Launched late last year, the Hidden Journeys Project aims to enliven the flying experience and transform it into a fascinating exploration of the people, places and environments thousands of metres below by providing inspiring information to air travellers about the parts of the world they fly over (www.hiddenjourneys.co.uk).
The latest guide to be released explores the fascinating landscapes of Northern Africa, covering the Kufra oasis, the Tibesti Mountains, Lake Chad and Abuja along the flight path from Cairo to Lagos.
The flight path between Cairo and Lagos crosses some of the driest parts of the planet. Yet these inhospitable places are inhabited by millions of people who rely on crucial water from the most surprising of places: from the annual floods of the Nile which supports farming in Egypt, to the ancient aquifer that underlies the Libyan Desert, to the shrinking Lake Chad that supports 30 million people.
However, an ever-growing population is putting strain on this finite water supply as billions of litres are consumed each year to quench cities and irrigate crops.
For example the Great Man-Made River Project in Libya threatens to drain the underground aquifer that has supported life here for thousands of years, Lake Chad has shrunk to a hundredth of its original size and rapid expansion of the city of Lagos has led to reclaiming of land from its vital coastal habitats.
At either end of this flight path are the two largest cities in Africa: both are dynamic, vibrant mega-cities which grow by thousands of people each year. In contrast to these cities, and as a demonstration of the incredible diversity which exists in Africa, is the fascinating story of life in the desert that has gone on for centuries.
[Sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Hidden Journeys]