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Adventures in Arboriculture

At the foot of the Plateau

ALGERIA | Thursday, 19 February 2009 | Views [887] | Comments [1]

Tassli n'ajjer - means plateau of chasms

Tassli n'ajjer - means plateau of chasms

There are trees in the middle of the Sahara, high up on the rugged Tassili N'ajjer Plateau. Not only that but they are reputed to be huge and, there are only 233 left in the wild. They are an IUCN critically endangered species, first seen by western eyes in 1863 but not verified until 1924 by Capt Duprez, a french commander at Fort Chalet at the foot of the Plateau. The fact these trees are so inaccessible has aided their survival. But these trees grow in such inhospitable conditions the fact that there are any left at all is testament to their hardiness. Getting to Algeria had been a challenge in itself, but finally at 4 am on Sunday morning I arrived at Djanet airport after almost 24 hrs of travel with precious little sleep. I often wonder 'what the hell am i doing here?'- should I not be home working and looking after my family etc, and here in the crowded arrivals room was yet another of those occasions. I started to doubt if I would be met by my guide here or would he assume I was to meet him somewhere else. Would my letters of invitation and reason for visit be okay.  

I was so pleased and relieved to be greeted by Mohammed in the arrivals lounge and we were soon speeding off in his 4x4 through the darkness to the foot of the Plateau to meet my guide - Wawa, who had helped Mohammed carry out the last tree census in 2003, Yossef our cook and Ahled the herdsman- to be honest I cant really remember much at this point, I wanted to sleep. I bedded down in the dust on some old blankets with my sleeping bag and slept well despite the cold - There is a constant wind that blows down off the vertical, crumbling 1000m face that makes up the first step of the Plateau.

Tags: algeria, djanet, international tree foundation, sahara, trees, tuareg

Comments

1

Hey Kenton, this is awesome... I've flown over the Sahara countless times on my way to and fro from my homeland in Zim, Southern Africa. I love flying over the Sahara and envy you having actually "set foot" on it and all in the name of Trees ... wonderful! Will enjoy reading up on what you experience. Anne

  Anne Feb 26, 2009 6:40 PM

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