07 December 2012

Salt caravans and the "Hole of Mosquitoes"

Salt caravans pass each other in the enormous plain of the Ténéré Desert. A year of good rains to the south made unusually large numbers of camels healthy enough for the two month-long round trip to the oasis of Bilma, where local Tuareg traders buy salt to sell in Southern Niger and Northern Nigeria. The caravan in the foreground is on its way out of the desert. Each camel is loaded with 200kg of salt, while the one in the background is on its way to Fachi, with loads of fodder and foodstuffs for the return trip.
From a photo gallery at The Telegraph highlighting images from a new book, Desert Air by George Steinmetz.  Note also this striking image:

Volcanic crater of Wau al Namus, (Wau means hole, so Wau al Namus is "hole of mosquitoes").This massive (and apparently dormant) volcano can be easily be seen in satellite views of Southern Libya, as a large black smear in the wind-scoured sands of the Sahara. The inner crater is bordered by a chain of small salt lakes. Outside the outer rim of the crater are small black dunes of windblown volcanic residue.

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