A long trek across the desert of northeastern Niger brings the visitor to one of the most astonishing and rewarding sights in the Sahel: fortified villages of salt and clay perched on rocks with the Saharan sands laying siege below. Generations of travellers have stood before the “ksars” of Djado, wondering at their crenelated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all of them testifying to a skilled but unknown hand. Who chose to build this outpost in a scorched and desolate region — and why they built it — are questions that have never been fully answered. And just as beguiling is why it was abandoned. No archaeological dig or scientific dating has ever been undertaken to explain the mysteries. Djado lies in the Kawar oasis region 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) from the capital Niamey, near Niger’s deeply troubled border with Libya.
Kawar Today has a Grim Reputation that Deters All but the Most Determined Traveller
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