Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Travel Guide

  • Plants in the Sahara
    Plants in the Sahara
    by JLBG
  • Tassili, Tin Aboteka, dancing figures
    Tassili, Tin Aboteka, dancing figures
    by JLBG
  • Sun set in the Tassili
    Sun set in the Tassili
    by JLBG

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Things to Do

  • Getting closer to oued Tissoukal

    To get closer to the ghost city, we have to walk on another typical landscape of the Sahara, the "hammada" (first photo), ie an almost flat surface of bare rock that has been darkened by the "desert varnish". I quote Trekki to explain what is the desert varnish :During my travels in Southwest US, I often came across these funny vertical stripes on...

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  • Tea!

    Though tea has only been introduced among the Tuaregs at the beginning of the 20th century, it is now a main part of the Tuareg's tradition and a well known ceremony. Ali, our cook, heat his kettles. The ones for tea are the green ones (always made in China). The kettle is loaded with green tea, mint leaves and some sugar. Second photo. When it has...

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  • Plants in the Sahara

    There are plenty of plants in the Sahara. They are often thorny and always adapted to drought but can have delicate flowers. Because of overgrazing, they are not always easy to identify.This is the case with Antinea's lavander (Lavandula Antinea), named after the legendary queen of the Touregs.The second photo shows Artemisia herba-alba, a...

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  • Landscape of the Tassili

    As much as we are walking, as much the landscape changes. Here, we are walking on a narrow lane winding among scattered stones that obviously have been detached by erosion from the rocky mountains that stand on our left.However, the landscape is not completely mineral. In the foreground, you can see a branch of a small tree, Laperrine's olive tree...

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  • Croix d'Agadès

    Croix d'Agadès (Agadez cross) is standing in front of the Tuareg's camel saddle but it is also a jewel, most often as a silver pendant. It actually has nothing to do with a cross but has been named that way by Europeans. It can have different shapes but the overall design is given on the picture.

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  • Tassili, camel fitted with saddle

    Pierre, our French guide had his own camel, a beautiful, tall animal and of course his own saddle. For a Tuareg, the saddle is very important. The most beautiful saddles are made by Tuaregs from Niger. They can be very expensive, depending of their décor. Typical prices can range from 300 to 1000 euros but it can be even more.Let us enlarge the...

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  • Tassili, camels waiting departure

    At night, camels are let free but fettered. Like that, they can graze around but will not go too far. Actually, not too far can mean several kilometers and very early in the morning (still at night), each cameleer had collected his animals. They were now staying quiet, around the bivouac, while the cameleers began to load them.

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  • Tassili, bivouac at Oued Tadjouit Ouit

    The first photo shows our first bivouac, at Oued Tadjouit Ouit, in the plain, at elevation 1,200m, before climbing on the plateau. It was taken after sun dawn. You can see that only the mountains are still lit. Each of us chose where he wanted to drop his 2.5 cm thick mattress and unroll his sleeping bag.The second photo shows the bivouac when it...

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  • Tassili butcher!

    In the desert, there are always oleanders growing around every "guelta" (water holes) or along every "oued" (dry river bed). It is highly toxic and local camels do not feed on it. Camels coming from the south do not know that as there are no oleanders growing south to the Sahara. One of the camels from the merchants from Mali had eaten oleander and...

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  • Tassili, dinner at the first bivouac

    At the first bivouac, we had our first desert dinner. First of all, a "gongon" passes from one hand (and mouth!) to another. You can see two of them, one on the right, the other on the left of the first photo. It is a green 1 liter pot made of enameled iron, Chinese made. Pierre (our French guide) fills it with water taken out of a guerba (goat...

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  • Merchants from Mali

    At Oued Tadjouit Ouit, the meeting point with our cameleers, there was already a group of merchants from Mali, that went across the desert to sell artifacts made in their country.The second photo shows one of theses Tuaregs in the traditional outfit worn daily, different from the celebration outfit shown on my Djanet page.The last photo shows our...

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  • Sheep grazing

    The meeting point with our camels and cameleers was a few kilometers away from Djanet, at the foot of the cliffs that lead to the plateau, the "Tassili". We first met a flock of sheeps grazing the abundant vegetation (yes, it is abundant!).In the Sahara, the sheeps are tall and often of various colors (second photo) They look almost like hornless...

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  • Final photo

    We had of course to take a photo of our group of 9 (Pierre, the guide was busy and not there) before leaving Djanet. The photo was taken in the camping. You can see on the left and in the background the "zeribas", built with reeds. Each zeriba has one single entrance and two rooms, each equipped with two iron beds. There are no doors but a chicane...

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  • Tassili, guelta Anaïs

    Guelta Anaïs is not far from Terarart. It is a huge body of water (Sahara speaking!), almost a hundred meters long, more than fifty meters wide. It is not advisable to swim in a guelta and moreover, it is now forbidden. When we were there, it was not forbidden and I had a swim. The water, as can be seen on the photo is muddy, and you cannot see the...

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  • Tassili, Terarart carvings

    Though, our travel was not yet completely over and the next day, Pierre brought us by mean of a truck to Terarart (or Teghaghart), 10 km south to Djanet, on the outskirts of the erg Admer and near the track to Tamanrasset.Here was another kind of rock art, ie carvings. This particular carvings is named "la Vache qui pleure", "the cow that cries"....

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  • Tassili, very last leg of our trek!

    The very last leg of our trek was now in front of us. The route followed the bed of an oued between to high cliffs, a landscape that we got used to during our weeklong trek, as it is one of the most typical landscapes in the Tassili or better for the access to the Tassili.

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  • Tassili, last noon bivouac and siesta

    The last noon bivouac was, as most of the time, among large boulders that gave a comfortable shade to each of us, except the photographer that wandered around, as usually, to practice his guilty trade while others were experiencing hard a last desert siesta.

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  • Photographer's last camel ride!

    Even the photographer of this page could have his photo taken by a surrogate photographer, now a skilled camel rider! May be it is time to tell a secret to those of you that will have reached this tip and will read it completely. When we did this trek, I was shifting from BW photography (doing the whole thing myself, from shooting to 50x60...

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  • Last camel ride!

    After the first akba, we were yet far from Djanet but as the soil was good enough, we could have a last camel ride. After a week, we were now expert camel riders (well almost!) as we, on the whole rode the camels for a few hours everyday. Now to take photos from top of the camel was not anymore a big problem.

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  • Tassili, akba Tafelalet, trekkers in the...

    The first akba is steep but shorter than we thought and after not much more than one hour, we reached the very bottom, the plain that would lead us to Djanet. We are now used to this landscape and do not admire it as much as in the beginning! One more week and we would not even notice it! Just kidding!

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  • Tassili, akba Tafelalet, donkeys in the...

    At the beginning of the first akba, we met a man leading a group of donkeys loaded with luggage. This was another group of visitors, that we did not met, but that climbed to the plateau as a donkey trek. Donkeys do very well in the mountain, better than the camels but bear a lighter load. From Djanet, many visitors to the rock painting chose donkey...

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Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Transportation

  • How to ride a camel in the Sahara (2).

    As soon as the camel feels that you are ready (even if you actually are not), he unfolds abruptly his hind legs and throws you ahead. This is when pushing on the camel’s neck with the feet and grabbing the camel’s hair with one hand will help! As soon as you have found a new equilibrium, the camel will unfold his front legs, equally abruptly, and...

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  • Djanet airport, 1974

    In 1974, Djanet airport was a single sand runway enclosed by wires to prevent any cattle to walk into. There was no building but only three zeribas made of reeds. I know that there is now a small airport but as far as I know, the runway has remained the same. Thanks to those who will give an update for this tip!

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  • How to ride a camel in the Sahara (1).

    Riding a camel is not performed in the same way everywhere in the world. The following applies to the Sahara and to the Tuaregs way of riding.As the camel neck is smooth, trekking shoes should be avoid and the best advice is to remain bare feet. After a few days, for those that might have caught a sun-stroke on the upper part of the feet, socks are...

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Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Updated Apr 19, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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

    Because of extensive theft of archeological artifacts, the trail from Djanet to Tamanrasset has been closed in April 2005 (now open, as far as I know).

    Five German tourists that had escaped to their guide and 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 vehicules.

    For more, look at my travelogue (sorry, in French!)

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Archeology

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Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Tourist Traps

  • Association des Amis de l'Art Rupestre...

    This is not a tourist trap but guidelines to avoid traps. The “Association des Amis de l'Art Rupestre Saharien“ (AARS) is a non profit association that has the following aim (pasted from its statutes)To promote studies of Saharan rock art, to make known relevant documents, and everything linked directly and indirectly to this aim. The Association...

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  • Shooting photos during a camel trek

    To take good photos during a camel trek is a real challenge.The easiest is at the bivouac or at the noon meal + siesta period but this is accounts only for a small part of each day.Do not forget that when the group is walking, it will NEVER wait after the photographer (BTW, neither will it wait after anyone that wants to release. Better not to be...

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  • Shooting photos during a camel trek

    To take good photos during a camel trek is a real challenge.The easiest it at the bivouac or at the noon meal + siesta period but this accounts only for a small part of each day.Do not forget that when the group is walking, it will NEVER wait after the photographer (BTW, neither will it wait after anyone that wants to release. Better not to be...

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Tassili n'Ajjer National Park What to Pack

  • To read before/after your trek

    Roger Frison-Roche (1906-1999) was a French mountain guide that wrote a lot of books on the Alps, the Sahara and the Arctic.Altogether, he wrote about 10 books on the Sahara, all bestsellers translated in different languages. Several of these bestsellers were situated in the Tassili. Reading the books of Frison-Roche was one of the reasons for my...

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  • "Hommes et Montagnes du Sahara"

    This trek in the Tassili was organized by a small travel agency "Hommes et Montagnes du Sahara" created in 1969 by Jean-Louis BERNEZAT and Odette BERNEZAT and run by half a dozen mountain guides from France that had chosen to live half of the year in the Sahara (Hoggar and Tassili) with the Tuaregs and like the Tuaregs. Jean-Louis BERNEZAT and...

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  • What I read as a kid!

    When I was a kid, I had a book that told the precious and unlikely story of a French boy that had been "stolen" by gypsies (the old myth of kids being stolen by gypsies!), found by his "oncle d'Amérique" (the old myth of the uncle that has emigrated and made big money in America!). The uncle collects together with his nephew a "stolen" girl that...

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Tassili n'Ajjer National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Written Apr 28, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Insects in the Sahara hide during daytime, either under the sand or underneath stones. Thus, they do not suffer from heat. They live at night.

    This one is a close relative (if not exactly the same but I am not an entomologist) to Blaps mortiga, the stinking scarab, or Blaps death colored, or death witch. In Europe, it lives in cellars, stables, etc…

    The stinking scarab
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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Explore Deeper into Tassili n'Ajjer National Park
To read,"Tuareg, Tassili, Sahara", by Mario Fantin
What to Pack
To read before/after your trek : l'Atlantide
What to Pack
Rock Art Site Etiquette
Tourist Traps
Tassili, leaving oued Tefasasest, early morning
Things to Do
Tassili, Bivouac oued Tefasasest
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, 5 minutes before sunset
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, last way down?
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, not yet the bottom!
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, really the bottom?
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, bottom of the 2nd akba?
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, the camels in the 2nd akb
Things to Do
Tassili, Akba Tafelalet, 3rd akba
Things to Do
Loading the camels
Things to Do
Mortar
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The tea ceremony
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This one is for life!
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Just a reminder, this is not a play ground!
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Dead Cupressus dupreziana
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"Surrogate mother for endangered Cupressus"
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Cupressus dupreziana introduced outside the Sahara
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How many cypresses are still living?
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Cupressus dupreziana is “Tarout” in Tamashek
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Tassili, the cypresses of Tamrit
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Tassili, the great canyon of Tamrit
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Tassili, going to Tamrit
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Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak, shamanic practices?
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Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak, the dancing woman
Things to Do
Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak, close up on the moufflon
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Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak, close up on the princesses
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Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak, princesses and moufflon
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Tassili, Tan Zoumaitak
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Tassili, out of Tin Tazarift
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, a small figure
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, the small boat
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, shaman in the small fresco
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assili, Tin Tazarift, a small fresco
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, archer left to the shaman
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, archer right to the shaman
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, shaman of the main fresco
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Tassili, Tin Tazarift, the main fresco
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Map of Tassili n'Ajjer National Park

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