Michael Palin explores nine fascinating countries and their cultures during a trek across the Sahara Desert.
Part 1: A Line in the Sand
Michael lands at Tangier in Morocco after crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, and passes through the High Atlas mountains after brief stops in Fez and Marrakesh. From here, the Sahawari people help him to negotiate the harsh, rugged terrain and guide him south to the Mauritanian border.
Part 2: Destination Timbuktu
After a brief stopover in cosmopolitan Senegal, Michael endures two nights aboard the train to Bamako, where he meets up with the renowned kora player Toumani Diabate. Meanwhile, the Dogon people of West Africa introduce Michael to some of their origin myths, and a trip down the River Niger turns out to be far from plain sailing.
Part 3: Absolute Desert
Michael reaches Timbuktu, one of the greatest centres of Islamic learning until the 16th century, then heads east to the Wodaabe, a land of nomadic herders. They take Michael to Ingall for the Cure Salee, an annual gathering of clans. Amidst the chaos of camel races, shopping and general mayhem, Michael meets up with a group of Tuareg for the next leg of his journey – a camel train across the Tenere desert to Algeria.
Part 4: Dire Straits
Michael arrives at the border of Niger and Algeria, the lawless, desolate region where Mark Thatcher famously got lost, and makes a quick detour into Libya to attend the last reunion of the Desert Rats of Tobruk. In Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on Morocco’s coast, Michael talks to would-be African immigrants before returning to his original starting point, Gibraltar.