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The Niger photo tour is an expedition to the Cure Salee festival and Guerewol – mens’ beauty contest of Wodaabe. One of the least visited and most authentic African countries, we will visit the border of Sahara desert to photograph the culture of this area. An excellent opportunity photograph the Annual Cure Salee festival on the edge of Sahara is the meeting point of the Touareg, Wodaabe and Haussa people where they compete in speed, beauty and alloquance and main part of which is Guerewol of Wodaabe people. For many years In Gall was chosen the place for the great Cure Salee festival and where all nomadic and semi-sedentary ethnic groups get together to share the three days of fest and ceremonies to the sound of music and cultural activities.
Arrival at 1 am to 3am to the Niamey airport where will start our Niger Photo Tour. Take rest in 4* hotel.
12 :00 – 18 :00. Niamey, capital of Niger, with a high density that welcomes all the ethnic groups of Niger. The city is situated right on the banks of Niger River. Fishermen and farmers live along the majestic Niger River 4200 km long. Fishing is the fare of his people. By motorized canoe we discover this great river and also hippos along the fishing villages like Kanazi and Bubon.
Early flight (7 am) to Agadez (flights available on Wed, Fri, Sun only).
You will discover the mythical city of Agadez and visit the palace of sultan, meet sultan of Agadez, if he is in the city, visit the animal market, walk arount the old city classified World Heritage by Unesco, and see the Great mosque. The Great mosque built in Sudanese style, fully made of banko – a mixture of mud, dung and straw, appears a visit card of Agadez.
Agadez is a pleasant city to stroll, especially in its old center. It is the city of Tuareg people, situated right on the border of Tenere desert, a city crossroads of meeting nomads for the commercial exchanges with the caravan of salt coming from the North Sahara.
Agadez has managed to retain all of its charm as the quintessential desert town. Its sandy streets and mud brick architecture, have not changed since it was at the center of Saharan trade many centuries ago. As you stand before the well-known Grand Mosque in the main square, it is not hard to imagine that this place was where thousands of camels used to rest on their journey across the Sahara from Gao to Tripoli, laden with gold and salt.
Agadez is the gateway to the Tenere desert and the Air Mountains, with some of the most beautiful desert scenery in the world. Today we set off to the Tiguidit, the beautiful place in Air mountains, the edge of Tenere desert, when we see the dunes and cliff paintings (gravures) of Tiguidit, as well as Touareg nomadic camps en route.
In dunes one finds the silence and the beauty of the sunset. Dinner around the fire and camping among the rocks and sands. Night under beautiful star sky.
We are in the edge of Ténéré desert! Tiguidit is the southern edge of Air Mountains, the place where mountains lose altitude and disappear under the sands of the Ténéré Desert. The place is rich in paleontological sites. In addition to dinosaur cemeteries (in the village of Marandet there is a major dinosaur cemetery) there is also prehistoric rock art.
En route we will also visit Touareg nomadic camps in this harsh environment and get into acquaintance with their ascetic lifestyle.
Drive via Agadez to In Gall, place hosting Cure Salee annual festival.
In the afternoon arrival in In Gall camp where Wodaabe, Touareg and Hausa people get together for celebration.
Backstage, preparations, photographing.
The Cure Salée is a very important annual event for Fulani and Tuareg breeders. This is a three-day festival taking place mid-September in Ingall, about 120 km west of Agadez.
At the end of the rainy season, the grass is abundant in the Sahel but spread over great distances. In mid-September, all herds converge in the city of Ingall to meet in the rich salt pastures of the plain of Irazer.
This large meeting is an opportunity for breeders to meet the needs of animals but also to socialize, find the couples and celebrate the big annual Cure Salée festival.
We will witness traditional dances and the choice of the best dancers, the fashion show and the choice of the most beautiful woman, traditional singer and also the traditional clothes, camel races and the famous Guerewol.
Here on the festival we will be welcomed by Touareg and Wodaabe people. Wodaabe is one of the tribes of Fulani group that populates this area. Wodaabe means “People of taboos” which underlines their strong traditions. They are famous for their unique culture and Guerewol men beauty contest. Wodaabe men will compete in traditional dressings and yellow and black make-up in order to highlight the whiteness of their teeth and eyes. For Wodaabe, they are considered the most valuable parameters in male beauty, along with the tallness and dancing skills. The whole days Wodaabe people will be performing Yaake dance, demonstrating their beauty, stamina and art of seduction. Traditionally Guerewol takes place once a year in the autumn when there is enough food in the area and all the livestocks gather together in Sahel, in the area between In Gall and Abalak. It is the moment for the girls to find a man. Thanks to magic power of the special potion, made of a dozen of herbs and barks, young Guerewol participants can sing and dance days and nights long to attract and seduce girls, and the latter make the choice to define the winner.
Touareg people, those who succeed to survive in the most inhospitable part of Africa, dressed in their indigo clothes, mounted on the camels will show their cultural features We will be immersed in a great party atmosphere and also beautiful images of a people happy and fulfilled of its culture.
Leave early, lunch and shower in Abalak. Transfer to the area where Wodaabe nomads stay with their nomadic camp in Sahel (some 50-80 km from Abalak).
Participate Guerewol men’s beauty contest in the night.
After a year of separation, the Wodaabe Peuhl meet for several days, renew friendships and exchange information. They enjoy celebrations to live their traditions, celebrate weddings, participate in songs and dances or take part in various competitions. Among the highlights include the Wodaabe sprees on camel or traditional dances of Wodaabe men – showing up their beauty, their makeup and their eccentric adornment. Women’s jury choses the best one, many couples are created these nights.
Full day spend at Guerewol with Wodaabe people. Morning, evening and night sessions. Yaake dance. Photo sessions.
Visiting Wodaabe houses, talks about culture and lifestyle. It is also the moment to share the emotions of this ancestral culture that has been preserved and remains the most important link that the Wodaabe have the pleasure of sharing with the other Peuhl people of Niger.
Full day spends at Guerewol with Wodaabe people. Morning, evening, and night sessions. Yaake dance. Photo sessions.
Visiting Wodaabe houses talks about culture and lifestyle. It is also the moment to share the emotions of this ancestral culture that has been preserved and remains the most important link that the Wodaabe have the pleasure of sharing with the other Peuhl people of Niger.
Wodaabe is one of the tribes of the Fulani group that populates this area. Wodaabe means “People of taboos” which underlines their strong traditions. They are famous for their unique culture and Guerewol men’s beauty contest. Wodaabe men will compete in traditional dressings and yellow and black make-up in order to highlight the whiteness of their teeth and eyes.
For Wodaabe, they are considered the most valuable parameters in male beauty, along with the tallness and dancing skills. The whole day Wodaabe people will be performing Yaake dance, demonstrating their beauty, stamina, and art of seduction.
Traditionally Guerewol takes place once a year in the autumn when there is enough food in the area and all the livestock gather together in the Sahel, in the area between In Gall and Abalak. It is the moment for the girls to find a man. Thanks to the magic power of the special potion, made of a dozen of herbs and barks, young Guerewol participants can sing and dance days and nights long to attract and seduce girls, and the latter makes the choice to define the winner.
In the morning we arrange a football match where our expedition’s team will play with the Wodaabe team in full dress!
Before noon take a 1-hour ride on camelbacks around the area to see Sahel nomadic pastures.
Attend Guerewol with Wodaabe people. Photo sessions.
Stay with Wodaabe around the fire, takes to their famous Yaake dance.
Early morning we leave Guerewol place. Drive from Wodaabe nomad camp to Tahua via Abalak, visiting Tabalak lake en route.
Lunch and shower at Tarka hotel in Tahoua en route.
Drive from Tahoua to Tamaske village of Hausa people. Continue the journey through the region of Ader, the region from which Niger’s present president comes from. This region is known for its earthen constructions built in Sudanese style. The Yama Mosque is known to have won the Aga Khan Award. Amazing Yaama village of 33 mosques manually made of banko. Visiting the most famous mosques and schools if it is open.
Night in Yaama – the village of «1001 nights».
In Dosso we probably find and see the giraffes of Kouré, the last herd in freedom in the whole zone of West Africa.
In the morning we pass the mandatory COVID-19 test (PCR) that we will need for the flight back.
Niamey, the capital of Niger, with a high density that welcomes all the ethnic groups of Niger. The city is situated right on the banks of the Niger River. Fishermen and farmers live along the majestic Niger River 4200 km long. Fishing is the fare of his people. By motorized canoe, we discover this great river and also hippos along with the fishing villages like Kanazi and Bubon.
Accommodation: NOT INCLUDED*
Free day in Niamey and time to pick-up our COVID test certificates in the evening.
Free time to buy souvenirs.
Around midnight transfer to Niamey airport. International night flight back home.
* Recommended flight: Turkish Airlines, direct flight TK-543, a departure from Niamey on October 4 at 4:10 am (that is next day, Sunday), arrival in Istanbul on October 4 at 12:00 (noon).
أمجد ابو نوح
i had the pleasure to travel to Niger in 2019 , one of the most amazing trips i had in my life …i would recommend it to every one as its one of the destinations that you cant travel alone , while alex made sure its safe and convenient to every one
looking forword to visit the yamal people in 2020
peace and love
Francisco Carlos Lisboa
Coming back from Niger with a wonderful experience. Thank you Alex for making it possible and also thank you for always trying to accommodate all requests of everybody.
Maybe we will travel together again one day.
Keep your dream alive, be Happy and make others Happy!
The main thing when traveling with Alexei is not only the opportunity to see distant places and exotic landscapes – but also the unique opportunity to chat with people who have very different programs in their heads, I’m going to go with him for the third time this year – I was in Niger and on Yamal I now dream of Amazonia