The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Friday, January 27, 2023

A beautiful desert oasis in Mauritania

I tried googling the most beautiful oases in the world. A few lists of them came up, but nowhere did I see mentioned the one we went to on Thursday. Truly stunning. And it's not mentioned anywhere because hardly anybody knows that it exists.

The day started when we hopped into the 4x4's again and headed back into the desert.

First stop was an overlook above the village of Mhaireth.

Our group enjoying the view above Mhaireth, Mauritania.

Cathy.

Our fearless leader Johnny.

We drove down through the village and continued south on a sandy track about five kms. No way you can get there without a four wheel drive. In fact, there is much of Mauritania that you can't access without a four wheel drive!

There, we parked the trucks and went for a walk.

It wasn't long before we found water.

Wow. Beautiful spot.

This oasis doesn't have a name. Apparently very few people outside of the locals know that it exists. Also, it is not a continuous oasis in that it doesn't exist because of a natural spring and is only there when there has been a sufficient amount of rain in the past year.

Our guide Alioune was telling us that this is the first time in a long while that there has been enough water here to swim in.

Ruth said the water was cold!

Ruth and I went for a walk up the hill behind the oasis to get a better view...



Thomas was the only one bold enough to go in for a swim.

Me, above the oasis.


There are another couple of pools further up, but not nearly as pretty.

Marissa in a photogenic spot.

Ruth, having some fun!

Marissa.

Me!

Back in the trucks and another view of the desert.

Thomas and Ambia.

Uh oh. Flat tire.

We stopped at another desert tourist trinket shop.

We find these little tourist shops really funny. I mean, they must be able to eke out a living or they wouldn't do it, but I bet they literally go days (or sometimes weeks) at a time without any tourists driving by.

Amazing how anything survives out here.

Our next stop was the Agrour rock paintings. We pulled up to the parking and had to find the old man who runs the place. You have to pay an admission fee. Again, they must go days at a time without any visitors. Really in the middle of nowhere.

The old man led us down through a crevasse in the cliffside.

What an odd rock overhang!

Anfal.

Johnny and the view.

The old man explained that these painting are said to be 60,000 years old.
However I looked it up online and most of the reports say that they are about 4,000 years old.

A person.

An elephant.



A giraffe.

We did a short hike a little higher up to enjoy the view.

Rónon.



Emma, Marissa, and Lauren.

Johnny enjoying the view.

We then drove for an hour or so to the ancient town of Chinguetti where we had lunch and checked into our rooms for the night.

Table set for lunch.

Our room.
Pretty comfy compared the the tents we had the two nights previous!

Ruth and her headgear.

Ready for the desert!

After lunch we drove to the old part of town. Located in the middle of the desert, Chinguetti was a medieval trading post for a number of Berber tribes. Records of the town go back to the year 777AD. Most of the buildings in the old part of the town date to the 13th century. 

Chinguetti is also Mauritania's only UNESCO World Heritage site and a very important location in the Islamic world. In fact, it is known as the 7th most holy city of Islam and there are religious libraries there that have many old documents and books.

The mosque at Chinguetti is the national symbol of Mauritania.

Unfortunately, the site s not well maintained.


Many of the buildings are in ruins.

And apparently the site is in danger of losing its UNESCO designation.

Through a translator, this guy gave us a talk for twenty minutes or so.

His family has been voluntarily maintaining the library here since the year 1699!

Some of the hundreds of ancient books.

And manuscripts. This is actually a book of Islamic poems.

This mosque is not that old, and was built to commemorate part of the ancient town that has been buried by sand.

The dunes have been encroaching on the town for the past two hundred years.

Some of it is buried here, but there is no money to do excavations.

Sahara selfie!

Scenery along the way.

We walked up to a high dune to watch the sunset.


Watching the sunset.


Another Sahara sunset.

Tomorrow... onto the train!

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And in Canada...

2 comments:

  1. Y'all look so cute with your headscarves! I still can't believe you are able to get internet. How? Is there a cell tower out there somewhere??? Truly mind-boggling. Ruth, you can jump, girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Emily, we liked the headscarf look!

      We were in a town, so yes we had a good cell signal because the hotel internet wasn't very good, especially if too many people were on it.

      I am not sure if it was just the angle that my jump was taken at the makes it look like I got a lot air because at the time I didn't think I jumped very high, lol!

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