Trail across Sahara desert
The Tuareg caravan is one of the two last salt caravan routes in the Sahara that are still in use. Both caravans have largely been replaced by unpaved truck routes. Each winter Tuareg caravans cross Niger’s Ténéré Desert to fetch salt from the Bilma oasis and barter millet for dates. The salt was then transported and traded in Koumbi Saleh, Niani, and Timbuktu for ivory, hides, copper, iron, cereals, and even gold dust. Salt was a scarce but highly valued and essential mineral when the Ténéré region became drier and fresh, salt containing plant food was hard to find. Salt was needed to stay hydrated in the hot desert, to preserve dried meat and to give food more flavor. In...