Immediately north of Tamanrasset, and part of the Ahaggar National Park, is the plateau of Atakor, a Tolkein-esque land of dry earth and dark peaks, at the heart of which is Assekrem, 73km from Tamanrasset, where Charles de Foucauld built his hermitage in 1911. Without your own transport, getting out to the Atakor plateau can be difficult, but it’s worth making the effort to get up to Assekrem.
The route up to Assekrem is long and bumpy but the spectacular landscape more than makes up for it. You drive through a warped landscape where strange mountains rise up from the rocky black plateau – many of them deeply scored as if they have been mauled by some mythical beast – eventually reaching the heights of Assekrem where you’ll be greeted with outstanding vistas over the sea of mountains below. Assekrem means ‘the End of the World’ in the language of the Tuareg and it’s easy to see why; standing up here it feels like you’re as far away from civilization as can be.