Page 28. " They go to seek their fortune in the M'Zab. "

The M'zab is a valley in the northern Sahara in the Ghardaïa wilaya "province" of Algeria, around 500 km south of Algiers. The region was annexed by the French in 1882, becoming part of their North African colonies. At its centre is Ghardaia, a cluster of five medieval walled settlements located on rocky outcrops, each centred round a fortress-like mosque, whose minaret also operates a watchtower. Ghardaia is one of the major oasis groups of the Sahara desert and life there was correspondingly strict, insular and traditional.

Page 29. " The girls dance in the cafes of Ghardaia, but they are always sad; they still want to have tea in the Sahara. "
Tea in the Sahara
Creative Commons AttributionTea in the Sahara - Credit: Martijn Munneke

English pop group The Police used the tragic story of the three dancers from Ghardaia who wish to have tea in the desert as the basis of their song, Tea in the Sahara (Synchronicity, 1983). The song includes the phrase: "beneath the sheltering sky."

Listen on Spotify: Tea in the Sahara



Page 30. " I see a dune over there. It's much higher and we can see all the way to In Salah from it. So they go to it, and it is much higher. But when they get to the top, Aicha says: Look! There's the highest dune of all. We can see to Tamanrasset. "

View towards Tamanrasset
Creative Commons AttributionView towards Tamanrasset - Credit: Angeoun, Flickr
In Salah is an oasis town in central Algeria, in the heart of the Sahara. Although it means "good well", the water there is known for its unpleasant, salty taste. Tamanrasset is an oasis city and capital of Tamanrasset Province in southern Algeria, in the Ahaggar Mountains. It is the chief city of the Algerian Tuareg.

Page 46. " We're about to go down to Fort Charlet now. Do you know it? "

Fort Charlet is one of many military forts built across the Sahara by the French and Italians throughout the last century and a half. Fort Charlet lies near Djanet, an oasis city in southeast Algeria. It was built on the orders of Captain Edouard Charlet in 1911.

Fort Charlet
Public DomainFort Charlet