Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

THE NOMAD’S PATH: Travels in the Sahel by Alistair Carr

  • Written by  Eamonn Gearon
  • Published in Books
THE NOMAD’S PATH: Travels in the Sahel by Alistair Carr
01 Feb
2014
How many books about Niger do you own? Like most of its fellow Sahelian states, although historically, geographically and culturally fascinating, Niger remains largely ignored by outsiders

This is in part due to its relative inaccessibility – it’s land-locked and largely Saharan – but it’s also Niger’s past as part of French West Africa that sees it suffer from an appalling lack of works in English. With The Nomad’s Path, Alistair Carr deserves credit for doing his bit to correct the general state of Anglophone ignorance.

Carr’s work is an accessible and readable account of his trek in a corner of this out-of-the-way country. Walking with a pair of local, French-speaking Tubu guides and a camel apiece, he crosses the Manga region. The arc of their three-week trip takes them from Nguigmi, near the border with Chad, via the southern reaches of the Termit Mountains, to journey’s end at Birnin Kazowe, about 80 kilometres east of Zinder.

Wilfred Thesiger came to mind while reading this book as he advised me on my own camel-powered expedition in the Libyan Desert. When Carr mentions the need to buy ‘a tyre repair kit for my inflatable mattress’, I was transported to the final page of Eric Newby’s A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, where he recalls Thesiger seeing him and his companion inflating their air mattresses. Thesiger splutters, ‘God, you must be a couple of pansies.’ But then Thesiger was one of a kind.

Apart from the journey itself, The Nomad’s Path has some interesting historical diversions, not least a brief account of the the late-17th-century adventures of Pieter Farde, a Franciscan brother from Ghent. This book is worth reading just to learn about Farde, but the tale of Carr’s own journey, too, will please anyone who loves deserts.

THE NOMAD’S PATH: Travels in the Sahel by Alistair Carr, IB Tauris, £18.99

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by Caroline Crampton • Granta Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Books

by Alastair Humphreys • Harper Collins • £14.99 (hardback)

Books

by Ben Aitken • Icon Books • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Edward O Wilson • Allen Lane • £17.99 (paperback)

Books

by David Eimer • Bloomsbury • £20 (hardback)

Films

The uplifting story of a remarkable man who sailed the…

Books

by John Higgs • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £20/£11 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Lewis Dartnell • Bodley Head • £18.99 (hardback)

Books

by Richard Williams • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Jubber • John Murray Press • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Rob Dunn • Basic Books • £22.99 (hardback)

Books

by Edward Davey • Unbound • £9.99 (paperback)

Exhibitions

From July 2019 to February 2020, the Oxford University Natural…

Books

by Stephen Smith • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by David Barrie • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Juliet Blaxland • Sandstone Press • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Bill McKibben • Wildfire • £20 (hardback)

Exhibitions

A new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery flies forward 100…

Exhibitions

From 12 July through to 10 November, the Fondation Cartier…