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Advice to the Novice

The greatest danger in crossing the Sahara probably lies in not taking it seriously. When political issues are not a major concern, many people cross the Sahara without problems. Roads have been vastly improved over the last decades, and only a few stretches remain that must be taken off-road. On these distances, the local authorities are usually notified by radio communication, and are expecting you when you arrive. Should you not turn up in time, they will start searching for you. However, people have died in the past, and still do, occasionally. So don't do silly things, like bringing insufficient amounts of water, or driving dangerously. Desert driving is not a game. If you are planning to cross the Sahara for the first time, be prudent, do not travel alone, and make sure you travel with people you can rely on. You should travel in a group with at least 2 vehicles, so that if one of them would break down, there would still be one left. Cars do break down in the Sahara. Once you get there, you will see the wrecks for yourself. When Eden crossed the Sahara for the first time in 1986, we counted the wrecks along the road. Between Tamanrasset and Arlit, there were more than 200. Today there are fewer, as many of them have been cleaned up.

Finally, political issues are a concern in many Saharan countries today, so make sure you feel safe about a country before entering it.

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