In 1975, the old ksar was more than half ruined and would not have lasted many years. Fortunately, it has been entirely restored and is a main element of the touristic development of Taghit. As far as I know it hosts a hotel and a restaurant but I am not absolutely sure of that information.more
On top of the Grande Dune de Taghit, you have a magnificent landscape of the Grand Erg Occidental. The best time to view this landscape is either early morning or late afternoon. There are no roads and few camel trails that go a long way into the Grand Erg Occidental. However, it is possible to hire a guide and camels to make a round trip in the...more
Climbing the dune is exhausting so, when you go down, you must do it as fun. Actually, this is not very different from ski at the turn of the century (of the XIXth!): there were no ski lifts and you had to climb for, let us say, one hour and then slide for two minutes! In the sand, this is almost the same. You can run down and go a fat as possible....more
These two photos (especially the second) show well how dunes are built. The sand is blown by the wind and goes up, up and up until it reaches the sif. At that point, just behind the sif, there is no wind and the sand, blown as a cloud, falls down. Thus the whole is moving with the wind but given the number of sand grains, though small dunes can...more
If you look closely to thesqe two photos, you will see that the dunes are asymmetrical. This is because there is a wind that blows almost always from the same direction. The slope of the dune is rather mild windward. The edge of the dune is called in Arab "sif", which also means "sabre". It is acute as a sabre. The other side, where the grains of...more
If you enlarge this photo, you will see that the parts where there is "living" sand (which means sand that move with the wind), nothing grows, while in the bottoms, bushes grow very well. They are mostly Tamarix (very close to the one we found in temperate climates close to the sea) and Drin (%Aristida pungens*), an excellent feed for camels.more
Eucalyptus are trees that like a warm climate but they are not really desert trees. They grow only when they have plenty of water in the subsoil. The fact that this young Eucalyptus grow well tells very clearly that the water table is very close to the surface and that Eucalyptus roots reach it easily.more
This photo offers the view from the Grande dune towards the south, showing the eastern part of the oasis. It shows clearly that Taghit is a valley oasis, opposed to "well" oasis that grow around one or several wells or to "spring" oasis such as Nefta or Tozeur, that grow around a group of springs.more
When in Taghit, climbing the “Grande dune" is a must. Actually, visitors to Taghit are visitors to the “Grande dune". As it is almost 300m high, you have better make it in the early morning, when it is still cool. Even early, it is already more than warm (April)! Bring water with you!more
Cameras are not friend with sand but camera owners love to make pictures of sand! This is a dilemma that can be overcome if you are very careful. Do not keep your cameras in the open! The following is what I do myself when in a sandy area.
First, I wrap each camera or lens in a plastic bag (freezer bag) that I just fold. Then, I wrap the bag in a clean and sand free towel that I slip into a larger plastic bag that again I fold. I put each of these packets in my regular camera bag.
Only when I want to take a few shots, do I take one camera out and unwrap it with my back turned towards the wind. That way, my body will protect the camera as much as possible from any possible sand.
Avoid as much as possible opening the camera to change the lens in a windy and sandy area.
In the evening, I dust the whole material, cameras, bags, towel, in a sand free place (as sand free as possible in the middle of the desert), which can be the car, if driving. A soft brush combined with an air blower is very useful.
One trick I forgot: if you have large pockets, you might be used to slip your camera in the pocket of your jacket. In the Sahara, do not! Pockets are amazingly efficient traps to collect sand!