Eerie Landscape of Adrar des Ifoghas Mali

There are many practically unknown regions in the world where the landscape is simply inspiring, and the Adrar des Ifoghas area of Mali in Africa is one such place.

A word of caution though. The region is notoriously difficult to reach as it occupies part of the Sahara Desert, and it is part of the Sub Saharan country of Mali where there is much civil disturbance, and it is not presently recommended that foreigners visit the area, although some intrepid souls obviously still do.

Adrar des Ifoghas is inhabited by the nomadic Tuareg clan, who are desert dwelling Berbers, and who usually move from place to place looking for pasture for their herds of camels, goats and sheep.

Mali is a landlocked country that is bordered by seven countries: Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Algeria. The Adrar des Ifoghas is located in the Kidal region which is part of the north eastern corner of Mali near the border with Algeria.

It is actually a sandstone massif with an area the size of which is disputed but which does cover many thousands of square kilometres. Although the region has many flat spaces, scattered throughout the area there are wide, narrow valleys that are sparsely filled with large granite rocks, many of which have eroded into interesting shapes.

Whilst the geological formations are interesting enough themselves, these rocks also prove that humans have occupied the area for many millennia as some of the rocks are covered in petroglyphs, or ancient rock drawings which depict humans hunting, farming and raising livestock.

A well known Neolithic skeleton called Asselar Man was discovered here, and it estimated to be about 4,500 years of age. Old enough to establish that nomads have walked this area for a considerable time.

As well as the rocks you will also find typical desert landscapes such as dunes, oasis and some fascinating panoramas.

Mali’s highest point, Mt Essai, which reaches a height of 960 metres. There are four small Tuareg villages scattered around the region, with Kidal being the only large town and that is 60 kilometres away. Interestingly, Kidal’s former prison is now a human rights research centre.

Travelling through the area is difficult as it is usually negotiated by four wheel drive vehicles, and it would be unwise to attempt a visit without the services of experienced guides. Really, the only languages spoken here are French and a Tuareg dialect.

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