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Discovering the wonders of the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park is a breathtaking natural wonderland that can't be missed on a trip to Algeria. Located in the heart of the Sahara desert in southern Algeria, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a hidden gem that boasts awe-inspiring landscapes, ancient rock art, and a rich cultural heritage. It covers a vast desert landscape in southern Algeria, stretching from the border area with Niger and Libya. It includes the entire Tassili N'Ajjer Mountains, as well as the sand and dune areas in the extreme southeast of the country. From a cultural perspective, Tassili n'Ajjer is one of the most important rock art sites anywhere in the world.

Prepare to be transported to a land of mystery and wonder at Tassili n'Ajjer National Park, the site covers an incredible area of 72,519 square kilometers. This magnificent park, located in the heart of the Sahara Desert, is home to a large collection of parietal works, including rock drawings and cave art dating back a breathtaking 12,000 years. 

You can expect stunning depictions of creatures, such as antelope, cattle, and crocodiles, which make up the majority of the 15,000 cave paintings. These works of art offer a glimpse into the world of the Neolithic period, when the Sahara was a savannah teeming with wildlife, including giraffes and crocodiles. And that's not all - the park also features artworks reflecting human activities, such as dancing and hunting.

Tassili n'Ajjer is located on a large plateau with an altitude of 2158 meters. The landscape displays rock formations, sandstone erosion and related geological features that sometimes give visitors the impression that they have landed on the moon.

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Almost the entire park is composed of sandstone. Rock formations and arches were created as a result of erosion and form amazing landscapes. Traveling through the otherworldly landscape of Tassili n'Ajjer is like stepping into an open-air art gallery.

There are about 300 naturally occurring rock arches and other spectacular rock formations. The wind serves as the sculptor of these mountainous landscapes. Thousands of years of erosion by water and wind have produced a unique and vast collection of arches, labyrinths of sandstone streets and pinnacles, natural amphitheaters, steep gorges and other landscapes.

How to get there

The nearest town and starting point of most tours to Tassili n'Ajjer is the oasis town of Djanet. Air Algerie operates regular flights between Algiers and Djanet. In addition, there are flights between Djanet and Illizi, In Amenas, Ghardaïa and Ouargla.

If traveling by land, the N3 runs through the park to Djanet, but there is virtually no organized bus transportation. There is, however, an irregular bus to the border with Libya. So flying or a (rental) car are currently the best options for getting to Djanet. Following tightened rules for land travel after a number of kidnapping cases, guides are mandatory and off-track driving is prohibited. As a result of these rules and the bureaucratic hassle involved, few tourists make it by road this far inland from Algeria.

Access to the park and sites is limited. You must purchase a permit to enter. These can be obtained through all government-approved travel agencies or from the Tassili Cultural Park Office in Djanet.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Tassili n'Ajjer National Park is between November and February, when the weather is cooler and drier. During this time, visitors can enjoy hiking and exploring the park without the intense heat of the summer months. However, it's important to note that the park may be closed during periods of political instability, so it's essential to check the latest travel advisories before planning a trip.

This article was last updated on January 18, 2024.