Be honest – have you ever thought about going on a trip to the Sahara Desert? It might be on the bucket list of a few adventurous souls, but hardly in the minds of your average holidaymaker. But, you miss out at your risk. The sprawling desert is an incredible place, and there is a lot more to it than endless sand dunes and mirages. And, it is so big it is spread across twelve countries – each with their unique personality. Here are five essential experiences that you should check out if you get the chance.
Egypt’s River Nile is pretty much the lifeline for the many towns and cities that inhabit the Sahara. And, of course, it goes close to the Sahara’s most ancient buildings – the temples of Luxor and Karnak. But, don’t stop there. Moving out, you will hit the world famous Timbuktu, and even follow the river down to the Red Sea. In Africa, the Nile is known as the giver of life – and it’s easy to see why.
When you think of a desert, you don’t think of somewhere teeming with life. But, the Sahara has some incredible creatures that call it home. They are tough little things, too, capable of surviving some of the harshest conditions on the planet. It’s well worth taking a wildlife trip one night with an expert to see if you can catch a glimpse of the locals. You might see a monitor lizard or the cute looking Fennec Fox. There are plenty of other, too. Conservationinstitute.org have a good insight on what to expect.
The bustling cities
Cities in the Sahara are a lot more advanced and comfortable than you might think. El Aaiun, for example, is a beautiful place with plenty of luxury to retreat from the harsh, dry, atmosphere of the desert surrounding it. The likes of tripadvisor.com have rundowns of the fantastic hotels available – and they might just surprise you.
The amazing oasis towns
The Sahara is so big; it shouldn’t be surprising there are so many amazing little towns there. Of course, you can’t go there expecting a raging nightlife and all mod cons, but they are well worth a visit. They are the perfect place to stay when you are planning trips out to the dunes, too. Oasis towns tend to be in the major countries, such as Morocco and Egypt. Some are quaint little places full of a sleepy atmosphere while others are far more colorful affairs. Check out Ksar Ghilane in Tunisia or Tamanrasset in Algeria.
It’s easy to write off the sheer volume of sand in the Sahara – but it needs to be seen to be believed. The size of the dunes can be mountainous, and many of them will look completely different the next day. If you get the chance, head out with an experienced guide and see it for yourself. It is a little eerie seeing a landscape change before your eyes – and it’s very much alive. You may even find yourself a meteorite if you are lucky.
Have you been to the Sahara? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!
Subrata Roy – the chairman of Sahara, one of India’s biggest businesses – has been arrested after he surrendered to the police.
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on Wednesday after he failed to appear before judges in a case of fraud.
Two Sahara firms are accused of raising 240 billion rupees ($3.9 billion) through bonds that were found to be illegal.
Market regulators say Subrata Roy failed to refund the money to millions of investors despite a court order.
He is expected to remain in custody until March 4 as the Supreme Court refused to take up his bail petition on Friday, saying it was “not urgent”.
“Mr. Roy willfully submitted himself before [the northern city of] Lucknow police. He is co-operating with all authorities,” his son, Seemanto Roy, told a press conference in Delhi.
Senior police official Habibul Hasan in Lucknow said the businessman would be produced before the magistrate soon.
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on Wednesday after he failed to appear before judges in a case of fraud
Earlier on Friday, Subrata Roy issued a statement saying he was not “absconding” from arrest after police in Lucknow said they had raided his house on Thursday, but failed to find him.
Subrata Roy said he was indeed in Lucknow but had stepped out to consult doctors about his ailing mother.
On Wednesday, angry judges ordered the businessman’s arrest after his lawyer said the Sahara chief had been unable to appear in court since his 92-year-old mother was very unwell.
Subrata Roy and his rags-to-riches life story is a household name in India.
Sahara group, worth 682 billion rupees ($11 billion), has businesses ranging from finance, housing, manufacturing, aviation and the media. It also has interests overseas – it owns New York’s landmark Plaza Hotel and London’s iconic Grosvenor House.
Subrata Roy’s group also sponsors the Indian hockey team and owns a stake in Formula One racing team, Force India.
With more than 1.1 million workers, Sahara is India’s biggest private sector employer.
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The bodies of 87 people who died of thirst after their vehicles broke down as they tried to cross the Sahara have been found by rescue workers in Niger.
Rescue worker Almoustapha Alhacen said the corpses were in a severe state of decomposition and had been partly eaten, probably by jackals.
Those found are thought to be migrant workers and their families. Most were women and children.
Niger lies on a major migrant route between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
But among those who make it across the desert, many end up working in North African countries.
According to Almoustapha Alhacen, one of the vehicles that the migrants were travelling in broke down some time after they left Arlit at the end of September or beginning of October.
About 80,000 migrants cross the Sahara desert through Niger
It appears that some of the group set out on foot, including up to 10 people who made it back to Arlit and raised the alarm, he said.
It was reported on Monday that five bodies had been found.
On Wednesday, volunteers and soldiers working in searing heat found other corpses about 6 miles from the Algerian border.
Speaking from Arlit, a centre for uranium mining north of Agadez, Almoustapha Alhacen said he had experienced the worst day of his life when he found the bodies.
They were given Muslim burials where they were found, he said.
Given that at least 48 of those found were children or teenagers, Almoustapha Alhacen said it was possible they were on their way to low-paid jobs in neighboring Algeria.
It is not clear which countries the migrants came from.
“There were no clues. My guess is that the children were madrassa [Islamic school] children, being taken to Algeria to work. That is the only explanation that I and others can find for such a large number of children having travelled together,” Almoustapha Alhacen said.
About 80,000 migrants cross the Sahara desert through Niger, according to John Ging, director of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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