Tam to the border
Algeria 20 Feb 1979 to 9 Mar 1979
9 Mar 1979
We left Tamanrasset and headed south. No more near solitude. We are now on the main North South road through the middle of Africa, now referred to as the Trans Saharan Highway, the N1. A Transcontinental road according to the Michelin Map of the time. That said, it is still not a motorway or anything like it. We traveled the same route as even larger trucks than ours, and even artics. It was not a simple case of following a blacktop road, in a long convoy. It was an earth track according to the Michelin Map.
The width of the road would have varied according to the terrain in which it was in. Gravel and rock is good and firm with less dust. Some of the softer sand with clumps, and everybody is down to pushing through in just one lane, each truck eating the dust from the one before, as if in convoy. A lot of trucks travel in convoy to help each other out in the difficult areas. However, where the ground permits the trucks widen the road to over one mile wide in places. Trucks spread out to avoid the dust of the one in front or just choosing variations of the general route. Sometime half a dozen abreast.
About 250 miles to the border. It is possible that we completed border control at Tamanrasset and then had to drive south to the real border.
Across the border and into Niger
Little difference from one side of the border to the other. Still sand and more sand.
Map of North Africa with approximate route showing the last element of the Sahara crossing and entry into Sub-Sahara Africa. A little greener.
There is one photo that gives a slight hint of the dust cloud generated by crossing that part of the Sahara. It is taken in Niger but the long dust cloud behind the truck could have been anywhere between.
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Map of North Africa with approximate route zoomed in to show the border with Algeria at In Guzzam, into Niger and onto Agadez via the salt pans at Teguidda-n-Tessoumt.