Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Books on the Sahara(1)
Books on the Sahara(2)
Books on African Art
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 Club Newsletter
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club
Today's African News

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________

 

 

Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Books on the Sahara(1)
Books on the Sahara(2)
Books on African Art
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 Club Newsletter
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club
Today's African News

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________

 

L'Arbre du Ténéré—(1)



The Arbre du Ténéré is unique in being the only tree to be shown on a map at a scale of 1:4,000,000

Click here for photographs and descriptions of the Tree of Ténéré from 1939 and 1959

The article below appeared in Revue Bois et Forets des Tropieques No. 153 (sic) Jan/Feb 1974

 

The Ténéré has become the 'zone apart' (in Targui language) and is sometimes called the desert within the desert. Dunes surround this desert region, however one crosses the Ténéré, from west to east, it the dunes which for about 700 km. join Agadez to Bilma, passing the Tazole Well, the Tree of Ténéré and the Fachi Oasis.

The Azalai cross these dunes with their salt caravans, bringing millet from Agadez to be exchanged with salt and dates from Bilma. Sometimes there were two caravans a year - the winter one and a smaller one in the spring; isolated groups could have been attacked by bandits and the important caravans were formed with more than 10,000 camels.

On the dunes a thorny Acacia belonging in all probability to the species Acacia raddiana called 'Tafagag' or 'Afaga' in the tamachek tongue could be seen from a great distance, with its two distinct trunks, forming a 'Y' and a parasol shape, despite the fact that its height was not more than three metres.

Solitary, isolated in the plain, absolutely unique, this silhouette was a focal point of rest—the first, or the last, according in which direction one was travelling, and it was understandable that it was marked on the maps in heavy characters despite the fact that the dunes themselves were abundantly marked by the white bones of camels.

Henri Lhote, in his book, L'épopée du Ténéré described his two journeys to the Tree of Ténéré. The first time was in 1934 on the occasion of the first automobile liaison between Djanet and Agadez. He describes the tree as an Acacia with a degenerative trunk, sick or ill in aspect. Nevertheless, the tree has nice green leaves, and some yellow flowers'.

The second time is twenty-five years after, on 26 November 1959 with the Berliet-Ténéré mission, but Lhote no longer recognises the Tree. 'Before, this tree was green and with flowers; now it is a colourless thorn tree and naked. I cannot recognise it—it had two very distinct trunks. Now there is only one, with a stump on the side, slashed, rather than cut a metre from the soil. What has happened to this unhappy tree? Simply, a lorry going to Bilma has struck it… but it has enough space to avoid it… the taboo, sacred tree, the one which no nomad here would have dared to have hurt with his hand... this tree has been the victim of a mechanic...'

…But several questions must be asked: How is it that a tree was born and grew up in this desert zone was spared from destruction by the numerous nomads who were certainly tempted to cut the branches for fire and make tea - not to mention the camels who would eat the leaves and thorns?

If the Ténéré Tree was the only one in that area, there are in the region others; arborescent shrubs belonging to the species Acacia raddiana and some people here thought that is was the survivor of a group having subsisted on the existence of an ancient water hole.

During the winter of 1938-9 a well was dug near the Tree. According to Lhote the water is at 33 metres and the bottom at more than 36 m. The Sgt. Lamotte who constructed the well found the roots of the tree at 35 m deep on level with the water table.

The Tree of Ténéré could have been 300 years old. Some studies of the rings or a carbon dating 14 will perhaps give a precise age, but the tree formerly had two or even three trunks. The oldest part of the Tree will be the correlation with the common stump of these stumps, and not a split off section.

…If the Tree of Ténéré has been protected, perhaps for several centuries, it is because it was considered as Taboo by the Touareg—probably because of its interest as a landmark and as a symbol of life—in any case, the tribal order which protected the Tree was strong and respected.

Note: the Tree is now in the museum at Niamey, capital of Niger.

 

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Rock Art Chariot