20-Apr-2002 -- I have been coming to Niger for almost five years now and have visited Agadez, the fabled desert city, by air, but hadn't had the chance to travel there by road until recently. We took a two-vehicle convoy of 5 persons and drove from Niamey, the capital, just over 950 kilometers east and north into the Sahara, arriving in Agadez after a very long day but no trouble to speak of, except that we had to fill my gas tank from a jerrycan since Agadez is over 400 kilometers from the nearest city (Tahoua) and that exceeded the range of my little Suzuki.
Agadez is one of the major points for trans-Saharan expeditions nowadays, and in former times it was a center for the caravan trade, situated on routes from Timbuktu to Makka and from the West African coast to the Maghrib. It is now a city of around 100,000 people and is reachable from the south by a fairly good paved road. To the north are the Aïr Mountains and to the east is the great sea of sand known as the Erg of Ténéré, more than 9000 square miles (23,000 km²) of shifting dunes. A paved road leads northwest towards the uranium mines and the Algerian border.
We put up for the night at a small guesthouse made of adobe in the New Mexico architectural style. ($2.00 per night per person!) It was too hot inside to sleep so we moved our beds outside and put up mosquito nets. Fortunately I had my battery-operated fan with me so I slept well. Before going to bed I checked my GPS again and found I was 2.19 kilometers south of 17 degrees north, 8 east. This would be an easy hike the next morning while it was still reasonably cool. One of my traveling companions, Carlos, became interested in the Confluence project and decided to accompany me.
We got up early the next morning and followed the pointer north towards the outskirts of Agadez. We soon left the built-up area and passed a gendarmerie headed off through the sand and scrub. Nearing the confluence we arrived at a nomad camp with straw huts and a few adobe buildings. The GPS indicated the Confluence was in the shade of a couple of thorn bushes. Carlos moved around until the GPS read all zeros and we shot a picture of it. We thus captured the second Confluence in Niger and the first in the Nigérien Sahara.