Today, following years of much increased trafficking, banditry and terrorist activities, as well as nomadic rebellions and outright revolutions, tourism right across Sahara has collapsed. But it wasn't always like that. Led by the glamour of the original Dakar Rally and the advent of desert-capable motorcycles and 4x4s, the 1980s saw adventure travel flourish in the Sahara of Niger, Algeria and Mali. It’s unlikely those days will return. For once I found myself doing the right thing in the right place at the right time.
Desert Travels covers my first six desert biking trips, starting in 1982 on a ratty XT500 and winding up about a decade later with a long and fractious ride from Algeria to Mauritania via Timbuktu just before Algeria went down the pan. But most of this book describes a motorcycle tour in 1989 when I managed to scrape together half a dozen riders to follow me in a cantankerous Land Rover deep into the Algerian Sahara. Only one returned still riding.
You’ll find photos, maps and other material about the journeys described at: deserttravels.wordpress.com. A small run of Desert Travels is paperback will be available in early 2015.