Walking the way of the explorers of Adrar

For GEO France 2018

Historic heart of Mauritania, Adrar is a vast mountainous and desert region, where sand and wind shape the landscape, 450 km northeast of the capital Nouakchott.

The Quai d’Orsay classified it as a red zone in 2007, when four French people were murdered by members of the terrorist group AQIM. Ten years later, the change to the orange zone enables the local population to have confidence in the return of tourists, and travel agencies are gradually resuming their activities.

Walking the way of the explorer Monod or of the writer Saint-Exupéry, desert lovers experience walks in the dunes, rest in the oases, visit historical sites such as the almost buried under the sand city of Chinguetti and taste the nomads‘ tea prepared in three-steps. This nomad culture, deeply rooted in the history of Adrar despite increasing settlement, continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

Some inhabitants continue to make a living out of agriculture, while the recovery of tourism has relieved the majority of them, who had developed local stores, guide activities and hostels to receive foreigners. Nevertheless, a single attack could again destroy the region’s precarious economic balance.