Thu January 03 2013  —  e-mail Manfred

Tidjikdja, 9 days desert.

Flag Mauritania

Sunday, December 18 2005

1 year, 4 month, 26 days

Tidjikdja, Mauritania

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 41,835km

Trekking 305km

Ferry 694km

Train 150km

Other cars 5.336km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > africa > mauritania > 20051218-tidjikdja

Atar, the internet.

Map: Journey Atar, Tidjikdja.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Spending my entire time in the Café Cyber, in Atar. With the connection going from nothing to break-down, the amount of patience I can bring to the game is being put to a serious test. Now about a month later I still cannot believe how I managed to put the 20051208-atar page online in 2 days.

Uploading (FTP) some 100 photos works but - don't attempt to download your mail or surf the net at the same time.

But in Atar I feel it'd be important to finish off with one part of the journey, before embarking on another 3 weeks in the desert, with different views-of-the-world/impressions/people-we-meet/vehicle-problems.

And then there would be Mali/new-year/the-festivals....

In hindsight, I am glad to have written the 20051208-atar story in time. Working off some backlog - never a bad idea.

We would not find an Internet Café till Segou, Mali (3 weeks after Atar). Now, already mid-Jan, in Essakane, the Tombouctou/Timbuktu-festival has started, I am finally finding time to put together the Atar/Tidjikdja/Nema....

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The next tour. Birgit, Robert, Cristian with us.

Speeding 6x6 land Rover in khet Chemchâm, Mauritania.

In the Bab Sahara Camping We get to know Birgit and Robert, Austrian Italians, from Alto Adice, South Tyrol, the part of Italy that belonged to Austria till after WWI. They speak German and nowadays identify themselves as Europeans, their identity has never been neither fully Italian nor Austrian.

So Robert and Birgit join us/we together with Cristian join them. They are Africa and desert experienced, having traveled Libya, Algeria, Morocco and West Africa for many years. We want to do the "boucle" together, the Sebkhet Chemchâm/Guelb er Richat/Ouadane/Chinguetti tour.

3 vehicles in flat desert
3 vehicles. the Sebkhet Chemchâm. a couple of films.
Landy in Sebkhet Chemcham
Land Rover
Sebkhet Chemcham, mount through window of Landy
through the window.
Sebkhet Chemcham, mount and my shadow
my shadow.

Evening trees sunset
Sunset, 1st day near Tazazmout.

So we are on the road/piste, search for varans and meet interesting and friendly people.

Hasna has picked up the local Hassaniya language quickly so real conversation is possible sometimes ...

And - Sunsets are still nice.

varan caught
He was too slow.
Invite for tea
Tea ceremony. Lots of flies at Yetmah's.

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Africa, the cradle of mankind. Stone age has begun here earlier then anywhere else, some speak of 850.000 years ago.

The desert - once a rainforest with its resources of food in plentiful, was inhabited for most of the time.

Today's local people find the relicts - bifaces (Faustkeile), arrow heads, axes, grinding stones ... as the sand gets blown away and the heavier (stony) items are being revealed, sometimes for the first time.

These days not all is being sold to tourists, then smuggled out of the country, some is being shown in museums of sorts. Very interesting indeed.

His museum
Yaskem, museum's director.
lots of bifaces
in El Beyedh,
museum's director
knows his stuff.

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Guelb er Richat.

Satpic Guelb er Richat
Guelb er Richat. Probably a copyright on this...

Looks impressive from space and on maps, its vastness of some 50km however does not give the anticipated experience when driving through it.

Nonetheless we enjoyed the days in space/on the moon/in the desert.

Stony is our path most of the way. "All I want to do is, bring him back save, to Europe." Cristian, re his Mitsubishi.

And I have similar "soucis", feel pity for my Land Rover.

Only the (Toyota) Land Cruiser, with its big wheels seems to take it all without much suffering.

"I did journeys (with ny Cruiser) in Africa, where I did not touch my tools box a single time". Robert.


Guelb er Richat, getting there
Guelb er Richat. Getting there is the thing.
Guelb er Richat, Hasna on the edge
Guelb er Richat. The thing is too big.

Guelb er Richat, road
Guelb er Richat. stony.
Guelb er Richat, road
Guelb er Richat. down look.
Guelb er Richat, road
Guelb er Richat. stony stony.

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Out of Guelb er Richat into Ouadane and further to Chinguetti.

Lots of dune driving in between.

Chiguetti, xx holiest city in Islam (7th they say, after many [more then 7]) has a library, or a few. We saw one. Its treasures are old and Ahmad Al Mahmoud Ben Chinguetti is good for a funny presentation.

And Hasna is his sister, as in so many places in Arabia United.

Holding court in his museum
Ahmad Al Mahmoud Ben Chinguetti holding court in his yard.
Inside the lbrary, searching for rarities
Looking for real treasures.
Hasna and
Old stuff.
Hasna  reading a marroage certificat
Read this marriage certificate! Everything is on there.

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On our own down to Tidjikdja.

We leave the friends as they make their way back to Atar this afternoon (14th), Cristian to return to Switzerland in due time to continue his studies in political science, and Birgit and Robert to make travel arrangements/bookings, the latter we intend to remeet in Tidjikdja 4/5 days down the road.

Hasna and I, we are looking forward to spending a couple of days on our own.

6x6 Land Rover on big rock.

We think we could do the roughly 400km of the Chinguetti-Tidjikdja route ourselves, solely equipped with Rob's Thuraya phone number. They would not be far away....

He's got our Iridium number in case something happens to them.

Hasna and boys and baby goats
These were too small, and the price of the adults too high.

So we are on our way, from 15th of Dec all alone.

We would not meet another vehicle for 2 days.

The terrain is difficult at least the first two days.

Navigation is one thing (there's a GPS on board), finding a track that goes our direction sometimes impossible. And many kilometres we just follow the needle on the compass (the GPS).

Over dunes and edges and cliffs and rocks and stones whatever comes our way. Oh, I understand why there's no path/track.

But we have the experience of a few month navigating and driving different terrains in the desert on our side. Relaxed and never fearful we go about the whole thing.

Roads stony, steep
Roads stony.
Roads stony, steep
How did that happen? Film.
Roads stony, steep
Desert, sand and few tracks.

And - while - Hasna is looking for the meat. A goat, or a lamp would do (her opinion). What would we do with an entire goat? (my opinion). She would as well slaughter the animal herself. No problem. La femme sauvage.

- I find time to play with the camera's settings. Having got hooked by the Velvia Film simulation, it takes a while to get off that trip...

Dunes light
Light those dunes and the background and .......
Bedouin boy, where we camped one night.
little girl
a little girl.
another boy.
Bedouin camp
The Bedouin camp next door. They slaughtered a goat for us.
Sunset colours
Sunset colours.

Bedouin mother and girl in tent
Mother and girl.
Bedouin mother and girl in tent
What a look.

These people are not responsible for the colours, or the sunset, but a fantastic goats cous-cous Mauritanian desert style.

A 3-month old goat is slaughtered because we have arrived, or because it is Friday, or because some other people from the Mauritanian anti-"crique" team (locust detection and destruction force) camp near by as well.

Different from the Moroccan cous-cous royal that I know very well and love by now, it is truly delicious and comes totally unexpected (we have not found the meat yet). The mill/grain/whatevercouscous used is much larger and softer. Delicious. Mhmmmm.

Just a shame I spend all the time that evening under the vehicle (before the lights go out/paranoia!?), inside (after) trying to get the fridge working again (no success/frustration is large). A fuse would go again and again/too much dust and rattling.

Paris Dakar, rally car wreck
Paris Dakar rally/what year?.
Paris Dakar, rally car wreck, Hasna inside
Attracting attention, earlier in the day.

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Before Rashid and after.

Dunes in the Oued
Dunes at the edge of the Oued.
ms in Oued
There he smiles, we nearly made it.

Rashid, the old town, uninhabited, the girl's name is Fatima.
Fatima's walking over, the oasis project.

On 17th of Dec. we reach the oued, valley, river bed, must be the Tidjikdja Oued, dry at this time of the year, but well flooded at other times. River beds have oasises attached and are well populated areas.

Driving as well as navigation is easy from here.

Later in the afternoon we reach Rashid the first town of any size since Atar. On one side of the valley is the old town/just ruins today/uninhabited/no UNESCO patronage (yet?why?). The other side new, with all/schools/hospitals/mosques.

Old town Rashid
Rashid, the last one moved out just before 1990.
Rashid old town and valley
Rashid, the valley (Oued) we came along in the back.

We reach Tidjikdja on the 18th, Robert and Birgit make it there on the same day, Robert helps me get my fridge working, "an Engle does not break," and we leave all together for Nema the next day, the 19th of Dec 2005, my birthday.

I just turned 41.

Stay tuned/There's lots more that I know (now that I write this)/You don't (yet).

But one story after the other.

You know, they're trailing behind. THE STORIES; BEHIND THE REAL THING: > journey > africa > mauritania > 20051218-tidjikdja

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