Expedition to Cure Salee festival and
Guerewol - mens' beauty contest of Wodaabe

NIGER

2nd half of September, 2020.
Tour Niger

tour to Niger Expedition to Wodaabe touareg festival Guerewol Air fulani journey to Sahara Sahel tour to Cure Salee

tour to Cure Salee
Have you ever seen the biggest theater scene in the world? Do real men compete in beauty or it is only for women?
You will find the answers only having visited Niger.
Buy the ticket to «Niger's Bolshoy Theater» and watch the incredible performance at the edge of Sahara!

One of the least visited and most authentic African countries. This is our third come back to Niger and second one to Cure Salee Festival where we appeared first Russian expedition in 2013.

Tour to Niger. Have you ever seen the biggest theater scene in the world? Do real men compete in beauty or it is only for women?
You will find the answers only having visited Niger.
Buy the ticket to «Niger's Bolshoy Theater» and watch the incredible performance at the edge of Sahara!

SHEDULE AND COST:

Dates: 2nd half of September, 2020
(the exact dates are to be defined 4-6 months prior to the trip and will depend on the dates of Cure Salee festival)

Duration: 12 days/11 nights

Number of participants: 6 – 12

Cost per person: EUR 2200 subject to 10 persons, EUR 2400 subject to 8 persons or EUR 2600 subject to 6 persons, based on double accommodation.

Everything is included, except for:
- international flight to Niamey
- domestic flight from Niamey to Agadez (about 260 EUR)
- Niger visa
- international medical insurance
- dinner in Niamey on 1st day and dinner in Agadez on 2nd day.
Estimated cost of international flight Moscow - Niamey - Moscow: EUR 650 - 800 (to be bought by yourself).

Single supplement: EUR 290




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO NIGER


Day 0. Monday. Your city - Niamey
Leaving for Niamey by air (The flight with Turkish Airlines is recommended).
Meals: no
Accommodation: no

Day 1. Tuesday. Niamey – Niger River – Niamey
Arrival at 1 am to 3am. 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. Dinner at Le Pillier restaurant (excluded).
Dinner at Le Pillier restaurant (excluded)
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Accommodation : hotel 4*, shower

Day 2. Wednesday. Niamey – Agadez
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.
Dinner at Le Pillier restaurant (excluded)
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Accommodation : Hotel de la Paix, shower

Day 3. Thursday. Agadez – Tiguidit (100 km, 2 hrs drive)
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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tents

Day 4. Friday. Tiguidit – In Gall (250 km, 5 hrs drive)
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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation : Tents, shower

Days 5 – 6. Saturday – Sunday. In Gall. Cure Salee festival
1st and 2nd day of Cure Salee festival.
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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tents, shower

Day 7. Monday. In Gall – Abalak – Wodaabe nomadic camp (200-250 km, 7 hrs drive). Guerewol festival
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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tents, shower

Day 8. Tuesday. Wodaabe nomadic camp. Guerewol festival.
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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation : Tents

Day 9. Wednesday. Wodaabe nomadic camp. Guerewol festival.
In the morning we arrange football match where our expedition's team will play with 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.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tents

Day 10. Thursday. Wodaabe nomadic camp – Abalak – Tahua (200-250 km, 6-7 hrs driving)
Drive from Wodaabe nomad camp to Tahua via Abalak, visiting Tabalak lake and Haussa village en route.
If we arrive to Tahoua not late, we can visit the palace of Ader people sultan in Tahua.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tarka hotel, shower

Day 11. Friday. Tahoua – Yaama (120 km, 3 hrs driving)
Drive from from Tahoua to Tamaske village of Hausa people. Continue 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 Yaama Mosque is known to have won the Aga Khan Award. Amazing Yaama village of 33 mosques manually made of banko. Visiting most famous mosques and school if it is open. Night in Yaama.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Tents, shower

Day 12. Saturday. Yaama – Dosso – Niamey (500 km, 6 hrs driving)
Drive from Yaama village to Niamey.
In Dosso we see the giraffes of Kouré, the last herd in freedom in the whole zone of West Africa.
Arrive in Niamey at 6-7 pm. Day use hotel for shower.
In the night (at 23 :00) international flight back home (The flight with Turkish Airlines is recommended).
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Day use hotel 4*, shower
Cost includes:

· accommodation in hotels according to the program on TWIN/DBL basis,
· single accommodation in tents,
· day use hotels: 1 room for 3 pax
· Toyota Land Cruisers 4WD with A/C, fuel, driver, 3 passengers in 1 car,
· all airport transfers, boats, camels etc according to the program,
· full board meals (3 times a day),
· unlimited bottled drinking water along the whole route,
· security military escort on all parts of itinerary where it is needed,
· all entry fees and site visits, photography fees, contribution to local communities,
· participation in festivals,
· camel riding, football and all activities according to the program,
· camping gear : tents, mattresses, furniture, toilet cabin, shower cabin
· all formalities and permits,
· visa support
· accompaniment of very experienced English speaking guide and Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the trip.



To be addidionally (personally) paid:

· international flight (flight Moscow - Niamey - Moscow is approx. EUR 650 - 800)
· Air ticket from Niamey to Agadez one way (around 260 EUR)
· travel insurance
· Niger visa (EUR 90)
· dinner in Niamey on 1st day and dinner in Agadez on 2nd day
· single accomodation
· alcohol, souvenirs
· tips



To take with:

• Wear sets fitting weather conditions, one warm set
• Wear sets fitting weather conditions, one warm set
• long sleeve wear set,
• repellents (is a must!),
• mosquito net for sleeping place (is a must!),
• comfortable closed shoes and opes shoes,
• forehead torch,
• big backpack for luggage,
• small backpack for personal items and camera,
• sleeping bag for warm weather,
• sunblock set (cream, sunglasses, cap),
• sandblock set: desert glasses, buff/mask (up to you)
• personal hygiene items (toilet paper, towel, wet tissues, hygiene lipstick etc.),
• personal medical kit (analgesics, sanitizers, antibiotics, your personal medicine),
• yellow fever certificate,
• photo and video camera
KEY FEATURES:
TOUR TO NIGER
Niger

Best season: September – April


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.

Unique and one of the most colorful ethnic fests - Guerewol where Wodaabe men compete in beauty and stamina for several days

Football match on the sand with Wodaabe in full dress

Riding on camels along the desert and an opportunity to feel like a real nomad

Medieval town Agadez at foot of Air mountains with unique architecture and mosques, built of banko (mix of mud, straw and dung)

4WD driving accompanied with the official convoy to the heart of Sahara - lifeless desert Tenere, where only true ethnic tribes of "blue people" - nomadic Touareg can survive

Giraffes of Koure - the last herd in freedom in West Africa
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