Erg of Bilma

Erg of Bilma

The Erg of Bilma is a Dune Sea ("Erg") in the Ténéré desert region of the south central Sahara. The Erg of Bilma stretches from Fachi, east of the Aïr Mountains in north central Niger, east past the town of Bilma, on to the Chadian border. It surrounds on three sides the oasis of Bilma, southernmost of a north south string of oasies of the Kaouar rise.

The ancient Bornu Empire to Fezzan caravan routes had to cross the dunes of the erg south of Bilma as the last major obstacle before reaching the sahel. While that traffic largely ceased after 1820, trade though the erg of Bilma continues from the Lake Chad region and the Termit Massif on a small scale. [Jolijn Geels. Niger. Bradt London and Globe Pequot New York (2006). ISBN 1841621528.]

Traditionally, the Erg of Bilma was crossed by the yearly Tuareg 'Azalay' caravans, transporting salt and dates produced in the Kaouar west to Agadez where they would meet the Trans-Saharan trade routes.

Today these routes have been supplanted by truck traffic through the Ténéré to the north of the dunes. The Erg of Bilma has become a tourist attraction, with short camel caravans transporting tourists to its oases.


*Samuel Decalo. Historical Dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow Press, London and New Jersey (1979). ISBN 0810812290

External links

* [ Prof. Dr. R. Baumhauer] at [ The University of Trier's Geography center] has produced a number of papers on the Geography and Paleogeography of the Erg of Bilma.
* [ Surviving the Sahara] : National Geographic, December 2002.

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