Coping in the desert requires a wide range of idiosyncratic competences – of which survival often depend - that Tuareg pastoralists learn over the years: knowing the routes through the dunes and the mountains, knowing where to find water, where to find wood for the evening’s fire (and knowing which wood to select), knowing how, where and when to hunt, how to identify and where to find medicinal plants, anticipating bad weather conditions... This specific knowledge is of crucial importance for anyone carrying out long-distance business in the area.
Both these skills - the knowledge of routes and where to find water, etc. - and the underlying physical reality - the routes themselves and the water holes, etc. - are as much a part of the Tuareg network as the individuals involved or their social relationships.