Cafe Akakus: Desert dining
For reasons of safety, permits to travel in the Akakus are only issued to a minimum party of 2 vehicles, so even though there was only MrL travelling with me, we travelled with 2 drivers and a cook. A journey into the Akakus means camp-kitchen cooking in wonderful surroundings at every meal - we also had an excellent cook. An hour or so before meal-time, our provisions pickup would head off, and when we reached our rendezvous there would be mats and mattresses laid out in some cool and shady spot - under an acacia tree, at the base of a huge rocky outcrop, by an amazing natural arch - a campfire lit, and Hussein preparing yet another delicious meal.
Every meal hit the spot perfectly. The shady spots chosen provided a deliciously cool break in the middle of the day, and our night-time campsite, on the side of a wide shallow bowl between dunes and rocks was stark and dramatic with wonderful lighting effects from both the setting and rising sun.
The arrival of a "gbili" (sand-laden desert wind) meant we had to abandon our plans to spend a last night out in the desert and return to the camp-site at Al Aweinat where Hussein set up his "kitchen" in a sheltered corner, lit his fire and - with great good humour - produced yet another delicious meal. On our last day, as we headed back to Sebah in a thick dust-laden haze - the aftermath of the gbili - we made use of Camp Africa's permanent camp at Tekerkiba where green trees and gardens helped reduce the discomfort of the dust and the welcome afforded us by the camp manager as he opened his kitchen to Hussein (who works for a different company) was a great example of co-operation and desert hospitality.
Favorite Dish: A simple breakfast to start the day - bread, cream cheese, fig jam, fruit and big mugs of tea.
Lunches were a big bowl of flavour-full tomatoes and crunchy salad, golden freshly fried potatoes and chopped herbs topped with tuna or fluffy omelette; Bread - either crusty Italian-style, or baked in the sand, a la Tuareg; tit-bits of lamb char-grilled over the fire and fresh fruit - all washed down with water and pungent, frothy Tuareg tea.
If lunch was that good - what was dinner like? A bowl of freshly prepared soup (lentil and Libyan); couscous topped with a tasty vegetable (the sweetest carrots, courgettes, potatoes and onions) and lamb stew; barbecued lamb and more Tuareg tea. Generous portions and heaps of flavour to be devoured with relish, wherever we were.
Bring your own cook
No restaurants or other catering facilities exist. You have to bring what you need. The best thing is to hire a cook. He will fix everything for you.
Favorite Dish: Couscous or pasta together with onions, tomatoes etc and occasionaly chicken. all served with bread, water and non-alcoholic beer.