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About this site

Natural Arches of Tassili and Ahaggar National Parks


Both Tassili National Park and Ahaggar National Park are in the Sahara Desert in the southeastern part of Algeria. Tassili National Park is near the town of Djanet and Ahaggar National Park is near the city of Tamanrasset. See Algeria map.


Tassili home page The Big Horn (Oudad) icon link (the official logo of Tassili National Park) will always take you to the Tassili Home Page.
Tassili home page The Wonder Rock icon link will always take you to the Ahaggar Home Page. Ahaggar National Park has no official logo so we made one from this prominent geological feature in the park.
NABS home page The Delicate Arch logo will always take you to the home page of the Natural Arch and Bridge Society (NABS).

Each Index Page has arch information and a thumbnail photo for each arch. If you click on the thumbnail it goes to an Arch Page with a larger photo that also has the same arch information. Therefore, you can browse the catalog by using either the Index Pages or the Arch Pages and obtain the same information. A navigation bar at the bottom of each page allows you to go at any time to another Index Page, the next Arch Page, the Tassili Home Page (just click on the Big Horn logo), or the Ahaggar Home Page (just click on the Wonder Rock logo). A numerical arch index page allows quick access to any arch by number. The numerical arch index page can also be quickly searched (using control-F) for any arch name.


The author has provided some sketch maps for Tassili National Park that can be found as a set on the Tassili home page or as individual maps on the appropriate Index Pages for Tassili. These sketch maps are not to scale. The map links open in a separate window so you can keep a map open while you browse the arch listings. Map 1 is useful for all of the first 16 Tassili Index Pages. Map 1 will open in its own window. Each other map will open in the same window (but a different window from Map 1 or the arch catalog). If you want additional maps open at the same time, RIGHT CLICK on the link and choose OPEN IN NEW WINDOW. From the home page you can also download a set of higher-resolution maps for printing.


The author's pick of best arches to visit are marked in red. There is also a page for the author's pick of his top ten favorite arches in Tassili National Park.


The arches are numbered in the order that they were recorded. Therefore, a group of consecutive-numbered arches are often in the same locality, but often they are not. For example, when additional arches are recorded in the same locality at a later date, they may have considerably higher numbers.

The order of the arches on the website is, as much as possible, in a logical geographic sequence. This site is basically a guidebook to the region. Sometimes a long route description might accompany a rather small arch if that happened to be the first arch encountered along the way. Sometimes an arch in one named area is found among descriptions of arches in a different named area. In such cases that arch may be more easily reached from that different named area. A numerical arch index is also supplied so you can track down a reference to a specific arch.

This catalog is called "comprehensive" because all known arches are included. This does not mean that there are not many more arches that are unknown to us.


When it is indicated that arches are measured, this was done with a steel tape. Hiking distance measurements (e.g. walk 300 meters) are estimates, so don't be surprised if they are off by up to 50% or more.


GPS coordinates are UTM WGS 84.


Many thanks to the Tuareg people and friends of Djanet: Mohkar (the elderly guide who led my first trips there), Mohamed Bilali (experienced guide), Marmoud Karzika (enthusiastic donkey driver) and the Zeriba Agency for their logistics. The author would also like to thank NABS members Tom Budlong and Daniel Putelat for their company on some of my adventures in the Tassili. The author would also like to express deep gratitude to the NABS webmaster, David Brandt-Erichsen, for his encouragement on this project, for his HTML work and photo scanning in creating these pages, and for his editing of my limited English.


ALGGuilain Debossens lives in Vetraz-Monthoux, France, and is an avid canyoneer, arch hunter, and lover of nature's wonders, especially in the Sahara Desert area of Africa and the Colorado Plateau area of the United States. In addition to creating the world's first catalog of natural arches in Tassili and Ahaggar National Parks, he has cataloged over 300 natural arches in France. He has his own arch website at

Contrary to first impression, natural arches are not an obsession of the author. They are rather a great excuse to get to such wonderful places. As David Brandt-Erichsen was quoted in New Man magazine, "Having an arch as a goal at the end of a hike is just the frosting on a very good cake, and this has led to a greater interest in knowing where more of them are." Also, if you like exploring on your own in Tassili National Park, arches are good landmarks in this maze of rocks. Therefore, the author proposed this unique "arch by arch" hiking guide for this area.

In 2006, Guilain led a Natural Arch and Bridge Society trip to Tassili National Park. A Journal of this trip, with over 60 photos, is available in the Tassili website section. You can also see Guilain in this panoramic photo in the Tadrart region of Tassili National Park.

NABS home page Tassili home page Ahaggar home page

Introduction to Tassili National Park
Introduction to Ahaggar National Park