Sahara

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Trip to Tunisia with Exodus ("TMU"), walking in the Sahara.


November 2012 - hard to imagine it's winter in the real world when we're walking through the Tunisian Sahara. Temperatures would have been 29°C in the hypothetical shade - we had visited during an unseasonal heatwave.

Group of 17 lovely people - from UK, Korea, and Poland. We had an astronomer, a fiction writer, and plenty of engineers and business-people.

Day 1: Early morning flight from Tunis to Djerba, drive in bus to Douz, lunch at restaurant with the guinea-pigs and tortoises, then meet two of the camels.

Click any picture to see it full-size, or to view a panorama.

An englishman abroad.
An englishman abroad.

Natasha takes-over the steering
Natasha takes-over the steering

Dunes
Dunes

Dunes
Dunes

Walking with the whole group
Walking with the whole group

The group
The group

Iconic image of Muhammed striking-out across the Sahara
Iconic image of Muhammed striking-out across the Sahara

High noon in the desert
High noon in the desert

Snake camp (panorama).  I was reading by torchlight and looked over to see a shadow nearby which turned out to be a viper.
Snake camp (panorama). I was reading by torchlight and looked over to see a shadow nearby which turned out to be a viper.

Camels loaded up with tents, sleeping mats, and blankets (and musical instruments on top) ready to go.
Camels loaded up with tents, sleeping mats, and blankets (and musical instruments on top) ready to go.

Me, with hiking clothes. The courier-bag didn
Me, with hiking clothes. The courier-bag didn't actually work so well - carrying 3l of water with it meant aching shoulders by the evening.

The desert, yellow in the light of sunrise
The desert, yellow in the light of sunrise

All this 'sand' is actually silica dust (technically silt due to its particle size), many times finer than very fine sand

Sunset over the desert
Sunset over the desert

Singing, dancing, and drums around the campfire
Singing, dancing, and drums around the campfire

Video of fire

Camels waiting at campsite in the morning
Camels waiting at campsite in the morning

There were lots of flies, although they didn
There were lots of flies, although they didn't bite.

Setting-off in the morning.
Setting-off in the morning.

Water-stop at a well
Water-stop at a well

Sahara (panorama)
Sahara (panorama)

The group disappearing off into the distance while we wait for some slower people.  This splitting-up of the group was mostly fixed by day 3, but led to a few people being left on their own in the desert for a while and having to follow tracks.
The group disappearing off into the distance while we wait for some slower people. This splitting-up of the group was mostly fixed by day 3, but led to a few people being left on their own in the desert for a while and having to follow tracks.

An area of woodland ;)
An area of woodland ;)

The group
The group

High noon
High noon

Walking off the big dunes
Walking off the big dunes

Desert horizons
Desert horizons

The star-club camp at sunset. Most people are sleeping out in the open, with only a mat, blanket, and sleeping-bag.
The star-club camp at sunset. Most people are sleeping out in the open, with only a mat, blanket, and sleeping-bag.

Sunset over the peoples
Sunset over the peoples' beds

Quick panorama around one of the brief water-breaks
Quick panorama around one of the brief water-breaks

Natasha following tracks
Natasha following tracks

Wind-whipped dunes.  The dust storm here was what damaged most peoples
Wind-whipped dunes. The dust storm here was what damaged most peoples' cameras.

Blowing sand (video)

Panorama around the high dune
Panorama around the high dune

Blowing sand 2 (video)

Surf
Surf's up! Dust blown around the dunes

Waves over the sand

Into the dust storm
Into the dust storm

Scorpion camp.  Winds were strong, and tents needed to be weighted-down with rocks.
Scorpion camp. Winds were strong, and tents needed to be weighted-down with rocks.

Scorpion camp at sunset.
Scorpion camp at sunset.

Scorpion tracks.  This one walked up to Anna
Scorpion tracks. This one walked up to Anna's sleeping-bag (out in the open), turned around and walked around her, arrived at my sleeping bag, walked around that, then left in a different direction.

Iconic image of camel
Iconic image of camel's silhouette at sunset

Orion constellation (5 second exposure with mini-tripod)
Orion constellation (5 second exposure with mini-tripod)

After the high winds, the weather had changed.  The first clouds of the journey.
After the high winds, the weather had changed. The first clouds of the journey.

Tracks - a small beetle crossing where a lizard had walked?
Tracks - a small beetle crossing where a lizard had walked?

Sunrise
Sunrise

Tracks - a snake chasing a mouse, fighting with it, and both animals continuing the chase off the right of the picture.  A few metres later they met a tethered camel, and we can
Tracks - a snake chasing a mouse, fighting with it, and both animals continuing the chase off the right of the picture. A few metres later they met a tethered camel, and we can't see what happened next.

Packing up camp
Packing up camp

My name being written in arabic in the sand (video)

Rockier ground was much easier to walk on (panorama)
Rockier ground was much easier to walk on (panorama)

The camel train
The camel train

Walking with the camel train (video)

Iconic image of bedouin resting with his camels
Iconic image of bedouin resting with his camels

Lizard.  They leave tracks with tiny handprints each side
Lizard. They leave tracks with tiny handprints each side

Roman fort, which was later the site of a France/Germany battle in WW2.  Dunes have piled-up to the height of one wall, and fill all the rooms.  The people visible here are composing a desert-themed song to the tune of Abba.
Roman fort, which was later the site of a France/Germany battle in WW2. Dunes have piled-up to the height of one wall, and fill all the rooms. The people visible here are composing a desert-themed song to the tune of Abba.

Camels have a habit of wandering-off in thr night, even with legs hobbled.
Camels have a habit of wandering-off in thr night, even with legs hobbled.

Camel-riding
Camel-riding

Tracey, Lauren, and Natasha riding (video)

Camel-riding. Julian, me, and Anna.
Camel-riding. Julian, me, and Anna.

Camel-riding
Camel-riding

Fiona on camel, and back of Hyun Jin Yoo
Fiona on camel, and back of Hyun Jin Yoo

Fiona, Yoo, and Mike riding (video)

Hilary riding (video)

Pose for a portrait!
Pose for a portrait!

Final camp
Final camp

Camel relaxing in the evening (video)

Oasis.  Pool was as warm as a bath, and slightly sulphurous.
Oasis. Pool was as warm as a bath, and slightly sulphurous.

Convoy of 3 Land-cruisers to get back to Djerba on the final day
Convoy of 3 Land-cruisers to get back to Djerba on the final day

Follow these links to download images or video.

Download original copies of all these images (not video) as a .zip file: OJW_sahara.zip (117MB)