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Natural Arches of Tassili National Park

Index Page 1 - Djanet and Akba Tafilalet Areas - Map 1

See Tafilalet Panoramic Photo by Tom Budlong

ALG-66, Roadside Arch, Djanet Area. 5.2 meter span (measured). From the "T" road junction at the gas station in Djanet, Algeria, drive north 5 km in the direction of Illizi to the top of the sand hill and the road sign "Borj-el-houes 120 km". Proceed 1 km past this sign and you can see the arch on the right side of the road.
ALG-67, Dromedary Arch, Djanet Area. 8 meter span (measured). GPS 32R 543986 2709992. The arch is located in the butte behind ALG-66. You can climb on top of the arch by ascending a side ravine. A dromedary seen through the opening fortuitiously posed for this shot.
ALG-69, The Elephant, Djanet Area. This small arch eroded in a granite boulder is located approximately 3 km south of the old French landing strip. Contact the Zeriba Agency to visit the arch.
ALG-68, Crying Cow Arch, Djanet Area. From Djanet center drive road south toward Tiska-Djanet Airdrome for 25.6 km and turn right. Drive the sandy tracks about 4 km to the famous engraving site of Tagherghert/La Vache Qui Pleure (Crying Cow). The arch is located behing the rock mass.
ALG-261, Ouafararen Oued Arch, Djanet Area. 15 meters deep (natural tunnel), 8 meter height (estimated). GPS 32R 536810 2740395. From Djanet center (bridge) drive paved road to In-Abarba and proceed on the 4WD road (north) until the end of the suitable road for motor vehicles (20km from Djanet center). This road leads to Assakao pass and the top of the Tassili. However the road is now impassable (numerous washouts). Walk the 4WD road (north) two hours to the side of the Oued Ouafararen. The natural tunnel is located 100 meters off the road (west) at the canyon entrance.
ALG-326, Quadruple Arch, Djanet Area. 7.0 meter span (largest opening), 5.0 meter span (second largest opening), both measured. From ALG-261 (Ouafararen Oued Arch) walk Ouafararen Oued downstream into the canyon for 30 minutes to the quadruple arch on the right. In the photo only the two lower openings (the largest two) are visible.
ALG-327, Beybey Guelta Arch, Djanet Area. 2 meter height (estimated). Arch is inaccessible. GPS 32R 535129 2739436. From ALG-326 (Quadruple Arch) walk Ouafararen Oued canyon downstream through the short and very nice narrows for 30 minutes to the junction with Beybey Oued (large wash). Turn right (north) and walk Beybey Oued upstream for 30 minutes to the Beybey Guelta (large sandy pool). The arch is located 200 meters before the guelta, on the right.
ALG-328, Natural Bridge of Tassili, Djanet Area. 6 meter height (estimated). GPS 32R 535913 2741344. From ALG-261 (Ouafararen Oued Arch) walk Ouafararen Oued upstream 400 meters to a wash junction. Leave Ouafararen Oued and turn left (north) into the wash. This is where the old 4WD road crosses the wash and continues north into this wash. However, there is no trace of road in the wash. Upper Ouafararen Oued going east is usually used to go back down from Assakao Pass via Guelta Semid when donkeys carry light packs after the trip. 7 hours hiking is necessary to go back down to this point. Now, proceed  into the north wash 300 meters and climb up and down the old road on the left another 300 meters. Recross the oued and climb up the old road 300 meters to the top of a small hill. As soon as the road goes down look on the left (northwest) into the wash. The natural bridge can be seen near a small dryfall. From there take the path 500 meters which takes less than 5 minutes to the guelta and the bridge. An alternative route is to follow the wash directly from the junction to the bridge. There is a permanent pool of water (big pothole) under the bridge and it is very photogenic. If you proceed up the old road you can reach Assakao Pass from there in about 8 hours hiking, and can reach the Tissoukai-Idou sites in another 3 hours (see Index Pages 18 to 21).
ALG-510, Timbeur Vista Arch, Djanet Area. 2 meter span (estimated). From the white mosque of the village of In-Abarbar (located 5 km north of Djanet center at the end of the paved road), walk north 600 meters out of the village to a sand dune field and an interesting balanced rock. The arch is located 300 meters to the northeast of this balanced rock. The name of the arch comes from the view through the opening of the famous Timbeur Peak which rises above the north end of the oasis of Djanet.
ALG-6, Top Pass Arch, Akba Tafilalet Area. 2 meter span and 2 meter height (estimated). From main street in Djanet, turn right on paved road just before the bridge and drive 400 meters to the fire station. Take the 4WD road east and drive about 16 km to the turnaround (shelter) at the bottom of the huge cliff of Tassili-n-Ajjer. From there climb up the ravine on the cairned donkey trail to the flat bowl with some acacia trees (about 45 minutes). Cross the bowl straight ahead 300 meters and turn right into the canyon. Walk 500 meters through the canyon and take the ascending pass on the left to a pass. Then go down the trail to a rocky wash (oued) into the upper Akba Tafilalet Canyon. Once on the canyon floor you can see a slot canyon on the right and a high spire perched on the left. Proceed in the canyon upstream for approximately 2 km and turn right at a cairn. Climb up the strenuous ravine (hard part of the trail) to the top of the pass (there is a pour off on the right). Find this arch on the left of the pass on the rocks above it. So far I have described the donkey trail, but several short cuts exist. All are shown on Map 1. For example, at the cairn described above where you turn right, an alternate route is to continue on the trail straight ahead and ascend a hard chimney into a side canyon before arriving at the plateau top (for strong hikers only). This way saves 30 minutes of hiking.
ALG-70, Nutcracker Arch, Akba Tafilalet Area. A triple arch. The main opening is 4.5 by 3.5 meters (estimated). GPS 32R 563723 2720434. From the top of the pass proceed on the burro trail and negotiate a big "S" curve. Then the trail passes through a low corridor of rocks and emerges after a small saddle on very flat desolate terrain, about 15 minutes from the top of the pass. From the small saddle retrace your steps about 125 meters and find the triple arch on the right near the canyon rim.
ALG-71, Nutcracker Arch Lower, Akba Tafilalet Area (see ALG-70).

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