Scenic Mauritania

Yesterday was for history buffs today the many landscapes of this surprisingly varied country. The early drive was through flat dusty, rocky gibber plains known as reg in the Western Sahara, again off road. An hour or so in this featureless landscape we turn towards a high rocky outcrop undistinguished from the many others we have seen but this one is special as it has 6000 year old rock paintings halfway up. While they are much less spectacular than many others I have seen, the detail is good and it portrays a time when animals were abundant here before the establishment of the Sahara desert. I find myself asking again how did they find this place literally in the middle of nowhere?  Secondly, how many more such sites are out there waiting to be discovered?

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After an hour or so of driving we joined a road which rapidly fell away from the mountainsides around. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Off road again through a massive verdant oasis before driving down into the White Sand gorge.

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The drive in was literally a roller coaster drive down massive vertical sand dunes to the valley floor. Steep shale rocky vertical walls rose sharply on either side of the canyon. The valley floor was a hot wonderland of pale sand dunes and I had the opportunity to wander around and experience their beauty and silence. The tour de force was another crazy steep drive up to a lookout at the head of the valley affording panoramic views of this awe inspiring and beautiful landscape.

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Finally another lush oasis for lunch and a short walk to a unique sight for this country, a tiny little waterfall.