Sitting on the edge of the Adrar plateau, 120km northeast of Chinguetti, Ouadâne is one of the most enchanting semi-ghost towns of the Sahara. Like Chinguetti, Ouadâne was a place of scholarship and is home to over 3000 manuscripts held in privatelibraries. Only 20 to 30 families still live in the old town.
One of the more attractive of the ancient caravan towns in the Sahara, Chinguetti is shrouded with a palpable historic aura. It was once famous for its Islamic scholars, and was the ancient capital of the Moors; some of the buildings date from the 13th century though according to mythology, its original founding is recorded as 777.
An oasis, about 40km south of Atâr, where a streak of palm groves is hemmed in by great red cliffs. At its head, two springs tumble out of the rocks. One is hot, the other cold, and they mix to form a natural swimming pool the perfect temperature for a dip. It's simply bliss. You pay UM1000 to enter the site.
Ancient imperial capitals are hardly be more unassuming than the oasis of Azougi, 10km northwest of Atâr. It was from here in the 11th century that the Berber Almoravids launched their great expansion, spreading Islam throughout West Africa, and establishing their grand capital at Marrakesh.