Djanet – Jewel of the Sahara Desert

It is not easy to describe the Djanet. One could say that it is a settlement or a cluster of villages, surrounding a breathtaking oasis in the middle of the Sahara desert. It is situated in the Tassili National Park in Algeria and has approximately 15 000 local residents. There are no urban buildings in the Djanet oasis and it seems to be a location that is lost in time and has been able to keep its air of nostalgia. It is easy to see why Djanet is called the “Jewel of the Desert”.

The Djanet oasis is not a destination that is filled with excitement and wild attractions. Its appeal to travelers is the beautiful oasis that is lined with palmeries and the peace and tranquility that only such a desolate area can provide. Most of the local inhabitants of Djanet are Kel Ajjer Taureg, a friendly and humble community. It is a poor settlement and every day is a struggle for most families. They are reliant on the tourism industry and their traditional culture to lure visitors and travelers. This brings an income to the villages and there are many small travel agencies within Djanet.

The greatest attraction to this region is the Plateau and visitors need to purchase a photo permit from the Parc National de Tassili office before they can begin exploring this area. The Tassili N’Ajjer rock paintings are a popular sight for tourists to visit. Tourists should be aware that some tour agencies might inflate prices and often heated negotiations between visitors and tour guides erupt because of pricing. Other than that, there is a market every day that sells fresh vegetables in the mornings. To purchase bread from the baker visitors will need to rise extra early. There is no luxury accommodation available here, only a camping area and small huts. There is a small museum in the Djanet Oasis, but exploring the village and surrounding area is much more rewarding.

There are many very talented craftsmen, artists and musicians in Djanet and visitors will be astounded at the amount of beautiful crafts available for sale to the public. The women here also play traditional musical instruments, which they make themselves, such as the Imzad, Monocorde, Mache and the Azjar. The traditional drum that is used in their music is called a Tinde. Traditional dance style of Tahemmet practiced here, is an emotional dance and therefore requires no specific dance moves.

Travelers searching for a unique, traditional and peaceful destination will find just that in the Djanet oasis. It is a remote location that has a rich history and that is focused on the tourism industry. Visitors to Djanet are certain to have an unforgettable experience that will not be easily matched.