Now this looks like a desert, the Grand Erg Oriental
The Grand Erg Oriental (English: 'Great Eastern Sand Sea') is a large erg or "field of sand dunes", or dune field, in the Sahara Desert. Situated for the most part in Saharan lowlands of northeast Algeria, the Grand Erg Oriental covers an area some 600 km wide by 200 km north to south. The erg's northeastern edge spills over into neighbouring Tunisia. (According to Wikipedia). We travel through two ecoregions; mainly the Sahara Desert ecoregion and the West Saharan Montane Xeric Woodland ecoregion as we drive across the Tassili n'Ajjer Plateau, and the Ahaggar Mountains.
A story about my overland trip from London to Johannesburg, Southbound, with the layover in Southern Africa, and back to London covered elsewhere. The first chapter.
EO London to Johannesburg departure 3 Feb 1979
On board WBH 646S in orange
I was one of the Expedition Leaders/Drivers, L/D for an Encounter Overland trip from London to Johannesburg in South Africa. The trip left London on Saturday 3rd February 1979 and was planned to take 16 weeks. At the time Encounter Overland operated a single staff member with an expedition team of about 20 people. Otherwise known passengers, customers, punters, or officially Expedition Members, EMs. Whatever they are called they are most definitely not passengers. Having only one staff member ensures that the L/D has to fully engage with the Expedition Team and not able to bump along with with another staff member. Another advantage of course is that there is an additional seat to sell. Our trip was something different from that norm, just as well.
Trans Kalahari Inn
We arrived at reception to a warm welcome. Our chalet was number five, just at the end of the terrace.
After the back seat was emptied of all our clutter we went to open the canopy for our luggage. However, as much as we tried to jiggle the keys in the same way as Henry had locked it, we could not get in. It could wait until later.
The end of the road, at least for our Safari
First thing to remember, is that it could have been worse. A lot worse.
We waved to the Trans Kalahari Inn as we drove past to start the day again. We didn't see the troop of Baboons on the road from the airport today. However, we soon came upon a big hangar type structure straddling the road, but without doors at either end.
The structure is there just to provide shade for the police whilst they check your papers, search your car or truck, or, as happened to us, just wave you through with the merest wave or nod, provided you stop at the stop sign.
Just a few more miles and we were driving through Windhoek. The capital city with a population of less than 500,000, but with all the normal accoutrements of speed cameras, speed humps, policemen, traffic lights, roundabouts, and of course, traffic. Through into the mix, four way stops and three way stops, very rare in the UK. We are not disciplined enough to make those work. Straight into the centre of the capital heading for the B1 and the road south. Shops, pedestrians, traffic, and taxis everywhere. We made a wrong turn with signs often worn out and right at the junction, too late for a change of lane. No matter, a quick turn arround had us back on route. Not really very difficult, in on the B6, Sam Nujoma Drive, out on the B1, or Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue. The satnav was on but had yet to find our next location. So we set it to Rehoboth to get us in the right direction. Not so much as to tell us the way to go, as there is not a lot of choise outside the capital, but to record where we were going and at what time. We could then link the photo time to the position of the GPS satnav to geolocate the photos.