Most interesting landmarks of Western Sahara
Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Western Sahara.
Natural landmarks of Western Sahara
- Cabo Blanco seal colony – Cabo Blanco peninsula. The only colony of monk seals in the world. Here in caves lives a group of extremely rare Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus), here could be living some 200 seals.
- Devil’s Mountain – southern part. Giant natural monolith – rounded, very unusual mountain with smooth surface, rising hundreds of meters above the desert. Prehistoric rock art (4 000 – 1 000 BC), sacred and even mystical place to Sahrawi people.
- Oum Dbaa dry cascade – northern part. Seasonal waterfall with interesting tufa formation. Formed by spring water which contains lime and salt.
Man made landmarks of Western Sahara
Prehistoric rock art
- Bou Dheir – very diverse prehistoric paintings in numerous rock shelters, often in a very good state of preservation. Many drawings are very large, paintings show wild animals, humans. On the plateau above the shelters is found also large crescent-shaped structure – stone setting.
- Cueva del Diablo – prehistoric shelter – cave with some of the most impressive engraved images in this part of the world.
- Erqueiz rock art – northern part. Site with rich collection of prehistoric rock art – paintings of wild animals and cattle, also humans. Endangered by looting. Here are found also megalithic steles – upright stones.
- Irghayra rock art – site with rich collection of prehistoric rock art – paintings of wild animals and cattle, also humans.
- Lejuad – Tiris (south). Impressive granitic monoliths with rich collections of neolithic rock art, funerary monuments and settlements.
- Rekeiz Lemgasem – valuable rock art site, megaliths. More than 80 prehistoric rock-shelters with paintings in them have been found here. Impressive megaliths and funerary monuments.
- Sluguilla Lawash – very rich rock art site along the wadi Laauach el Tel·li, with Tazina style engravings. Most drawings show wild animals – giraffes, rhinoceros, elephants. Site contains numerous prehistoric tumulus in conical form. Often legs of animals in drawings are unnaturally elongated.
Other man made landmarks
- Bou Kraa conveyor belt – approximately 100 km long conveyor belt from Bou Kraa phosphate mines through desert to El Marsa port. The longest conveyor belt in the world, partly destroyed in warfare.
- El Aaiún Cathedral – El Aaiún. Spanish built Christian cathedral in Art Deco style.
- Moroccan Wall – approximately 2,700 km long fortification wall, partly in the territory of Morocco. Divides Moroccan controlled areas and Polisario controlled territories. Mostly two – three meters tall wall with minefield around it. Built by Moroccans in 1981 – 1987.
- Tifariti stelae – unique group of prehistoric steles. Here are located some 65 rock steles, up to 1.5 m high. Steles are aligned in enclosures or lineaments.
Described landmarks of Western Sahara
The barren Western Sahara with its unclear political status is not a tourist hotspot, and also not too rich with natural and man made heritage.
Similar to the other countries of Sahara, most impressive landmarks here are sites of prehistoric rock art.
Featured: Cabo Blanco seal colony
The only true colony of monk seals in the world is Cabo Blanco seal colony living in the westernmost point of African continent. Here live some 200 Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus).
A masterpiece of historical adventure, Skeletons on the Zahara chronicles the true story of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the perilous heart of the Sahara.
It is as vast as the United States and so arid that most bacteria cannot survive there. Its loneliness is so extreme it is said that migratory birds will land beside travelers, just for the company. William Langewiesche came to the Sahara to see it as its inhabitants do, riding its public transport, braving its natural and human dangers, depending on its sparse sustenance and suspect hospitality. From his journey, which took him across the desert’s hyperarid core from Algiers to Dakar, he has crafted a contemporary classic of travel writing.