After a superb sunrise and an invigorating breakfast, we left the Murzuck Sand Sea and headed southward, crossing the Wadi Matkandush in order to reach the access gate to the Akakus. We aired out tires down, repeated the safety rules, took a deep breath, and went for a series of up and down games in the dunes which separated us from the Akakus. Thanks to Mohammed our guide, we easily found this well hidden entrance to Akakus. With only a few minor issues due to bad steering, all Wranglers and trucks made it. The scenery was breathtaking: dark pillars of rock seem to have been planted in sand. The Ouan Kasa valley served us as a new camping site where the sun drew a spectacular light game on the rocks next to us.
The next two days were simply breathtaking while we drove across the bottom of the valley, visiting a lot of the rock paintings in this area. It is easy to understand why this region, with the highest concentration of rock paintings, is actively protected by the local authorities and has been promoted to Unesco World Heritage item. The ultimate reward was the group pictures we took under the “Arch,” a spectacular phenomenon created by millions of years of erosion by wind and sand. That evening, we even camped near the “Elephant Arch” which is a bit smaller, but in which one can find the head, legs, and trunk of an elephant.
Our next waypoint took us south and although the passage to Ghat is open, the track would take us through Algerian no-man’s-land and our guides found this too risky so we took an eastbound route towards Serdeles, which we reached the next day. However, it is only after 860 kilometers that we reached the first signs of civilization and a petrol pump. Too bad it had only petrol, so our CRD Wranglers were left in the cold and as the petrol burning TJs wanted to fill up, the station ran out of lead-free fuel. This created a bit of an anxiety so we had two options: send one of the trucks back to Ghat to get fuel (400 km. detour), or take the gamble and use the last petrol we had to get North towards Tekerkiba, hoping to find petrol in Uwbari or Garama.
We decided to choose the second option but unfortunately the Uwbari pump was empty so we drove in extreme ECO-mode to Tekerkiba. By sundown we had reached Tekerkiba but alas, no petrol here either. We then decided to stop and set up a camp and as the MAN truck was low on fuel too, the Unimog was sent out with all our jerry cans in the booth to go and find fuel. Finally, after one hour, the reassuring phone call came in: “We’ve got fuel!” The MAN truck took off towards the pump at At Tanhama and after 1080 total kilometers of track, we found our much needed diesel. With a giant sigh of relief, we filled everything up and after transferring 3000 liters of fuel, we went back to Tekerkiba.