SLAVES

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1924 ARTICLE INTRO
SENUSSIS
SIWA
AMERICAN SHEIK
THE SANDSTORM
THE CARAVAN
JALO
BIBO
TEA AND RICE
LEADERSHIP
HELPING BIRDS
TRAGEDY
KUFRA
DESERT CHIVALRY
SLAVES
THE UNKNOWN
CAMEL AND MAN
EXTREMES
NIGHT TREKS
BY THE STARS
OUENAT
ROCK CARVINGS
END OF JOURNEY
Glossary
Editors Notes

 

MEN SLAVES AT HALF PRICE

The Bedouins still buy and sell slaves, but the trade is inconsiderable nowadays.

When I was in Cyrenaica on my first visit, in 1916, I was offered a slave girl for $24; now the girl costs $150. Men are cheaper—about half price!

Only by the use of the letters from Sayed Idris was I permitted to remain in Kufra sufficiently long to rest my men and animals. Despite the intrigues of a faction of Bedouins who were ill-disposed toward me, the stay in this fertile oasis was full of interest. It had been visited previously by only three travelers from the outside world—the German explorer. Rohlfs in 1879, and Mrs. McGrath (Rosita Forbes) and myself in 1921.

It was during our short halt at Kufra that I learned for the first time of the (p252) [photo] (p253) recent arrival of a French military, reconnaissance party at Sara well,[16] which lay on my proposed line of march to Wadai by the beaten trade route.

Camel Death: Photo by Ahmed Bey Hassanein on 1923

A VICTIM OF THE DESERT: ONE OF THE CAMELS LOST ON THE TREK FROM KUFRA TO ARKENU (SEE TEXT, PAGE 270) [photo page 252]

 

A Kufra House: Photo by Ahmed Bey Hassanein on 1923

SAYED MOHAMMED EL ABED'S HOUSE IN KUFRA

Hanging from the tripods are sheepskins of water left to cool in the shade, and beneath them are shallow copper pans. In the foreground is a teapot. [photo page 253]

 

Leaving Kufrat to the Unknown: Photo by Ahmed Bey Hassanein on 1923

LEAVING KUFRA FOR THE TREK INTO THE UNKNOWN

The route from this point to Erdi, by way of Arkenu and Ouenat, had never before been traversed by one from the outside world. [photo page 253]

 

Desert Birds: Photo by Ahmed Bey Hassanein on 1923

BEFRIENDING A ROBIN THAT HAD FALLEN EXHAUSTED ON ITS WAY FROM EQUATORIAL AFRICA TO EUROPE TO SPEND THE SUMMER

The walking stick, with a brass ferule and an ivory knob, was mistaken by some of the blacks for a gun. In his right hand the author is holding a glass of water from which the bird has just drunk (see text, page 247). [photo page 254]

 

With the Sara district now among the explored places of the desert, there was only a short strip of untraversed territory lying between it and Kufra.

I thereupon determined to cut across from Kufra by an unfrequented route which might lead to the lost oases of Arkenu and Ouenat. There had long been a tradition that these oases existed in or near the southwest corner of Egypt. On a map published by Justus Perthes, of Gotha, in 1892, a small unnamed oasis and well were indicated in latitude 21º 51' and longitude 23º 3', and another uninhabited oasis, unnamed, about thirty miles due east.

It is presumed that both these oases had been placed on the map as the result of vague Arab statements; for, according to all available records, they had never visited by an explorer. Indeed, their very existence was so doubtful that they had not been shown on the maps either of the English or of the French General Staff.

In Mr. W. J. Harding King's paper of 1913, on "The Libyan Desert from Native Information," there is a statement to the effect that he had heard of a place called Owana, or Owanat, halfway along a road from Merga to Kufra, where there was a well and green grass after rain. Mr. King placed the oasis at a distance of more than 80 miles from the nearer of the two oases shown on the German map.

If these oases could be found I knew that they would prove of (p254) exceptional value to my country, for they would provide a possible new route of desert travel from Egypt into regions of the Libyan Desert which are still unexplored.

 

Mt Arkenu: Photo by Ahmed Bey Hassanein on 1923

THE CARAVAN APPROACHING ARKENU EARLY IN THE MORNING

Sunlight piercing a gap in the mountain wall throws a white streak across the sands resembling water. [photo page 255]

 


 

[16] This apparently was the party headed by Bruneau de Laborie which had come from the Gulf of Guinea by way of Lake Chad. From Sara well de Laborie subsequently reached Kufra and thence proceeded by way of Jalo, to SiwaEditor of The Geographic.

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