Travel to Ouadane – Caravan Crossroads of Sahara

Ouadane is a small town in northern Mauritania, lying on the Adrar Plateau, north east of Chinguetti. The old town is part of the Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Though largely in ruins, with pile upon pile of stones, the ancient centre is still substantially intact, while a small modern settlement lies outside its gate.

Ouadane was founded in 1147 by the Berber tribe – Idalwa el Hadji and soon became an important trading centre serving the caravans that crossed the Sahara.

A Portuguese trading post was established in 1487, but the town declined from the sixteenth century. The town illustrates a traditional way of life centred on the nomadic culture of the people of the western Sahara.

7 km northwest of Ouadane lies the semi-troglodyte village of Tin Labbe. The huge crater mountain of Guelb er Richat is also close by.

Take a guided tour of the ruins of the ancient town.

Camp wild near Ouadane and chill out under a starlit African night sky.

Getting Around

Private transport in a 4×4 vehicle with driver and knowledgeable local guide is essential for visiting Chinguetti due to the ever-changing nature of sand tracks and desert trails.

  • Take time to explore the ruined remains of one of the Sahara’s most important medieval trading centres.
  • Discover nearby Guelb er Richat – a crater of enigmatic geological origin – a collapsed volcano or meteorite crater?
  • A guided tour of the ancient ruins are particularly evocative in late afternoon with a setting sun.


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