Pullar and I got up a 6:45 and cooked up fried spud for breakfast then at 8:30 a guy called Ali arrived to take us to our appointed camel ride.
We met our 2 Tuareg guides waiting with 8 camels saddled up and ready to go. Mounting up was a new experience and you must ride in bare feet which is traditional and protects the camel’s neck from abrasion as you rest your feet on the back of its neck. You brace yourself by holding on to the three-pronged pommel with one hand and grabbing a handful of hair on the hump behind you with the other.
The camel stands up back feet first and with much groaning and protesting. Their motion is a kind of back and forth swaying and the saddles are far from comfortable! The Tuareg guides mounted up by holding the camel’s nose (!) then putting a foot on its knee, then a foot on the back of the neck then swinging over into the saddle.
It took 2 3/4 hours for the camels to plad their was up the “Le Source”, a mineral spring 12 kilometres from Tamanrasset. When we arrived our guides unsaddled and hobbled the camels then turned them loose to browse on the nearby thorn trees. We walked up to the comfortable and well-run cafe where we drank tea, coffee and cola and had omelette for lunch. I clambered up the rocky slope behind the cafe to see what I could see but only further slopes of broken rock rose around me and the view out across the plain was one of arid, eroded hills with thorn trees dotted about.
We spent 2 hours at Le Source then went back to where the guids were waiting for us and watched while they caught and re-saddled the camels.
The return trip on the swaying “ships of the desert” seemed to take forever but eventually we arrived, stiff and sore, back at camp.
I had a shower which stopped just as I had finished soaping up so I dried the soap off and went to bed feeling the effects of the shits and my cold which seems to have returned.