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Introducing Touggourt

A totally unremarkable oasis town, Touggourt is perhaps most famous as the starting point of the first motorised crossing of the Sahara. The Citroën half-track vehicles of the Haardt and Audouin-Dubreuil expedition set off from here in 1922 for Timbuktu via Tamanrasset. The event is marked by a simple pillar in the town square. The town was also once a key stop on the trans- Saharan trading route, and the seat of a dynasty of kings called the Ouled Djellab.

Today the town is a regional administrative centre. There are a couple of banks, a post office and an Air Algérie office. If you have a day to spare you could do worse than spend it here, but don’t lose any sleep if you miss it.

Shared taxis also travel to the Tunisian border (DA400, 1½ hours) when full. There’s a 4km walk between the two border posts but some people find a car to take them.