Djanet Things to Do

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    Touareg with sunglasses

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    We have seen that the Touaregs wore their best traditional clothes from head to feet.. Oops not exactly, as they most of the time wear walking shoes (see other tip) and sometimes wear sun glasses that are of great use in the desert. Besides that, everything in the clothing is traditional. The indigo colored Tagelmoust is very expensive and not all the Touaregs wear it. You might have noticed on other pictures that some have a white Tagelmoust.

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    Close up on a high ranked Kel Ajjer

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Enlarge the picture to fully admire the clothes of this high ranked Kel Ajjer. He does not seem to be one of the dancers, as he has not the Takounbout (helmet). However, he is fully closed in the traditional way of the Touaregs, with a gandoura and a tagelmoust colored with indigo. This indigo colors the skin of the people who wear the clothes, hence the name of "hommes bleus" (Blue men), often given to the Touaregs.

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    S'Biba dancer.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    He should wear the traditional sandals called Tanba. It seems this is not an important part of the outfit as actually, this one, as well as the others, wears light walking shoes called in France "Pataugas", with a rubber sole and the top made of strong cloth. He holds his takouba upside down, which is a sign of peace.

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    Close up on a male dancer and a female musician

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    This picture shows a close up of a female musician. She has much less jewels than the previous and seems younger. The male dancer has an outfit that is worn only for celebrations. It has several stripes of dark blue, red and black that makes a cross on the chest. He wears a helmet called "takounbout" with silver engraved triangles hanging. He holds his takouba (sword) in his back while another Touareg, on the far right of the picture picks it in the sand.

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    More musicians in the parade.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    All the musicians and singers are women. None of them is veiled. That is something specific of the Touareg culture that women do not hide their face. Traditionally, the musician and singers belong to the same family and live in the hamlet of Azeluaz.

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    Close up on a musician

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    This picture is a close up of one of those Touareg woman musicians resting. The small drum is called "tindé". It is made of wood and a goat's skin. The woman holds several silver bracelets on her arms, heavy ear rings with several silver triangles and a huge golden pectoral hanging. If you look at her feet, she is not wearing traditional sandals (iratimen) but slippers with a rubber sole and a hot felt top, called "Charentaises" in France. These slippers are made in the Charente region of France and are designed to keep one feet warm even when it is very cold. Amazingly enough, I have often seen women in the Sahara that wore these Charantaises. I do not know why !

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    Musicians in the parade.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Just behind the Touareg dancers (there is one on the right of the picture, in the foreground, half blurred), a group of musician plays drums, clap their hands and sing the Tisseouay. Unfortunately, it is not possible to give here a sample of Touareg music and songs. The main street is not paved and the musicians raise a lot of sand in the air.

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    Dancers in the parade

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Just after the camel and their cameleer, half a dozen male Touareg dancers walk and dance the "Tahemmet" while the women (behind) play the music. The Tahemmet is a dance that means victory and joy. On the right, children from the Djanet school, lead by their teacher (the tall guy with glasses) are watching the show. The teacher was coming from Algiers and the show was as new for him than for us. Two other teachers, also from the North (Algiers) are on the left with more schoolgirls.

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    Close up on a camel and its cameleer.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    The Touareg saddle is a very expensive piece of art. The seat is a small board set in front with a decorated part that is topped by a cross made of carved brass. It is called the Agades cross. The back is also made of wood and carved brass. Caution, both the back and the front are for the décor. When you ride a camel with a Touareg saddle, you must NEVER lean on the back, you must NEVER grab the front ! You would break them and have to pay for it, which can be as much as a thousand bucks !

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    Parade of the camels

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    The beginning of the feast will be a parade of a dozen of camels mounted by their Touareg owners clad in their best outfits and walking two by two. There are also camel races that take place outside the city but it was not while we were in Djanet.

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    Two Touaregs waiting for the feast to begin.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    On top of a boulder, two Touaregs are chatting while they are waiting for the feast to begin. The one on the left (enlarge the picture) wears the traditional blue gandoura and an elegant white litham that is arranged for a celebration day: the top is very wide, almost a disk; the lower part covers the mouth and the nose. He holds a crop made of tightly woven camel hair. His friend, on the right, though clothed in a modern way, has kept the gandoura.

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    Group of women waiting for the feast to begin.

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    On this picture, a group of women is waiting for the feast to begin. One little boy is on top of an elderly woman's shoulders (grand mother, aunt ?) in order to have a better view of the big celebration.

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    Two Touaregs

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Two Touaregs are heading for the feast. One, on the left, has a regular gandoura (tunic) and a white litham (arab) or tagelmoust (tamacheck). He might be of a lower cast and does not own a ceremony blue litham. The Touareg on the right wears the traditional blue tagelmoust that will be better seen on another picture. He wears also the traditional bag in which Touaregs carry all their precious belongings.

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    Women going for the S'Biba

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Women have dressed in their better clothes. The wear brightly colored traditional dresses, often interwoven with glittering golden or silvery wires. They all wear a scarf to protect from sun and sand but never cover their face. Only men do.

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    The S'Biba or Sebeiba

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Every year, about 30 days after the Moslem feast of the Aïd, at the beginning on the month (moon calendar) of Moharam, the S'Biba, the traditional feast of Djanet takes place and lasts several days. It is prepared in El Mihan and Zelouze, two of the hamlets of Djanet. The chiefs (Chouyoukhe) select those who will dance on the tenth day, called Achoura in the Moslem calendar. That allows the performers to prepare their traditional clothes and the women musician to prepare their jewels. On the tenth day the performers that have been chose meet in Doughia, a place between both hamlets, in the bed of the oued.

    We were in Djanet in December and we were lucky that the 10th day of S'Biba was the day of our arrival. We could watch a part of it, before leaving for our camel trek.

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Djanet Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Djanet things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Djanet sightseeing.

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