Salt Caravan

While driving east out of Agadez one November day, we came across some Tuareg traders setting out on their annual trek across the Sahara to the small town of Fachi. A small handful of men undertake the arduous 29 day journey with camel herds reaching into the hundreds. Loaded on the backs of the camelsContinue reading “Salt Caravan”

Tuareg Dating

At the annual Cure Salée in July, the Tuareg and Wodaabe gather at In-Gall near Agadez for a month of camel racing and speed dating before the nomadic groups splinter off again into the dusty expanses of the Sahara and Sahel. One evening, the Tuareg gathered for the “dating wheel” in an empty expanse nearContinue reading “Tuareg Dating”

Land Nomads

Traveling near Agadez in July brings you across many caravans of people moving their cattle, sheep, goat, and camel herds across the greening desert. The herders take advantage of the shallow lakes produced by the seasonal rains that fall from April to August. Both people and animals congregate around the watering holes to quench theirContinue reading “Land Nomads”

Camel Racing

The Shiriken, or camel festival, takes place every Spring in Akoubounou, Niger – a small town near Abalak in the western part of the country. Tuaregs from the region gather for horse and camel racing, tende music and dancing, Tuareg blues under the stars, and people watching. Community leaders established the festival as a wayContinue reading “Camel Racing”

Men Who Wear the Veil

During my recent trip to the Aïr Mountains of northern Niger, Tuareg musicians welcomed us to Timia, an isolated oasis town nestled between steep mountains. According to Tuareg custom, men begin “wearing the veil” at age 18 to protect themselves from evil djinns, or spirits, that enter the body through the mouth. Conversely, a woman’sContinue reading “Men Who Wear the Veil”