before getting off the car, our guide tells us to be very cautious taking pictures: nomads apparently are quite camera-shy. When we get closer to the furthest well, we tread carefully while approaching the colourful nomads.

Picture of Tokou wells (Chad): Nomads at the self-dug water wells of Tokou

The hole in the sand looks precarious and shallow, we greet the women, and continue to walk into the small canyon ahead. On both sides, vertical rocky walls keep much of the sunlight out, and on one side, a sand dune is resting against the canyon wall. Tiny trees look very fragile in this environment with little water. At the end of the canyon, we see a bridge-like rock formation, and reach an open plain where the sun burns on our heads. We walk around a little bit, enjoying the views, before we head back into the canyon leading to the wells of Tokou. The sun is getting higher, and there is little shade left in the narrow canyon.

Picture of Tokou wells (Chad): Canyon with vertical rock walls near the wells of Tokou

When we come back to the first well, the nomads are still there, but busy preparing to get their animals together and leave. Some of them now laugh at us. A small group of donkeys is waiting in the shade of the rocks, while two big horses and a small one get close to the well. One of them is white, the other brown with blonde manes; both are beautiful. They come close to a metal water container, and drink. They must surely have a long, dry way ahead in the afternoon, to wherever they are heading. We seek shelter under a tree, and watch the herdsmen lead their cattle away from the wells. We follow suit, and pass them a little further, enveloped in a cloud of dust, on their way to, well, we have no idea.

Picture of Tokou wells (Chad): Canyon with vertical rock walls, sand and trees near the wells of Tokou
Picture of Tokou wells (Chad): Vertical rock walls near the wells of Tokou
Picture of Tokou wells (Chad): Horse with blonde manes staring at the photographer near a well at Tokou

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