Expedition to mens' beauty contest of Wodaabe and to the Touareg's annual festival Air in Sahara


February 12 - 25, 2019. TEAM RECRUITED
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!

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!


Dates: February 12 - 25, 2019

Duration: 13 days/12 nights

Cost per person: EUR 3050 subject to 10 participants.
Everything is included (also flight from Niamey to Agadez) except for:
- international flight to Niamey
- Niger visa
- international medical insurance
- dinner in Niamey on 1st day.
Estimated cost of international flight Moscow - Niamey - Moscow: EUR 650 - 800 (to be bought by yourself).

Additional payment for single accommodation: EUR 370


Day 1. February 12th, 2019. Niamey

Early in the morning arrival to Niamey with Turkish airlines (or other airlines) and transfer to Grand Hotel. Check-in at the hotel and having rest.
After brunch and welcoming, while guide arranging our visas, we get the first acquaintance with the capital of Niger: visit the crowded central market (Grand Marche) and sacred Grand Mosque.
In the evening we meet together in good local restaurant, where everyone can find a dish at its own choice.
Overnight at Grand Hotel.
Lunch included.

Day 2. February 13th, 2019. Niamey – Tahoua

After breakfast, we head to Tahoua through the national road via Dosso -Dogon Doutchi where we will make a stop at the Palace of famous Sultan Djermakoye. Then we will see the giraffes of Kouré, the last herd in freedom in the whole zone of West Africa.
We continue our 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.
Arriving to Tahoua. We are now in Hausa territory. Check-in at the hotel.
Overnight at Tarka hotel.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 3. February 14th, 2019. Tahoua – Wodaabé camp

After breakfast, we leave Tahoua and head to the area of Abalak, where we will be welcomed in the nomadic zone of Fulani people. One of the tribes of Fulani group that populates this area is called Wodaabe ("People of taboos"). They are famous for their unique culture and Guerewol men beauty contest. Other people call them Bororo, whereas Wodaabe never call themselves Bororo, as this name is reserved for their long-horn cows only.
On the way we can make stops in the villages and have small moments of meeting with the nomads who make the transhumance. Abalak will be our biggest point of stop where we have lunch prepared by our cook.
It is some 260 km by road before we reach the Wodaabe's camp.
Another festival of beauty and colors awaits us in the place called Abulbal (Abalak area) for coming days.
We take rest after the long way, familiarize with the locals and preparing for celebration.
Overnight in the tent camp.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 4. February, 15th 2019. Wodaabé Guerewol-like festival

In the morning we arrange football match where our expedition's team will play with Wodaabe team in full dress! This will make a start to the Wodaabe festival.
The Wodaabe nomads, according to call of the chief, get together in Abulbal around two wells to celebrate the local festival which will have all attributes of 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 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.
As an alternative to Guerewol festival, in the course of our ceremonial festival ad hoc local jury will choose the winners among Wodaabe men in best make-up, best costume, best smile, best dancer and even best of the best nominations.
Overnight in the tent camp.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included

Day 5. February 16th, 2019. Wodaabé festival – Agadez

After breakfast early in the morning we arrange traditional camel races, where Wodaabe men will compete and we also can participate.
This festival is the rare moment of reunion and departure towards the other adventures. After the short meeting each family will continue its displacement. All the nomads will migrate in search of new pastures.
On an arid ground, place of transhumance of nomads, we will pass by Abalak before late reaching the city of Agadez. It is some 360 km by road before we reach Agadez.
Overnight at Hotel de la Paix.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included

Day 6. February 17th, 2019. Agadez

At 8:30 a.m., after breakfast at the hotel, we dedicate our day to Agadez. Agadez is the main city of the eastern part of the country located right on the edge of Tenere desert. Several meeting with Tuareg people in the historical center of Agadez. You will discover the mythical city of Agadez and visit the palace of sultan – the Great mosque and the old city. The Great mosque built in Sudanese style, fully made of banko – a mixture of mud, dung and straw, appears a visit card of Agadez.
Overnight in the hotel « Hôtel de la Paix» or similar.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 7. February 18th, 2019. Agadez – Tiguidit

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, when we see the dunes and cliff paintings (gravures) of Tiguidit,
Lunch, dinner and bivouac among dunes. In dunes one finds the silence and the beauty of the sunset.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 8. February 19th, 2019. Tiguidit – Agadez

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.
Coming back to Agadez and check-in in the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel de la Paix.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included

Day 9. February 20th, 2019. Agadez – Aïr mountains

After breakfast we set off on 4WD cars to the north, to Timia, passing by the mountain range and the oases of Aouderas and Dabaga (220 km).
On the way we visit the traditional wells, water supply points for animals and traditional nomadic Touareg villages (camps). We have lunch on the way, prepared by our cook.
Timia is known to be the only place that organizes the Bilma salt caravan through the desert each year in November.
In Timia area we will go to the nice waterfall which is just 2 km from the village (however the flow is arid during the dry season, the place is beautiful) and visit Massu real remnant of the French colonization of 1951 that appears the most beautiful oasis with its gardens at the door of the Tenere.
We set up our camp in Timia – a beautiful place with its palm groves and fruit gardens. It is the flagship town for Tuareg group of Kel Owey, situated in the middle of the mountain range. Hospitality of the mayor of Timia will be your preference. These days we dedicate to getting into acquaintance with Touareg culture and Air region. In the evening we will witness Touareg folklore.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 10. February 21st, 2019. Timia – Iferouāne

Half day (7:00 – 12:00) we continue getting into acquaintance with Touareg culture and Air region. We will drive by car and between the village of Timia and The Valley of Tasselwat along Waadi we will have an opportunity to ride some 6-8 km on camel backs.
We move from Timia to Iferouane across the desert (150 km).
Iferouane is the famous oasis bordered by Mount Tamgak that will host the Air Festival. Air mountains serve a natural border between Sahara and Sahel and protect the latter from the approaching dunes of Sahara.
We arrive in the afternoon to set up our camp. Iferouāne is a beautiful place with oases and gardens. This is the mother town of current Niger's Prime Minister. We set up our camp in tents with our cook among the local people in order to be closer to the celebration. We will contact the organizers for the start of the big event.
Overnight in tents.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 11. February 22nd, 2019. Aïr festival in Iferouāne

For many years Iferouane was chosen the place for the great festival of Aïr, where all nomadic and semi-sedentary Touareg ethnic groups come together to share the 3 days of fest and ceremonies to the sound of music and cultural activities.
Next 1,5 days we dive deep into the culture of Touareg people – those who succeed to survive in the most inhospitable part of Africa.
We will witness traditional dances and the choice of the best dancers, the fashion show and the choice of Miss Touareg, traditional singer and also the traditional clothes, camel races and the sounds of the modern Touareg guitar.
We will attend a charming nocturnal meeting to listen to the sounds of Tendé (local music) and ancestral customs and traditions will mark the beauty of this moment.
We will be immersed in a great party atmosphere and also beautiful images of a people happy and fulfilled of its culture.
Overnight in the tent camp.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included

Day 12. February 23rd, 2019. Aïr festival in Iferouāne – Agadez

In the morning, after breakfast, we prepare our luggage and load it to the cars. We attend the ceremonies in the morning part of Air Festival.
After midday brake starts, at 12:00 p.m., we leave the site of the festival to begin our rough driving in order to return to Agadez (driving distance is 350 km). It is an interesting journey through the plain of Gougaram by an unpaved road between sand and mountains, however a long road and is in a bad condition. On the way we have quick lunch prepared by our cook.
This time we are going to make an effort to endure night driving to arrive late in Agadez.
Late check-in at the Hotel de la Paix.
Overnight in Hotel de la Paix.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.

Day 13. February 24th, 2019. Agadez – Fligth to Niamey – Return flight home

In the morning after breakfast, we wait for the appointment of our return flight to Niamey. The convocation will be around 08:30 a.m.
Our arrival in Naimey is scheduled for 14:00 p.m. Upon arrival, check-in at the Grand Hotel for the shower. A short visit of the city for last shopping.
Dinner at the restaurant and transfer to the airport for the return flight at 00:30 am or 03:00 am on 25th of February.
Day use of Grand Hotel .
Breakfast, lunch, dinner included.
Cost includes:

· flight from Niamey to Agadez (235 EUR),
· accommodation in hotels and campings according to the program on TWIN/DBL basis,
· all transfers according to the program,
· SUVs with A/C, fuel, driver, 3 passangers in 1 car,
· mineral water along the whole route,
· 3 times a day meals (hot lunches and dinners),
· mineral water along the full route,
· full board (3 times a day) meals with hot dinners and lunches,
· military security from Adadez to Iferouane, Timia and back and from Agadez to Abalak,
· all entry fees and site visits, contribution to local communities,
· participation in festivals, full arrangement of Wodaabe festival,
· camel riding, football and all activities according to the program,
· camping arrangement (tents, mattresses, room and water for taking "shower"),
· all formalities and permits,
· accompaniment of very experienced English speaking guide and Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the trip.

To be addidionally (personally) paid:

· international flight to Niamey (flight Moscow - Niamey - Moscow is approx. EUR 650 - 800)
· international medical insurance
· Niger visa (EUR 90)
· dinner in Niamey on 1st day
· single accomodation
· alcohol, souvenirs

To take with:

• 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,
• slipping bag for warm weather,
• sunblock set (cream, sunglasses, cap),
• personal hygiene items,
• personal medical kit (analgesics, sanitizers, antibiotics, your personal medicine),
• yellow fever certificate,
• photo and video camera

Best season: September – April

Annual Air festival in Iferouane among Sahara is the meeting point of the Touareg tribe where they compete in speed, beauty and alloquance. For many years Iferouane was chosen the place for the great festival of Air and where all nomadic and semi-sedentary Touareg 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 with Wodaabe on the sand

Riding on camels along the desert and an opportunity to feel like a real Touareg or even race with them :)

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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