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Ruwenzori massif

Ruwenzori – (since 1980 known as the Rwenzori) volcanic mountain range in central Africa on the border of DR Congo and Uganda. Mountains are identified with the moon marked on the map of Ptolemy in the second century AD. It extends west of the Great Rift Valley, between Lake Albert and Lake in the north of Edward in the south. The extent of the massif is: length of 120 km and a width of about 65 km.

Rwenzori is the highest mountain in Stanley, and more specifically one of its vertices is called Margaret Peak (5109 m).

In 1994 the Rwenzori National Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tropical Glaciers

All climate change is reflected in the recession of tropical glaciers deposited in the upper parts of the massif of Ruwenzori. In 1906 there were 43 named glaciers with a total area of ​​7.5 km ². In 2005, the glaciers lying only three peaks, and the surface was less than 1.5 km ².

Ruwenzori massif formed 2 million years ago. It is a mountain chain with a length of 125 km, runs along the border of Congo-Uganda. In the language of the local tribe is Ruwenzori charmer rain. This is indeed a very wet and foggy place where the clouds covering the tops of mountains, 300 days a year.

Everything seems to be here two times higher than elsewhere. Earthworms reach 1 m in length and are as thick as an adult human thumb. Black pigs are forest giants feral pigs Africa; weigh about 16 pounds and measure 1 m. Lobelia plant, found in many gardens here has 2-foot stem, flower and its shape resembles a large candle. Mountain bamboo reaches 9-12 m in height, and sedge (grass species) 1.8 m. Botanists believe that the cause of achieving the monstrous size of the plants and animals occurring in this area are heavy rain, strong sunlight and the specific characteristics of acidic soils .

Although the Ruwenzori massif away from the equator is only about 48 km, it’s peaks throughout the year are covered with beautiful, silvery snow caps. English explorer, Henry Morton Stanley was the first European who saw them. It was in 1888, but the ancient Greek geographer, Ptolemy, wrote about the Moon Mountains, which were to be the source of the Nile. It is believed that Ptolemy was referring to Ruwenzori.

Ahaggar Mountains

Ahaggar (Al-Hadżdżar, Dżibal al-Hukkar, Hoggar) – mountain range in the central Sahara (southern Algeria), which forms a shield in the northern part of the African platform.

Built mainly of Precambrian crystalline slate, conglomerate and gneiss repeatedly corrugated and wypiętrzanych. It consists of numerous groups of aligned mountain plateaus, above which rise the cones of extinct volcanoes. The massif is cut by a dense network of dry valleys (wadi). Highest peak – 2918 m above sea-level Tahat

In the area of ​​nomadic breeding of camels, sheep and goats.

Since 1987, part of the massif is protected under the Ahaggar National Park (fr. Parc National de l’Ahaggar), an area of ​​about 380 thousand. ha. In the park discovered several prehistoric rock paintings.

Ahaggar Mountains (or Hoggar) in Algeria are at the heart of the Sahara, ok.1500 km south of Algiers. Rise to a height of 303 m above sea-level (top Tahat). Grow from the rocky plateau, reaching 2000 m. Ahaggar massif is built of rock population of 2 million years and is part of the old bearing rock of the African continent.

Some of the peaks are volcanic plugs, or solidified lava, volcanoes obstructive holes. Over the years, volcanoes have outer layers of water and wind erosion, leaving only the studs, protruding above the pink granite plateau.

The highest of strangely shaped peaks is Ilamen height of 2670 meters above sea level.


Namib Desert

Namib Desert is located primarily in Namibia in southwestern Africa on the Atlantic coast. It begins in Angola and extends along the entire coast of Namibia, ie from the mouth of the Kunene River on the border with Angola in the north of the Orange River estuary in the south, on the border with South Africa. Namib in nama means “giant” in another translation, “a place where nothing is.” Since the word is derived the name of Namibia.

  • Length: 1300 km
  • Width: 50 to 160 km
  • Area: about 130 thousand. km ²

Through her site Kuiseb river flows through most of the year dry. It is divided into two parts of the Namib. The northern part is a rocky plateau, reaching the west to the ocean. This area is called the Skeleton Coast and is protected as a national park.

The southern part is a sandy plain on the move straight or stellar dunes. The sand near the coast is yellow, while in the hinterland becomes dark red hue. Chains of dunes extend in a north-south direction and reach a height of 200 m and a length of 50 km. The highest dunes are located in the middle of the desert, near Sossusvlei, they have even more than 300 m in height [1]. During the day, the sand temperature can reach over 80 degrees Celsius. Namib Desert is considered the oldest in the world, it has about 80 million years. Part of the National Park Namib-Naukluft.

This is one of the most deprived areas in the light of the world. Yearly rainfall is only 10-14 mm. Usually occur only once every few years, and only a few days.

Benguelski cold Antarctic current in the Atlantic over the ocean cools the air, causing fog. It reaches to the Namib desert, reaching sixty miles inland and brings moisture, which allows the survival of the local fauna and flora.

The Lüderitz diamonds are exploited.

In the desert there are many unique and endemic species of plants and animals.


  • Welwitschia mirabilis – discovered by Friedrich Welwitscha in 1859,
  • Kokerboom, otherwise the tree quivers (Aloe dichotoma) – sukulent attaining an altitude of 7 meters.


  • Chrysochloris aurea – only discovered in the 60s Twentieth century,
  • Southern oryx (Oryx Gazella) – perfectly suited for desert conditions. Long endure without water, sweat only when body temperature reaches 45 degrees Celsius.

The Namib Desert is one of the oldest and driest deserts on Earth. Runs through the 1400 km along the Atlantic coast in southwestern Africa, from the border between Angola and Namibia to the Orange River. At its widest point measured 160 km, and the narrowest – only the 10th

Desert Kuiseb river is divided into two parts. To the south stretches the vast sea of ​​sand dunes straight or stellar. Sometimes they settle the height of 200 m. In the sand dunes are counting one million years and contains the largest known deposits of diamonds in the world.

To the north of the river Kuiseb are rocky gravel plains. Along the coast, known as Prefab Coast waters are rough and dangerous. Many sailors lost their ships, not only there, but life.

In coastal areas the average annual rainfall is 25 mm. It rains there are extremely rare and are mostly sudden and violent rains. The source of moisture is arising in the night dew and fog, which on average every ten days, also at night, appear on the coast. They sometimes reach 50 km inland. Occurring in this area plants and animals have adapted to life in these harsh conditions, and some even learned to wrap them drink dew droplets.


Tanezrouft – rocky desert in the west of the Sahara, on the border between Algeria and Mali, located west of Ahaggar mountains.

Tanezrouftu area inhabited by a few Tuaregs.


Occupying about 500 thousand. km ², is an area unfavorable Tanezrouft life. Lacks even a poor flora, which can be found in other desert areas.

Most of the area belongs to the Algerian desert. In the territory of Mali, it goes back to the bands peculiar uksztautowanych Adrar des Iforas mountains reaching a height of 900 m above sea level In the east Tanezrouft reaches the foothills of Al-Hadżdżar, and north to the dunes of Erg Szasz.

Tanezrouft is the hottest desert in the world. Temperatures here during the day exceeds 50 ° C, while nights are extremely cold. It rains practically do not happen.

Trade route

By Tanezrouft leads one of the oldest and shortest trade routes crossing the Sahara and North African coast linking the Mediterranean with the fertile West Africa over the Atlantic Ocean.

Already in the Middle Ages Tanezrouft routes traveled by caravans from Timbuktu, and towards Gao, two important cities of the valley of the Niger, the Algerian oases in the north of Africa. From the coast of West Africa were brought up the continent’s precious stones, gold, ivory and slaves. On the way back the caravan were loaded with grain and textiles.

A journey through the desert land was not a easy task. Great caravan, which in 1809 went through Tanezrouft, ended with the greatest tragedy in the history of the Sahara. 2000 people and 1800 camels perished of thirst in a dry bezkresach astray and failed to find water sources.

Today, one of the four major trade routes of the Sahara is through the middle Tanezrouftu.

Is called the Land of Fear or Desert Desires. And you can add yet another title: Still Earth. Because it is completely devoid of any life.

Tanezrouft a plateau 300-500 m above sea level, located in southern Algeria, near the border with Mali, between the Ahaggar mountains, valley and Ergiem Tidikilt Shesh, one big dune. It is neither Hamad, the rocky desert or sandy ergiem or gravel serirem. Tanezrouft has in himself all these landscapes. Dominates, however, stony desert. Larger pieces of sand are in the southern part, already within Mali, and the Ahaggar seriry foothills and south of the basin Tidikilt. Though at night the temperature plummets, the average temperature in July exceeds 32 degrees. They are more hot deserts, but only that it is dead. Because it is the most dry. Annual rainfall here rarely exceed 8 cm, and often are zero! Because around the desert, the winds here are putting no moisture, such as the Namib Desert from the ocean. A plateau is Tanezrouft from all regions of the Sahara farthest from wet areas, be it sea or great rivers (Niger here.)

And everyone who will be here without preparation and equipment, it will be dead. In February 1962, the French patrol discovered the wreckage of the aircraft. In addition to dried lay, half buried in sand, the pilot’s body. It lay so for 29 years. Briton, Captain William Lancaster, in April 1933, flew from Barcelona by Oran to Gao on the Niger. Pilot acted like you, not walking away from the aircraft, but after eight days he ran out of water and died of thirst.

And around 1800, in a caravan Tanezrouft lost two thousand camels. To this day, though not found the slightest trace. It is very strange that runs through the center Tanezrouftu caravan route from the Mediterranean to Gao on the Niger, the city less famous, but more important than the famous Timbuktu. Though it is an excuse. Tuareg, arrogant people of the Sahara, who is not afraid to even Tanezrouftu is not only the shepherds and guides the caravan, but also robbers, without mercy grabiący merchants. Maybe is their work?

The Tuareg are the only people who can live with the desert. Although Muslims, women have a very high position, and obscure the faces … men. These brave warriors are able to challenge the Negro and the Arab states, who holds a deadly weapon if they have only an ally of the desert. I cope. No one has managed to subordinate or pacify the knights of the Sahara …

But it was not always so. When the glacier cover Europe, the Sahara, including Tanezrouft, gaily green with savanna, hippos and buffaloes taplały in the mud, and river crocodiles lived. That they did, we know from the rock paintings at Tassili plateau n the near `Ajjer.


Country: Mali
Region: Timbuktu
Location: 16 ° 46 ’24”N 2 ° 59′ 58”W
Height: 263 m above sea-level
Population (2004)
• Population: 35 900

Twin Cities:
Germany, Chemnitz
United States, Tempe

Timbuktu (songhaj: Tumbutu, fr. Tombouctou) – a town in Mali, Niger river, probably founded in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, inhabited by 35 900 persons (2004). It is the capital of the region of Timbuktu, one of the seven administrative regions of Mali.

For centuries, Timbuktu was a center of intense trade between sub-Saharan Africa and the Berber and Islamic North Africa, and through it also with Europe. Due to the relative inaccessibility of the city, it became widespread in the semi-mythical image of Timbuktu as a distant and exotic place.

Timbuktu was established as a seasonal settlement by nomadic Tuareg people. Thanks to its favorable location on routes transsaharyjskich settlement expanded rapidly. Was traded gold, ivory, slaves, salt and other goods. Timbuktu was a major medieval town of several African countries: Ghana, Mali, and Songhaj. Its golden age of the sixteenth century. It was then that the legend of the riches of this city have encouraged Europeans to discover this part of Africa. And it was the emergence of European travelers and traders contributed to the fall of the city. Trade by sea was a much better alternative than wandering across the Sahara – the largest desert in the world. The fall deepened even Morysków invasion in 1591, mercenaries in the service of the Sultan of Morocco. Arriving back in the nineteenth century, travelers from Europe could see only a small village with houses made of clay pobudowanymi.

In private collections and public libraries of Timbuktu’s manuscripts, 150 000. Some of them come from the thirteenth century. Scientists believe that lie under the sands of the Sahara, thousands of letters. These texts provide a wealth of both literary and scientific region. They include both textbooks for mathematics and astronomy as well as writings dealing with the social and economic life in Timbuktu during the Golden Age. Then it was an academic center whose faculty, Sankore, attended by 25 000 students.

South Africa launched an initiative called “Operation Timbuktu”, within which is building a new library for the Ahmed Baba Institute. The collections also help save the United States and Norway.

Due to its illustrious history in 1988, Timbuktu was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Owianym equally legendary city of Timbuktu was just what El Dorado. But Timbuktu really exists.

The town was founded about a thousand years ago, in the eleventh century, initially as a seasonal settlement of the Tuareg, the Sahrawi people, who alone dared to wander across the Sahara from the Mediterranean coast almost to the Gulf of Guinea.
City Trade

Tuareg caravans since Roman times wandered from town in present-day northern Algeria, Tunisia and Libya through the Atlas Mountains, Ahaggar, highlands and deserts, including sandy and devoid of life ergi Tanezrouft. If you went to Libya by the former Ghanaian Ahaggar (today’s Mali and Senegal), then to Niger was approaching, near Timbuktu. Also in this spot above the river, while wandering from Numidia to Benin.

And all the same, or Mali or Ghana, or Songhaj, Timbuktu has always been one of the major cities in the country. But never the most important. Not least because it is a city Tuaregs. And this people has always refused to recognize any authority over them. And now especially power Negro. Negro meant solely for Tuareg slave or recipient of goods, never the ruler.

Tuareg traded everything. To the north they were carrying gold, ivory, slaves, south – salt (to be exchanged for gold in the weight ratio of 1:1) and the Arab and Berber art and utility products. Timbuktu flourished. And not just as a city transit trade.

First of all, as a city of science. It was operated in Timbuktu Sankore next Fez, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus, one of the major Muslim universities. It was built in 989 years, when a local judge Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar received from the Mandingo ruler providing finance college, which is famous far beyond Africa. The combination of wealth and Mandingów Timbuktu was a huge complex of buildings. But today shape the university received in the twelfth century, when the mosques were created (and at one madrassa, or school) and Sankore Dżingereber courtyard modeled on that of Mecca. Even the size was identical. Just play the Kaaba has been measured using the rope …

Attracted to the city of scientific experts around the Muslim world. Taught here, among others. Baba Ahmed al philosophers Massufi, and lawyer Mohammed Bagayogo Modibo Mohammed Al Kaburi. But beware: this is not the Arabs, but the locals, Songhajowie, Fulbe and Tuareg. The University had 25,000 students (in the city was about one hundred thousand inhabitants) and the 400-700 college library consisted of thousands of items from all fields of knowledge. Studied grammar, mathematics, geography, history, physics, astronomy, chemistry, law, philosophy, economics, business ethics and of course the Koranic theology. At the end of graduate studies diploma instead of getting a special turban, after which graduates Sankore recognize how Harvard graduates today after ties.

Over time, trade in this city came to know of such a consideration that is not salt or gold have become in the greatest value, but the book. Social status is not determined the size of the treasury, but the library. No wonder that in private hands were twice as many manuscripts.

Sankore University is named, but it is a wrong name. Sankore is the name of the mosque, at which she was one of the madrassas (schools). The other was the mosque of Sidi Jahja and Dżingereber.

Timbuktu flourished to the end of the sixteenth century. Then the sultan of Morocco, fell into financial trouble, the Jews who have mastered the Moroccan industry, suddenly “went bankrupt”. He had to save the state, sending an expedition to the legendary Timbuktu, which was said to be flowing with gold. This invasion of 1591 was the beginning of fall. For voyages of Portuguese and then Dutch Moroccans and Turks have shown, who mastered the North Africa, that maritime transport is much cheaper than pull the caravans of Timbuktu Tuaregs. And just such a half-buried in sand, a sleepy village saw the first Europeans.
Forbidden City

Timbuktu myth born of unavailability. For several hundred years the city was inaccessible to the unbelievers. A and Muslims, if they were not Tuareg, reluctantly ventured here. Because the city yes, the famous, but you can for him do not reach, they would die of thirst in the sands of the Sahara. No wonder that one could “impunity” to talk about the sidewalks of gold in Timbuktu, because nobody had a chance to verify this. Tuareg desert guarded secrets of their routes. Anyone who has ventured too far, was lost. That was until recently. Even in the nineteenth century explorers traversing the Sahara had big problems to get to Timbuktu and then go back. The famous British explorer Mungo Park in 1806 in his last visit just crossed the Niger across the city, attacked from all sides by the natives, he had no chance of landing. The first European who certainly (because those who claimed that they were, there are many, ranging from 1402 years, but their relationships are more or less unreliable) was in Timbuktu, was a British officer Alexander Gordon Laing. It was in this city in 1826. But soon after he was killed by a Tuareg’s, and wrote nothing. Two years later came to Timbuktu disguised as an Arab Frenchman René Caillié. But his relationship so far deviate from the circulation of myths, it was considered unbelievable. Believe in him after death, when in the years 1853 to 1854 he was in Timbuktu German explorer Heinrich Barth. He managed to stay so long for one reason only, and was under the protection of the Sidi Ahmad al Baqqai, religious leader enjoying a huge mir so that, although Amadu Amadu, fulbejski (Fulbe – negro tribe of West Africa), the ruler Maciny Barth gave the death sentence , it was not able to get his way. Barth not only confirmed that Timbuktu is a city almost failed, but sparked the interest of scholars, writing that, in the city and the sand beneath the city are thousands of old, extremely valuable manuscripts.

Today, survived the approximately 150 thousand. Probably several times that lie hidden in the sand since the invasion of Moroccans. Their prospecting, exploring and sharing deal with South Africa, which with the help of the United States and Norway Ahmed Baba Library building. But the serious competitor are private collectors from around the world willing to pay more money for the precious manuscript.

Even long after the war, the city of Timbuktu was dangerous for whites. Tuareg, forced to abandon the traditional nomadic lifestyle, because the Sahara was divided between the Arab and Negro state, periodically stir up insurrection. Recent (in Niger), ended in 2009 and there is little evidence that this was the end. In Timbuktu every year since 1997 to honor the year before the end of the Tuareg uprising in Mali. Celebrations are held at the Flames of Peace, a monument cast from melted tuareskich three thousand rifles. But in Mali Tuareg at any time may arise. The cause of another rebellion could be anything that violates the pride of the sons of the Sahara.

Timbuktu is located on the border of two powerful regions of the Sahara desert and the lush savannah of the Sudan. This slim, półpustynny belt stretching from the mouth of the Senegal, through Timbuktu, Constance valley, plateau Darfur, and northern Eritrea, known as the Sahel. It is also the contact of two great cultural regions, North African, Arab and Berber Maghreb and Black Africa.

It is so only says that Timbuktu is situated on the Niger. Indeed, from the city into the mainstream of the river is about 20 kilometers. Over the river is the place Kabara, a river port for Timbuktu. Once the two cities were connected by canal. Not artificial, natural, Timbuktu Maciny lies on the edge, the inner Niger delta, cut by just such channels. This, however, when deteriorated Timbuktu, not used often, slowly zamulał, plied him with sand desert, until now there has not been followed. Only on satellite photos you can see that something was once there.

As befits the Sahara, Timbuktu has a dry desert climate. The average annual rainfall of 160 mm “manufactured” are in the summer. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 12 degrees in January to 42 degrees (average maximum temperature) in May. Fluctuations are significant, for example, in January, the day may even be above 30 degrees, and at night the 12th

Talking Timbuktu, we think of Tuaregach. It’s very mysterious people. These are not the blacks, but whites (except that in acute darkening desert sun) Berbers. But anthropologists regard the Berbers as an intermediate race between a white and black. For more than a thousand years profess Islam, but their society is matriarchal, a woman has more to say than the man. And it obscures the faces of men. Tuaregs are also your alphabet, different from the others, and if you would want him at any price comparisons, it is most similar to the Greek. They live in the heart of the Sahara, in Algeria, Libya, Mali and Niger.

Although the Tuareg Timbuktu is a city, they are here only “way”. As everywhere anyway. The valley of the Niger near Timbuktu is a land of Songhai, a relative of Mandingami people, but culturally similar to the Tuaregs, who from the seventh to the sixteenth century, created a powerful state over Niger. Nearby resident remembered Mandingowie especially esteemed by the Arabs and the Europeans as slaves because of the strength. Also they look to the town Fulbe (Fulani), nomadic pastoral people who colonized the entire sawannową part of West Africa, and Bambara, agricultural people, known for its magnificent sculptures. We all profess Islam.

Timbuktu today is a shadow of its former power. Only 32 thousand inhabitants, or one third of the population hundreds of years ago, but still called the Pearl of the Desert and the City of 333 Saints. With its former glory were three medieval mosques, Sankore, Sidi Jahja and oldest Dżingereber. All are made of baked clay is not. And after every big rain (fortunately not too often happens) need to be renewed, would not … dissolved. A similar technology is built the whole city. And the whole town looks exactly like the days of glory.

Timbuktu is still an important trade fair center. Traded – like ages ago – salt, cloth, leather and handicraft tuareskim and negro. Only that camels are being replaced by trucks.

The city had been seeking to find the list of new seven wonders of the world, but lost to the masses of objects rozleniwionych holidaymakers. Because Timbuktu is still only for chosen ones.

It is true that in many valuable monuments (mosques, madrassa), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site was inscribed the legend

Lake Retba

The French name of the lake is Lac Rose (Pink Lake), and not without reason has been attributed to this akwenowi. Waters of the lake have a pink color that is particularly clear during the dry season.

Lake lies to the east of the capital Dakar, Senegal, and the most southernmost point of Africa to the west of Cape Verde. Waters of the lake changes its color depending on the intensity of incident sunlight. It is believed that the pink color of micro-organisms are responsible, and a high concentration of minerals in the surrounding soils, mainly chlorine and minerals.

Lake Retba like its counterpart in Australia, the lake is very salty Hillier and separated from the ocean only a narrow strip of dunes a few hundred meters. This is due to the fact that in ancient times the lake was small coves, which, by the applied sand was cut off from the open water area. As a result of evaporating seawater, seawater salinity growth followed, until the present level, which in the lake Retba is 38%, or about the same as the salinity of the Dead Sea.

The lake is still African mined salt, and the manner of delivery has not changed for years and is passed down from generation to generation. The whole process starts from the bottom grab the Pink Lake salty sludge. It is then transported to the shore, where salt is washed and dried in the sun. After drying, the salt forms a dense shell, which must be crushed. Finally ready to sell salt Piles left behind in small mounds.

Another interesting fact is that in the vicinity of the lake was often finish the Dakar Rally, the largest in the world and the most difficult challenges for the field of professional drivers, as well as for amateurs. The location of the finish was primarily dictated by the huge popularity enjoyed by Pink Lake, and the proximity of the dunes and the beach, where he played out the last stage.