Crossing The Sahara



Here is some advice to people who want to cross the Sahara Desert. Read the texts and answer the questions.



Scorpions are common in the Sahara. They like cool,dark places,such as the inside of an empty shoe. They are also active at night: if you have a comfortable roof-rack with a wooden floor,this might be a good place to sleep. And watch out for the horned viper. This is a very poisonous snake which lies just below surface of the sand with his horns sticking up,waiting for insects and small animals to come by. He doesnt enjoy being trodden on.


Driving in sand need special techniques. Tyre pressures should be lowered considerably. It is quite an experience to be in an ordinary VW bus,stopped before a vast sea of deep soft sand,and know for certain that it will never get across.then to lower tyre pressures far below the normal minimum,and just cruise across to the other side with no problem at all. Dont forget to pump the tyres up once yu are on safe hard ground again.


In many places lots of little children will surround you and ask for presents. If a little boy has been helpful in giving directions,for instance then by all means give him some sweets or a ball point pen. but if you just stop and hand out gifts this could cause a commotion even a riot. And it will spoil things for other tourists who may not have lots of cheap gifts to hand out.

One of the most dangerous routes is the 550 km from Djanet to Chirfa. It is dangerous not so much because of what it will do to you or your vehicle but because it is so lonely,especially in summer. In fact,it is almost impossible to get lost because the route is very well marked. However if your vehicle breaks down half way along the route,it might be three months before another vehicle passes,and it is impossible to walk safety. Therefore you must get that vehicle going again,or die.


Never carry petrol in plastic jerry cans. Firstly petrol can react with the plastic and make it unsafe. Secondly when petrols gets very hot and shaken up,it changes to gas and tremendous pressures can build up. Plastic jerrycans are not strong enough to contain this pressure: they swell up and crack,allowing gas to escape,and could easily cause an explosion.

If you arrive at a Tuareg village,take your time about introductions and greetings. They have all the time in the world. Soon very small glasses will be laid out,and a pot of tea will be put on a small fire. Do not go away. Stay,and you will be offered these small glasses of very sweet tea. Still do not go away. Each glass of tea must be drunk fairly quickly,and with much enjoyment. If after the third round of tea,no more is offered,this means that you are welcome,and welcome to stay for a while. If fourth round of tea is offered,it means that you are welcome but not asked to stay as it is not convenient. Drink this fourth glass and slowly,politely say goodbye and go…


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