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On this day last year, my friend Karin was visiting from Sweden.

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An experienced horserider, we made the best of her two-week long stay by riding out as often as possible.

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The weather was wonderful and the temperatures perfect for long ambling tours throughout the Zinder bush.

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On this particular day, we started with a visit to the Kanya Tapki (where the villagers are digging out mud), much to Sheba’s delight.

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Nothing like a good mud dip to start off a long ride!

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Don’t forget the obligatory RR shake!

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A woman who was fetching drinking water from the same tapki looked at my water-loving ridgeback with fascination.

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We continued our outing and went to see a nomad family that I had made friends with earlier. Sheba saw their baby camel and asked if we should visit.

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The baby camel, named “Chameau” by the nomads as it means camel in French, was a very sweet and photogenic little creature.

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Who can resist such a beautiful little face?

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He was also quite cuddly,

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…and even my not so overly-enthusiastic-about-every-animal-she-sees-friend Karin was quite charmed by the little one!

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Sheba also wanted to greet, knowing greetings are important in this part of the world.

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She saw the flock of sheep and asked if we should chase. The answer was no, and Sheba let them be, although you could tell that a good chase was tickling her veins… :-)

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The boys wanted to show us Baby Chameau’s mother, and brought her in from the bush where she was feeding with the other animals.

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The first thing Mother Camel did was to tell Sheba to back off!

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Sheba, knowing she had little to put up against a grown camel, ran to her human mother and sadly watched her new friend walk off. But what new friend can compete with the comforts of an other animal’s own mother? :-)

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The nomads wanted Karin to experience their life in full, and invited her to ride the camel mother. Karin will forever own my respect for not only daring to jump on top of a camel without any fear, but bareback too! That is certainly something I have never done!

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Knowing how bouncy it is even when the camel HAS a saddle, we can only imagine what Karin went through without one. Her facial expression said it all, and like I stated before, she has my fullest respect for daring to mount a camel without a saddle!

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Once she was safetly up, the nomads helped her assume position. Riding a camel is an entire field of knowledge, and a very fascination one indeed.

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When it was time to get off, Karin made sure to jump off herself before the boys got the camel mother to lie down. Once is enough!

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The camel mother however was not to blame for the slightly shocking experience and received warm cuddles from Karin.

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After we had said our goodbyes to the camel baby and his nomad family, Karin, Sheba and I continued southwest.

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The beauty of the bush never ceases to amaze me, and wherever we go, there are new sights to be experienced.

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We stopped under a palm tree and had a quick snack,

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…before continuing into the deep, untouched landscape.

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We galloped our warmblooded barbs up my favourite hilltop,

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…and enjoyed the breathtakingly beautiful view.

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This is my favourite place in the whole bush. It’s far away from home and is surrounded by untouched beauty.

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The villages in this part of the bush are so serene and peaceful. Everybody is thrilled to have foreigners visit on horseback and everybody wants to know that we haven’t lost our way.

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Eventually, it was the hours in the sun that forces us to turn back,

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…for the horses were more than willing to go further into the heart of the Zinder bush.

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The sun was quite high when we finally turned to make our way back, but our adventure was far from over…

[To be continued!]

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