Djanet Travel Guide

  • Djanet
    by JLBG
  • Djanet
    by JLBG
  • Things to Do
    by JLBG

Djanet Things to Do

  • Touareg with sunglasses

    We have seen that the Touaregs wore their best traditional clothes from head to feet.. Oops not exactly, as they most of the time wear walking shoes (see other tip) and sometimes wear sun glasses that are of great use in the desert. Besides that, everything in the clothing is traditional. The indigo colored Tagelmoust is very expensive and not all...

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  • Close up on a high ranked Kel Ajjer

    Enlarge the picture to fully admire the clothes of this high ranked Kel Ajjer. He does not seem to be one of the dancers, as he has not the Takounbout (helmet). However, he is fully closed in the traditional way of the Touaregs, with a gandoura and a tagelmoust colored with indigo. This indigo colors the skin of the people who wear the clothes,...

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  • S'Biba dancer.

    He should wear the traditional sandals called Tanba. It seems this is not an important part of the outfit as actually, this one, as well as the others, wears light walking shoes called in France "Pataugas", with a rubber sole and the top made of strong cloth. He holds his takouba upside down, which is a sign of peace.

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  • Close up on a male dancer and a female...

    This picture shows a close up of a female musician. She has much less jewels than the previous and seems younger. The male dancer has an outfit that is worn only for celebrations. It has several stripes of dark blue, red and black that makes a cross on the chest. He wears a helmet called "takounbout" with silver engraved triangles hanging. He holds...

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  • More musicians in the parade.

    All the musicians and singers are women. None of them is veiled. That is something specific of the Touareg culture that women do not hide their face. Traditionally, the musician and singers belong to the same family and live in the hamlet of Azeluaz.

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  • Close up on a musician

    This picture is a close up of one of those Touareg woman musicians resting. The small drum is called "tindé". It is made of wood and a goat's skin. The woman holds several silver bracelets on her arms, heavy ear rings with several silver triangles and a huge golden pectoral hanging. If you look at her feet, she is not wearing traditional sandals...

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  • Musicians in the parade.

    Just behind the Touareg dancers (there is one on the right of the picture, in the foreground, half blurred), a group of musician plays drums, clap their hands and sing the Tisseouay. Unfortunately, it is not possible to give here a sample of Touareg music and songs. The main street is not paved and the musicians raise a lot of sand in the air.

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  • Dancers in the parade

    Just after the camel and their cameleer, half a dozen male Touareg dancers walk and dance the "Tahemmet" while the women (behind) play the music. The Tahemmet is a dance that means victory and joy. On the right, children from the Djanet school, lead by their teacher (the tall guy with glasses) are watching the show. The teacher was coming from...

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  • Close up on a camel and its cameleer.

    The Touareg saddle is a very expensive piece of art. The seat is a small board set in front with a decorated part that is topped by a cross made of carved brass. It is called the Agades cross. The back is also made of wood and carved brass. Caution, both the back and the front are for the décor. When you ride a camel with a Touareg saddle, you must...

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  • Parade of the camels

    The beginning of the feast will be a parade of a dozen of camels mounted by their Touareg owners clad in their best outfits and walking two by two. There are also camel races that take place outside the city but it was not while we were in Djanet.

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  • Two Touaregs waiting for the feast to...

    On top of a boulder, two Touaregs are chatting while they are waiting for the feast to begin. The one on the left (enlarge the picture) wears the traditional blue gandoura and an elegant white litham that is arranged for a celebration day: the top is very wide, almost a disk; the lower part covers the mouth and the nose. He holds a crop made of...

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  • Group of women waiting for the feast to...

    On this picture, a group of women is waiting for the feast to begin. One little boy is on top of an elderly woman's shoulders (grand mother, aunt ?) in order to have a better view of the big celebration.

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  • Two Touaregs

    Two Touaregs are heading for the feast. One, on the left, has a regular gandoura (tunic) and a white litham (arab) or tagelmoust (tamacheck). He might be of a lower cast and does not own a ceremony blue litham. The Touareg on the right wears the traditional blue tagelmoust that will be better seen on another picture. He wears also the traditional...

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  • Women going for the S'Biba

    Women have dressed in their better clothes. The wear brightly colored traditional dresses, often interwoven with glittering golden or silvery wires. They all wear a scarf to protect from sun and sand but never cover their face. Only men do.

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  • The S'Biba or Sebeiba

    Every year, about 30 days after the Moslem feast of the Aïd, at the beginning on the month (moon calendar) of Moharam, the S'Biba, the traditional feast of Djanet takes place and lasts several days. It is prepared in El Mihan and Zelouze, two of the hamlets of Djanet. The chiefs (Chouyoukhe) select those who will dance on the tenth day, called...

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  • Young girl in yellow

    This older girl in a yellow souria (traditional dress), wearing a black scarf, was evidently going to the well to collect water when she has seen us. She too, prefers to remain at a safe distance but she is curious and watches at us !

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  • Young girl in red

    This young girl in a red dress is puzzled by visitors but remains carefully at some distance ! She is very dark skinned with Negroid features. She might be a Haratin. The Haratin were slaves that cultivated the palm groves and gardens for the Touaregs. Though not slave any more, they very often are cultivators but have also, faster than the...

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  • The Inned (smith)

    Traditionally, the Touaregs being noble do not work on craft. Craftsmen are a separate group, the Ineden (singular Inned), that do not marry with Touaregs. Their name means "those that cannot be named". They are usually dark skinned without any Negroid characters. Their origin is unknown. Some consider that they might have Jewish ancestry

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  • Touareg with a takouba

    While a group of three Touaregs are talking under the shade of a palm tree, on the right of the picture, in the center, another Touareg is walking towards the left. If you enlarge the picture, you will see that he is wearing a takouba. A takouba is a traditional sward. As far as I know, it has no practical use (not any more !) but is worn as a sign...

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  • Oued Djanet

    Oued Djanet is usually dry but scarce vegetation, here a palm the on the right, another, younger, on the left shows that some moisture remains in the ground, underneath the surface. In the middle of the picture, a women with her son hurry towards the palm grove with a basket on her head.

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  • Djanet, dates drying on the roof

    The roofs are terraces made of clay that has been spread over palm trees trunks covered with palm leaves. As the walls, it will not resist very long to rain but it is very fresh and keeps the houses cool. Organic air conditioning ! The terraces are used to keep crops out of reach of goats and dry them. Here dates from last autumn are drying. Low...

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Djanet Transportation

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    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    In 1974, the airport was a mere natural sand tarmac fenced with barbed wires and two "zeribas" (on the right), light shelter made of plait reed. There are now a few concrete buildings that are certainly much hotter than the cool old reed zeribas but this is progress, isn’t it !
    As far as I know, even in 2005, only flights from Algiers (with possible stop over in Ghardaïa) connect with Djanet. However, I have to check this information.

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    • Desert

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Djanet Warnings and Dangers

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    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    It is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to collect any stones and/or prehistoric artifacts. Luggages are thoroughly checked at Djanet airport. If you had any of these, you would have a very heavy fine and would be jailed.

    In 2003, a group of German tourists were lost in the desert. When the army found them, they were found to have prehistoric artifacts in their luggage and were jailed.

    Five German tourists that had collected stones and prehistoric artifacts have been arrested on November 20th 2004 in the Erg Admer, 90 km from Djanet. At the end of the trial, on November 29th, they were sentenced 3 month jail and a total of 35.2 million dinars fine (about 350,000 euros) and the seizure of their two vehicles.

    Because of extensive theft of archeological artifacts, the trail from Djanet to Tamanrasset has been closed in April 2005.

    Even if locals want to sell you some artifact, do not buy, you will get into big trouble !

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Djanet What to Pack

  • Read more Roger-Frison-Roche books !

    Following from first tip. 1950 Le Grand Désert. Photos Georges Tairraz. Arthaud Grenoble. 1952 Bivouacs sous la lune : La Montagne aux Ecritures tome 2. Arthaud Grenoble. 1954 Le Rendez-vous d'Essendilène. Arthaud Grenoble (in Italian as "Apputamento a Essendilène" and in Slovenian as "Sestanek u Essendilenu"). 1961 Sahara de l'Aventure. Arthaud...

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  • Read Roger Frison-Roche books !

    Roger Frison-Roche, born in Paris in 1906, died in 2000. He was a mountain guide and a famous writer. He split his life between Chamonix and the Sahara and wrote about 30 novels, half on Chamonix and half on the Sahara. Many were big successes and several have been made as films.He was in 1935, with Coche, the first to climb the Garet El Djenoun...

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  • Djanet Hotels

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Djanet Off The Beaten Path

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Written Jun 29, 2005

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    When you taste pickled capper, you would never believe that if the flower bud had been left to flourish instead of being dropped into vinegar, it would have given this superb flower.
    Capper, Capparis spinosa is a spiny wine that grows in rocks cracks, in old walls in the whole Northern Africa. The flower, shown here, has a strong and amazing scent of vanilla and chocolate that can be felt several meters ahead.

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Djanet Favorites

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  • A guelta

    A guelta is a crack between two rocks with a waterproof bottom where water gathers each time there is a rain and stay for years, evaporating slowly. This is the water we are drinking when trekking in the Tassili N'ajjer (see my page, to come)

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  • A guelta

    A guelta is a crack between two rocks with a waterproof bottom where water gathers each time there is a rain and stay for years, evaporating slowly. This is the water we are drinking when trekking in the Tassili N'ajjer (see my page, to come)

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  • Tassili and oued

    This picture shows clearly a Tassili very deeply carved by an oued. If you enlarge the picture, you will see that the surface of the plateau (Tassili) is also carved. This explains that Tassili N'Ajjer can be visited only by foot and on camel back.

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Explore Deeper into Djanet
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