Tassili N'Ajjer,
Algeria, November, 2018



Participants: 0 confirmed
  4 tentative
Trip Status: Tentative


The area around the Tassili n'Ajjer plateau is extremely rich in prehistoric rock art, monuments and amazing desert landscapes. On our previous visits we have targeted the best known areas of the Tassili du Tamrit, the Tadjelahine Plateau and Wadi Djerat and the Algerian Tadrart. On this coming trip the plan is to roughly follow the itinerary of the November 2017 expedition. visiting the Algerian Tadrart , then move North along the Djanet - Illizi road (passing the magnificent shelter of Tikadiouine) to the Oued Tasset - Ifedaniouene region with a multitude of splendid Iheren style paintings. We will visit several other prehistoric and natural sites along the way. Most of the two week itinerary will be covered with vehicles, reguiring only short walks meking this trip suitable for anyone. The itinerary will be designed in a way that it is possible to join/leave mid-trip at Djanet, permitting participation in only the first or second halves if time is short.

 

Day 0. – Algiers - Djanet

Our trip will depart from Djanet, which is easily accessible from Algiers with Air Algerie domestic flights. If possible Departure day will be fixed to coincide with the dates when there are late evening non-stop flights to Djanet (currently Wednesdays & Saturdays) rather than the three hour longer overnight triangle via Tamanrasset. The late evening departure to Djanet allows everyone to comfortably manage their international flights to arrive to Algiers during the day.

Day 1 - 6 Tadrart

We will spend six days in the Tadrart region south of Djanet, the continuation of the Acacus mountains towards the south inside Algerian territory. Access is easy, with the Djanet - Ghat surfaced road passing very close to the area. We will drive the first 125 kilometres on the road, from where it is a mere 40 kilometres to the entrance of the Oued Beridj. The valley cuts accross the Tadrart plateau, emerging among the golden coloured dunes of Moula Naga on the far side. This is one of the most picturesque areas of the Algerian sahara, where a sea of sand surounds isolated sandstone columns and arches. From here we will move North, visiting several sites along the Eastern edge of the Tadrart to the Tin Merzouga dunes, then returning via the Oued In Djerane, the principal valley of the Tadrart containing a multitude of fine engravings an paintings. On the return journey we will make a side trip to the shelter of Tin Hanakaten.

 
 

IN DJERANE

The Oued In Djerane contains a number of important prehistoric rock art sites. Perhaps the best known is the famous crouching giraffe, one of only three such known representations in the Sahara.


 

The area is rich in a wide variety of other engravings and paintings closely related to those in the Tadrart Acacus in Libya, quite different from what one may see in other parts of the Tassili.


 



The Algerian Tadrart is also an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a number of natural arches along the tributaries of the Oued In Djerane, which crosses the plateau diagonally to disappear among the golden dunes of Tin Merzouga, one of the most picturesque of the ergs (sand seas) of the Sahara.

 
 
 

Day 7 - 9 - Along the western edge of the Tassili

After returning to Djanet to re-supply, we will continue North along the majestic landscapes of the western edge of the Tassili Plateau. We will spend a night at the entrance of the Essendilene canyon a little natural oasis with its lovely guelta and lush vegetation. Continuing north we will pass by the engravings of Tin Terert.

 
 

TIN TERERT (OUED DIDER)

The Tin Terert engravings (also spelled Tin Teghert), located in a wide tributary of the Oued Dider are closely related to those in the Oued Djerat further North, and also to the Messak engravings in Libya. They are executed on a large conspicous patch of almost flat rock exposure, and are on a very large scale, some of the depicted figures are several metres accross.


 

The engravings depict a number of large cattle (including one that is about life-size and very elaborately decorated) alongside the typical african wild fauna (giraffe, rhinoceros, hippopotamus), and uniquely a scene of several small crouching gazelle.


      
 
 
 

Day 10-14. South western Tassili

We will continue along the Djanet - Illizi road, paying a quick visit to the Oasis of Iherir before continung to one of the trip highlights, the Tikaoudine shelter. We will spend the night nearby to make the best use of the late afternoon and early morning light, when it is the best to visit and photograph the shelter.

 
 
 

TIKADIOUINE

The Tikadiouine shelter is one of the principal sites of the Iheren style, the finest manifestation of Saharan pastoralist rock art. While all Iheren style paintings depict cattle, human fgures and wild animals in a ver fine line drawing, the particular paintings at Tikaidouine take this to the xtreme, producing human figures that appear almost caricaturesque, with fuzzy hair not seen anywhere else. The shelter was discovered relatively recently, and the lack of visitors mean that it is in a pristine condition, with all figures clearly visible.


      
 
 
 

Continuing past Tikadiouine and leaving the main road, we will spend several days in the Oued Tasset - Oued Aharhar - Afara - Ifedanioučne region where Ulrich and Brigitte Hallier have found reported numerous rock art sites in the nineteen eighties and nineties, including several very fine shelters of the Iheren style. This region is practically unknown even to specialists, many of the sites we shall visit have been seen by less than a handful of people.

Day 15. Return to Algiers

Our last visited area is approximately half-way between Djanet and Illizi, so it will depend on the Air Algerie flight schedules whether we will travel back to Algiers from Djanet or Illizi airports.

Day 15 - 20. Optional add-on: Trek up the Oued Djerat

For those having the time, it will be possible to arrange a six day camel supported trek up the Oued Djerat to see the hundreds of engravings dotting the side of the valley, flying back from Illizi at the end.

 


 

For information on expected costs, planned dates and any further questions, please send me an email.

 

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