Fast Facts

  • Location: Near Quadane in Mauritiana in northwestern Africa
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March
  • Preferred timings: Early morning
  • How to reach: Fly to Nouakchott and then drive to Richat via Atar and Quadane; it takes 2 days
  • Nearest International Airport: Nouakchott International Airport
  • Time required for sightseeing:2 days

Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert near Quadane in Mauritania is an unbelievable natural phenomenon that cannot be fully described in words. This rock formation about 30 miles across is clearly visible from space and acts as earth’s landmark for astronauts and space crew. This gigantic fish eye structure in the shape of concentric circles is believed to be in the process of erosion. The central cupola surrounded by symmetrical anticline folds is comparable to a huge ammonite.

A number of equally interesting opinions are behind this rock formation. Initially, it was thought of as an impact crater, but later it was opined that Sahara Desert Richat Structure is an anticline with an eroded crest, more specifically a Cretaceous pluton surmounted by a dome. The center is made of dolomite-limestone shelf enclosing a kilometer thickness of siliceous breccia interspersed with ring dikes of basalt created by the process of karst dissolution and destruction. The internal sediments are composed of feldspar which is alkaline in nature. The magma remains is an important source of iron ore.

‘La Guelb in Richat’ as it is locally called, is not at all a lifeless area as it apparently appears. This barren landscape attracts tourists who traverse through desert land to view this enigmatic formation. A hotel right at the center of Richat Structure not only provides a welcome relief to you after traveling over desert land for hours but also proper accommodation. You would be amazed to note that F’Derik about 100 miles southeast of Richat is one of the biggest iron mines in the world. Iron ore from F’Derik is transported from Choum to Nouadhibou port on Atlantic Coast along a 674 km (419 miles) railway track. This is the world’s longest non-stop railway and only carries freight. The rake is often three kilometers long.

When planning a visit to Richat, do not miss the canyons of ‘Passe d’Amogjar’ and Fort Saganne famous for its prehistoric paintings. Thereafter proceed to Atar and relax in the hot springs of Tergit Oasis. There are not too many hotels in Richat, and you are advised to check out local availability status before starting on the journey.

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