Five breathtaking natural places in the Adra Desert

Spacious open spaces, peaks with outstanding contours and horizons of endless hills… the Mauritanian Sahara has an incredible beauty. Evidence in five places.

Want to forget the cold and grayness of winter? Good news: Saharan Surya is waiting for you. Just 4h30 flight from Paris, the Adrar region is one of the most scenic places in the Mauritania desert, and it’s a good time to visit. Located northeast of the capital Noakchat, its name lies on the Adra Plateau, a vast expanse of vast sandstone that is the country’s most important relief.

As soon as you land in Atar you will be stuck by a steep hill cut by a deep ravine. Here, the desert is synonymous with monotony. Sand and rock combine to form breathtaking paintings. So, get on the slopes of Adra and get ready with our selection of iconic places: Mauritania will surprise you.

Amgoza Pass, a movie set

The Amoza Pass was taken along the old track from Atar to Chinguetti at the top of the Ginger Plateau. Copyright Nora Schweitzer

It is no coincidence that Amozar Pass was chosen to shoot the film Fort Sagan Gerard Depardieu, Katherine Deniew, and Sophie Marceau Bill, directed by Aline Corneau in 1984. The track traverses a gorgeous landscape of Table Mountain that stretches as far as the eye can see. In the distance, you will see the highest peak of Adra, Mount Tinyagauri, which ends at 815 meters. Along the way, you can visit the ruins of a specially built castle for filming purposes.

In the same area, don’t miss the Agrur cave paintings discovered by Theodore Monod. Between 4,000 and 8,000 BC, they depicted hunting and dancing scenes with a great, very well preserved giraffe.

Our advice: The Agrour site is monitored by a watchman who will explain the painting to you. Price of inspection: 100 MRU (2.5 €).

Jarga, multi-colored relief

To the north, Mount Jarga is stormed by an impressive sand dune. Copyright Nora Schweitzer

Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. The result: a chaotic massif, brown rock, and blonde sand chaos that collides in the landscape. It owes its name precisely to this specification: in Hasania, Moore’s language, “jarga” means multicolored. In fact, it is a glacier moraine millions of years old. Dozens of kilometers long and final at about 700 meters, it can be explored from different directions. To the south, the site of Guelb al-Ravi is home to beautiful cave paintings. You will see men disguised as animals for hunting, as well as party scenes.

Our advice: The northern end, known as El-Atiq, lends itself well to a climb. A long hill allows you to gently climb to the top. Ideal for spending the night at the foot of the hill. So you can go for sunset or sunrise … or both, if you dare!

N’Tourvine Pass, a breeze in the Saharan West

The Dakhlet Bakkar area is known for its sculptural peaks by erosion. Copyright Nora Schweitzer

West of Jargar, the N’Tourvine Pass is one of the most impressive in the region. The road flows through the elegant plateau of dark sandstone. The best time is at sunset, when the rocks are tan. For a moment, it felt like the American West. Just below, the Agrawa site is a great place for bivowaking. The next day, explore the N’Tezzent Canyon then continue to Dakhlet Bakkar and its amazing tooth-shaped peaks. Here, decay has sculpted images beyond imagination.

Our advice: Along the way, stop at the Palm Grove in Suigua, where a small stream flows. Ideal for cooling the place.

Valley Blanche, extra paradise

The Valley Blanche is an important plant, especially the acacia. Copyright Nora Schweitzer

Crossing a huge boulevard… Valley Blanche surrounded by two fascinating cliffs, you will be struck by an incredible impression of greatness. Located at the confluence of several rivers, this wadi is one of the largest in Adra. During the rainy season, from June to August, flow can be very important for rainfall. The name “White Valley” thus comes from its very light sand, as it is often washed away by rainwater. On both sides of Tungad village, one can enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley by climbing the hills of Chatu Kibir and Chatu Sgir.

Our advice: A few more kilometers away, another site offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the region: the Royal Typhoon Pass. It can be reached by a busy track that climbs to the top of the hill. Hold on tight, the thrill is sure!

Amtalich, as far as the eye can see the Tyler Sea

Exploring Amatlich Hill on foot is one of the most powerful experiences in the Adra Desert. Copyright Nora Schweitzer

In the imagination of travelers, the Sahara is often associated with the hilly landscape. If this postcard shows you a dream, then Amtalich will make the dream come true. This erg, which stretches for more than 400 kilometers to the gate of the capital Noakchat, is one of the largest in Mauritania. Do not miss the Azoueiga site, a huge sand hill that rises up to about 200 meters. Take a deep breath before you tackle it.

Our advice: If you have time, the ideal is to travel slowly to Amatlich on a camel. Several organizations can arrange camel tracks for you: the animals carry your luggage and you walk side by side. For two days or a week, this mode of travel will immerse you in a truly Saharan environment.


Practical notebook

To go

If you want to organize your own itinerary, you can buy a flight ticket from Point-Afrique, which fares a direct flight from Paris to Atar every week. Roissy departs Saturday morning from CDG. Calculate around € 600 for round trip and 4h30 ride. The last flight of the season is scheduled for March 26.

On site, rent a 4×4 with driver for between 80 and 100 € / day. For the services of a guide, add approximately 30 / day. You can book these services at Point-Africa. E.g. : 04 75 53 23 83.

If you prefer organized travel, you can book a 4×4 or camel trek with Point-Africa or other organizations such as Alibart Trekking, Named Adventures, Huans and Point-Voyages.

When to go?

The best period is October to March. Choose the months of November to February to avoid heat. Daytime temperatures can be pleasant (20 to 30 ° C) and nights cool (up to 5 ° C). A good sleeping bag is essential for camping. If you prefer to avoid frozen nights, it is best to travel in October or March. The days are warm (25-35 ° C) and the nights are mild (about 15 ° C).

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