The very last leg of our trek was now in front of us. The route followed the bed of an oued between to high cliffs, a landscape that we got used to during our weeklong trek, as it is one of the most typical landscapes in the Tassili or better for the access to the Tassili.
The last noon bivouac was, as most of the time, among large boulders that gave a comfortable shade to each of us, except the photographer that wandered around, as usually, to practice his guilty trade while others were experiencing hard a last desert siesta.
Even the photographer of this page could have his photo taken by a surrogate photographer, now a skilled camel rider!
May be it is time to tell a secret to those of you that will have reached this tip and will read it completely. When we did this trek, I was shifting from BW photography (doing the whole thing myself, from shooting to 50x60 enlargements) to color slides. I found that some of my BW photos were worth to be here, but needed some vitamins, I mean colors. I have practiced my skills on Photoshop to colorize them. Will you find which ones belong to this category? Let me know! I feel that some of them will be easy to find out because they are not well colorized (may be I will skip them) but I feel that others are almost impossible to uncover!
After the first akba, we were yet far from Djanet but as the soil was good enough, we could have a last camel ride. After a week, we were now expert camel riders (well almost!) as we, on the whole rode the camels for a few hours everyday. Now to take photos from top of the camel was not anymore a big problem.
The first akba is steep but shorter than we thought and after not much more than one hour, we reached the very bottom, the plain that would lead us to Djanet. We are now used to this landscape and do not admire it as much as in the beginning! One more week and we would not even notice it! Just kidding!
At the beginning of the first akba, we met a man leading a group of donkeys loaded with luggage. This was another group of visitors, that we did not met, but that climbed to the plateau as a donkey trek. Donkeys do very well in the mountain, better than the camels but bear a lighter load. From Djanet, many visitors to the rock painting chose donkey trek.
It is now time to leave our last bivouac in oued Tefesasest. The first photo shows the place where we had our bivouac and that we have not really seen in the evening as it was almost dark. We are now heading to the first Tafelalet akba, the lowest.
Usually, the four cameleers use to stay out of our circle while Pierre and Ali walk from one group to the other. For the last bivouac, they came with us.
Photos 1, 2 and 3 show only the four cameleers.
Photo 4 and 5 show the whole group : 9 trekkers (minus the photographer), Pierre, Ali and the four cameleers. Everybody is on the photo, except the photographer!
The landscape is almost the same than an hour or so earlier, when we were walking between two cliffs for "Five more minutes, may be a little more…" but now the sun is very low on the horizon. At these southern latitudes there is almost no dusk. Five minutes before sunset, there is still day light. Five minutes after sunset, it is almost night. Will we arrive at the bivouac before night?
We did it! That was our longest journey!
The first photo shows a wide oued that should be oued Tefesasest (that is what Pierre said), the place for our last bivouac However, it is way down and it seems that though it is close, that will be hard to reach it.
Indeed, the path is carved into the rock and winds its way down as you can see if you enlarge the photos.
That was not yet the bottom and moreover in order to reach the bottom of the second akba, we have first to climb some more. Of that is not a big climb, but anyway, that means that first we have to climb and second to walk down as much as we have climbed!
We go on walking and walking between the cliffs. We should soon arrive at the bivouac. Each time that one of us asks Pierre how far is the bivouac, he answers that we are almost arrived "home". Five more minutes, may be a little more…
Indeed that will be a great deal more but Pierre preferred not to tell, to encourage us.
We feel we are now almost at the bottom of the 2nd akba. The more we go the lesser steep is the trek. We are not yet walking in the bed of oued Tefesasest but already at the bottom of the cliffs we had admired from the top!
The way down is already in the dark as it is facing the east. The camels and the cameleers have a hard time on this stony path winding in a scree-covered slope. For humans, this is just a mountain path. For camels, though they are mountain camels, this is the kind of journey they hate!
The last leg of our trek will be to go down from the Tassili (in case you would have forgotten, the Plateau), elevation 1 100 m to Djanet, elevation 500 m. That will be a two days walk on a steep path, difficult for the camels.
The cameleers take a close care to their camels. Only for a short while, between two steeps part do we ride the camels (second photo).
Shortly after (third photo), do we walk again.
The map I have added will show how steep it is.