01-Jan-2006 -- The successful visit to this Confluence was the result of several factors: some advance planning, chance, and constant alertness. When I booked the expedition tour for visiting the Aïr Mountains and part of the Ténéré desert I was aware that in Niger very few Confluences were already visited. I knew from the approximate itinerary that during the expedition there will be some chance to pass in the vicinity of some of these points. Therefore I equipped myself with GPS, compass and maps.
Fate was magnanimous and the day we left the oasis of Fachi I realized, since every now and then I was checking the GPS readings, that we were aiming almost directly to a Confluence. Consequently, I asked our guide Aghali, owner of the travel agency Touareg Tours in Agadez, if he could drive to the sought point. He kindly agreed and while I was holding the GPS outside the car's window, I instructed him in which direction he should drive. It was funny but after some time with no real landmarks around, I was having difficulties in keeping my orientation. However, after driving up and down some small dunes and as we were approaching the Confluence, the car got stuck in the sand. I left the rest of the group occupied in pushing the car out of troubles and I just walked the last hundreds of meters up to the longed spot.
From the pure landscape point of view, the Confluence is not really an exciting spot, it consists only of a quite flat sandy plain adorned with ranges of small dunes oriented in E-W direction. However, the feeling of being alone in this huge deserted vastness is quite awesome and I could really sense my smallness in this desert.
In a broader geographical context, the Confluence lies between the oasis of Fachi and the Arbre du Ténéré. The Arbre du Ténéré was a solitary acacia without any companion around for hundreds of kilometres. Unfortunately in 1973, the tree caused a fatal attraction to a truck driver who drove over it and killed it. Some branches are exposed in the Musée National in the capital Niamey. At the spot where the tree stood two metallic sculptures of questionable taste symbolizing the former acacia overlook the place. Two water wells can be also found around this place.
The expedition group consisted of four tourists (Fausto, Michael, Hartmut, and Wolfgang), the guide Aghali, the cook, and a second driver. To be away from the frenetic pace of our "civilized" countries, especially during Christmas and New Year's time, was a recovering period for the mind. The absolute silence, the magnificent starry nights and the vast horizon that can be experienced in the middle of the desert was a rewarding time for me, unfortunately too short.