by Rock Art Network
24 August 2023
NIGER - Sahara & Aïr Mountains Safari with the Trust for African Rock Art
About your guide - David Coulson, MBE
David Coulson (above) is a photographer, writer, and African explorer as well as being a specialist in African rock art. He is the founder and of TARA (the Trust for African Rock Art). His home is in Nairobi, where he lives with his wife Deborah. They have twin daughters, Daisy and Alice. In the earlier part of his career (‘80s & early ‘90s) David worked out of Kenya as a professional photographer and writer, and his books and articles were published across the world. It was during his many travels for these projects that he became aware of the richness and diversity of Africa’s rock art to which he often became exposed. One of the countries where he worked over a long period was Namibia. His book, Namibia’s coastal desert was published in London in 1991.
As a consultant to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) David also spear-headed the Focus on Your World international photo competition on the Environment in the early 1990s sponsored by Canon. The competition, of which David was also a judge, attracted 32,000 entries from 140 different countries, the biggest photo competition ever held.
In the mid-1990s, David founded TARA with the help of Dr Mary Leakey and Sir Laurens van der Post. Since its inception TARA’s work has been supported by a number of international institutions such as National Geographic, and the Getty, Ford and Andrew Mellon Foundations. Realizing that the biggest threat to this remarkable heritage was ignorance, David used his photography and international network to create a greater global awareness of the importance and endangered state of this art. His book, with the late Alec Campbell, African Rock Art, was the first major book on this heritage, on a Pan African scale.
TARA has now worked in over 20 different African countries and its work has been internationally recognized. In 2004, David received a letter from Nelson Mandela endorsing TARA’s work and, in 2005, the importance of this work was officially recognized in a filmed statement by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. In November 2022 he was awarded an MBE (medal) by King Charles 3rd at Windsor Castle for his exceptional services to the documentation and valorization of Africas rock art. A large part of David’s/TARA’s rock art image collection is now part of the British Museum’s global online collections, courtesy of the Arcadia Fund.
Day 1 - Arrive Niamey airport. Stay Grand Hotel, Niamey.
Day 2 - Grand Hotel, Niamey. Visit markets & cruise on Niger River.
Day 3 - Fly to Agadez. Visit historic 1000-year-old mosque and town. Possible Wodaabe ceremony. Stay Auberge d’Azel.
Day 4 - Drive north to Dabous. Tuareg welcome ceremony. Camp on ancient lakebed.
Day 5 - Drive to Iferouane - Adobe town. Camp near rock engraving site south of town.
Day 6 - Possible camel race near Iferouane. Drive north to Iwellene in the northern Aïr Mts. Camp in mountains next to major art site.
Day 7 - Drive south east to Tezirzek site via the Blue Mountains & the Tenere desert. Continue to Mt Chiriet volcano. Camp in the dunes near crator.
Day 8 - Drive into the crator of Chiriet and then west to a small rock art site before driving into a spectacular dune area in the Tenere. Camp.
Day 9 - Visit the great dune of Arakaou. Explore area. Continue pm to Kogo. Camp.
Day 10 - Drive south to Timia oasis. Visit palm groves & orchards. Camp near rock pool.
Day 11 - Drive south west to Agadez. Overnight at Auberge d’Azel.
Day 12 - Fly to Niamey - Overnight Grand Hotel.
Day 13 - Depart Niger.
Fully inclusive cost of Safari - $14,500 per person (price to be confirmed on application.)
Note from the Editor: 'I have been on this safari with David several years ago; it was fantastic! Unforgettable." Peter Robinson, Bradshaw Foundation July 2023. Comment