Libya Engraving
Ubari Sand Sea
Chatting in the Sahara
Culturissima picture

Features

The copy opposite was commissioned by a Franco-Algerian tour company to advertise one of its circuits in the Sahara desert.

This is an extract from the material researched and written by Dr David Winter, who has travelled extensively in the desert (including by bike) over the past twenty years.

Crocodiles and Giraffes in the Sahara

Expert Algeria's Djanet and Tassili adventure focuses on the Sahara's mountainous Tassili region, nudging Libya to the east and Niger to the south. This immense swathe of desert is distinguished by its towering dunes of sand, its sheer-sided canyons and its beguiling "forests of rock" – including the gigantesque sandstone "mushrooms" at Timras.

The Tassili - "plateau of the rivers" in Arabic - is an open-air treasure-trove of more than 15,000 rock carvings and cave paintings that depict the pre-historic animals that once roamed freely across the fertile Sahara: crocodiles, cattle and giraffes, including the evocatively-entitled “Crying Cow”, the “Elephant” and “Nutcracker”.

Our initiation into the Saharan way of life will begin in the white-washed oasis town of Djanet before heading out across the Tassili's intoxicating landscape of palm-groves, wadis and dunes by camel, on foot and by jeep. Our five-day itinerary will spend a night or two under the Saharan stars as we we track down the region's gueltas, the desert water-holes that sustain the Tassili's Tuareg nomads.

We will also seek out the tarout, the endemic Saharan cypress trees that are over 2,000 years old... but we cannot guarantee that we will lay eyes one of the Sahara's most extra-ordinary living creatures - crocodylus niloticus, an indigenous dwarf crocodile!