I guess every explorer is searching for some blank spot on his or her map. I have been fortunate to find some. However, this one is different. It’s a seminal spot.Imagine a seep of clear cold water emerging from desert springs in a sandstone gorge, somewhere in the Sahara. A legendary oasis lost in time. Or is it timelessness? The remote Guelta, incredibly, is home for 4 desert adapted Western African crocodiles. It’s believed that some 6000 years ago the Sahara was a vast wetland, but as conditions changed into the desert we know today, this croc outpost became stranded within a sea of sand. The 4 crocodiles are literally the last remnants of a relic population. In order to survive on a meagre supply of fish and amphibians they have resorted to dwarfism. They are seeing out time. Evolution before our eyes.
The desert is like that; nothing is as it seems.
There is a great starkness here, not only in the outer landscapes but also within the inner landscapes of travelers passing through. Because of this day, and those crocodiles in the pool below, I commit to living with less impact than before. Less, as they say, is more. The primitivity of the desert, and it’s conservation, is essential for us all. This is Guelta d’Archei.