In Salah – An Intriguing Desert Oasis

Visitors who travel to Algeria are often not aware of the smaller, cultural and traditional towns that are located off the beaten track. These desert gems are hidden on the outskirts of Algeria, but are extremely interesting and fascinating when explored. One of these destinations is In Salah, situated in the heart of the desert, and once a flourishing outpost for Trans-Saharan caravans.

Life in In Salah is relatively simple and the old traditional ways of survival are still in use today. This magnificent oasis has an estimated population of 35 thousand residents, with the nearest cities to In Salah being Tamanrasset and Ghardaia. Interestingly, the town’s major source of income is generated from agriculture, producing mainly fruits, dates and vegetables. The palm groves, consisting of an estimated 225 thousand palms, and fruit and vegetable fields are located on the outskirts of the town. Water supplies are retrieved from two lakes that lie between two hundred to three hundred kilometers from the settlement, and are very saline. The town is constructed from four ksars that are clay structures and vary in color, either red or violet. For every ksar there is a citadel and locals reside in homes that are in constant threat of the desert that creeps a little closer to the town with every passing year.

Projects, such as the joint venture that was initiated by BP named In Salah Gas, have seen the erection of a gas field that is located south of the city of Algiers. This project has brought about the In Salah Water Project that supplies the In Salah community with a daily drinking water supply of six thousand liters. BP has also set up a training center for those who want to learn the English language and a multimedia library that provides employment for fifteen locals and accommodates both children and adults. The facility provides internet terminals, books and multimedia educational tools.

With the assistance of projects and ventures that are helping the community to grow and to raise awareness of the encroaching desert, steps can be taken and plans implemented to secure the future of this beautiful town. To truly travel in Algeria, visitors should explore the splendor of the smaller communities such as In Salah.