Ain Sefra - The Gateway to the Saharan Desert
If you are looking for a truly quaint little Saharan desert town, Ain Sefra is the place to go. Situated where the Atlas Mountains begin their descent into the midst of the Sahara, there is little wonder why this town is called "The Gateway to the Desert". The small town is set at an altitude of roughly 1000 meters above sea level and, while it is nothing amazing in itself, the views of the surrounding desert and mountain are awe-inspiring. Dramatic red sand dunes encroach on the rugged beauty of the Atlas Mountains while the nearby gorges provide even more interesting scenery.
Interestingly enough, Ain Sefra is perhaps best known for the Russian adventurer and writer Isabella Eberhardt who is now buried here. While it may be difficult to imagine when looking out over the dry, hot sands of the desert, this adventuresome lady died in a flash flood in 1904. She traveled all around the Algerian Sahara on horseback and converted to Islam. She even dressed as a man and adopted an Islamic name to make getting about easier. Unfortunately no person can predict the future and Eberhardt lost her life at the young age of 27. Still, her legend lives on as one of the greatest female explorers of North Africa.
When visiting her graveside in Ain Sefra, you can imagine the many interesting people she must have met and the places she traveled to whilst still alive. The small town of Ain Sefra feeds your imagination and helps you to imagine life for a Victorian woman - an adventurer - following her heart in this land of mystery and beauty.