Sahel 2005

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The Sahel sadly only seems to feature in the news when disaster strikes, which it seems to do with monotonous regularity.  On the Southern boundary of the Sahara, it is becoming slowly eroded by the seemingly unstoppable spread of the desert so that Timbuktu (Tombouctou), legendary cultural centre of the Islamic world and jumping off point from the wealth of the Niger is being slowly engulfed by sand and remains as inaccessible as ever.  

At least, that is what I was led to believe.  However, if there is one thing you learn from travel, it is never to believe all you are told, to treat maps with scepticism and guide books with the contempt they normally deserve, primarily because their authors rarely seem to have actually visited the place within the last twenty years!

The main purpose of the expedition, apart from my interest in the Bandiagara escarpment, home to the fascinating Dogon people, is to study the effects of Climate Change in the region.  To minimise our impact on the environment we decided to drive rather than fly and thus reduced our carbon emissions by  around two-thirds.

Even so we felt rather self-indulgent visiting an area supposedly on the brink of extinction without making some kind of positive contribution to the local community; that is, something in addition to our usual arbitrary contributions to the tourist industry.  For that reason we are raising sponsorship for the Joliba Trust, a UK organisation supporting sustainable development in the Dogon region.   If you wish to contribute, please follow the link to the Joliba Trust website.

Djiguibombo, Mali (83).jpg (54294 bytes)
 
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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2013