Hoggar Mountains

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Hoggar Mountains
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Landscape of the Assekrem region in the Hoggar in Tamanrasset Province
Highest point
Peak Mount Tahat
Elevation 2,908 m (9,541 ft)
Coordinates 23°17′20″N05°32′01″E / 23.28889°N 5.53361°E / 23.28889; 5.53361 Coordinates: 23°17′20″N05°32′01″E / 23.28889°N 5.53361°E / 23.28889; 5.53361
Native nameجبال هقار
Idurar n Uhaggar
Algeria relief location map.jpg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Hoggar Mountains
Location in southern Algeria
Hoggar National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
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Locator map
Location Tamanrasset Province, Algeria
Nearest city Tamanrasset
Coordinates 22°08′N6°10′E / 22.133°N 6.167°E / 22.133; 6.167
Area3,800 km2 (1,500 sq mi)

The Hoggar Mountains (Arabic : جبال هقار, Berber: idurar n Ahaggar) are a highland region in the central Sahara, southern Algeria, along the Tropic of Cancer. The mountains cover an area of approximately 550,000 square km (212,000 square miles). [1]



An oasis in the Hoggar Mountains Hoggar8.jpg
An oasis in the Hoggar Mountains
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This mountainous region is located about 1,500 km (930 mi) south of the capital, Algiers. The area is largely rocky desert with an average elevation of more than 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level. The highest peak, Mount Tahat, is at 2,908 m (9,541 ft). [1] The mountains are primarily composed of metamorphic rock approximately 2 billion years old, although there are areas where more recent volcanic activity has laid down much newer rock. [1] Several of the more dramatic peaks, such as Ilamen, are the result of erosion wearing away extinct volcano domes, leaving behind the more resistant material that plugged the volcanic cores. [1]

Assekrem is a famous and often visited point where Charles de Foucauld built a hermitage in 1911. [2] The main city near the Hoggar Mountains is Tamanrasset, built in a desert valley or wadi.


The Hoggar Mountain range typically experiences hot summers, with a cold winter climate. Temperatures fall below freezing in the winter. Rainfall is rare and sporadic year-round. However, since the climate is less extreme than in most other areas of the Sahara, the Hoggar Mountains are a major location for biodiversity, including number of relict species. The Hoggar Mountains are part of the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregion.

The Hoggar mountains are home to the Ahaggar National Park, one of the national parks of the country. [3] The tallest peak in the Hoggar range, Mount Tahat is located in the park area, which covers approximately 450,000 square kilometres (170,000 sq mi). [3]

Fauna and flora

Slightly to the west of the Hoggar range, a population of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) remained viable into the 20th century, but is now thought to be extirpated within this entire region. [4]

Analysis of collected scat in 2006 showed the presence of the Northwest African cheetah in the region. [5] [6] Between August 2008 and November 2010, four individuals were recorded by camera traps. [7] A single cheetah was filmed and photographed by Algerian naturalists in 2020 in the national park in the Atakor volcanic field whose peaks approach a height of 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). [8]

Relict populations of the West African crocodile persisted in the Hoggar Mountains until the early 20th century. [9]

The park also contains a population of herbivores such as the saharan subspecies of the barbary sheep and the Dorcas gazelle. [3]

Vegetation in this area includes trees such as Vachellia tortilis, Vachellia seyal, myrtle and Tamarix aphylla which are scattered throughout the area. Other plants may include Citrullus colocynthis and Calotropis procera.

Cultural significance

Prehistoric settlement is evident from extant rock paintings dating to 6000 BC. [10] The Hoggar Massif is the land of the Kel Ahaggar Tuareg. [1] The tomb of Tin Hinan, the woman believed to be the matriarch of the Tuareg, is located at Abalessa, an oasis near Tamanrasset. According to legend, the Tim Lam are from the Tafilalt region in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.[ citation needed ]

Panoramic view

Panoramique view from the Assekrem.jpg
Panorama of The Ahaggar mountains

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Algeria

Algeria comprises 2,381,741 square kilometers of land, more than four-fifths of which is desert, in northern Africa, between Morocco and Tunisia. It is the largest country in Africa. Its Arabic name, Al Jazair, derives from the name of the capital Algiers, after the small islands formerly found in its harbor. It has a long Mediterranean coastline. The northern portion, an area of mountains, valleys, and plateaus between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, forms an integral part of the section of North Africa known as the Maghreb. This area includes Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya.

Sahara desert in Africa

The Sahara is a desert on the African continent. With an area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi), it is the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic. The name 'Sahara' is derived from the Arabic word for "desert", ṣaḥra, plural.

Aïr Mountains

The Aïr Mountains or Aïr Massif is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert. Part of the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregion, they rise to more than 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and extend over 84,000 km2 (32,000 sq mi). Lying in the midst of desert north of the 17th parallel, the Aïr plateau, with an average altitude between 500 and 900 m, forms an island of Sahel climate which supports a wide variety of life, many pastoral and farming communities, and dramatic geological and archaeological sites. There are notable archaeological excavations in the region that illustrate the prehistoric past of this region. The endangered painted hunting dog once existed in this region, but may now be extirpated due to human population pressures in this region.

Tamanrasset Province Province of Algeria

Tamanrasset or Tamanghasset (Arabic: ولاية تمنراستWilāya Tamanrāssat, Berber languages: is the largest province in Algeria. It was named after its province seat, Tamanrasset. The province has two national parks, more than any other in Algeria. They are Tassili n'Ajjer National Park and Ahaggar National Park. The province is the largest in Algeria as it is 336854 km² large.

West Saharan montane xeric woodlands

The West Saharan montane xeric woodlands is an ecoregion that extends across several highland regions in the Sahara. Surrounded at lower elevations by the largely barren Sahara, the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands are isolated refuges of plants and animals that can survive in the higher humidity and lower temperatures of the highlands.

Saharan rock art

Saharan rock art is a significant area of archaeological study focusing on artwork carved or painted on the natural rocks of the central Sahara desert. The rock art dates from numerous periods starting c. 12,000 years ago, and is significant because it shows the culture of ancient African societies.

Tanezrouft Natural region

The Tanezrouft is a natural region located along the borders of Algeria, Niger and Mali, west of the Hoggar mountains. It is one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert.

Kel Ahaggar is a Tuareg confederation inhabiting the Hoggar Mountains in Algeria. The confederation is believed to have been founded by the Tuareg matriarch Tin Hinan, whose monumental tomb is located at Abalessa. The official establishment is dated to around 1750. It has been largely defunct since 1977, when it was terminated by the Algerian government.

Mount Tahat

Mount Tahat is the highest mountain peak in Algeria. It sits at an elevation of 2,908 metres. Other sources indicate an elevation of 3,003 metres (9,852 ft). Tahat is also the highest peak in the Hoggar Mountains. Its nearest city is Tamanrasset which is located 56 km to the south.

Tamanrasset City in Tamanrasset Province, Algeria

Tamanrasset, also known as Tamanghasset or Tamenghest, is an oasis city and capital of Tamanrasset Province in southern Algeria, in the Ahaggar Mountains. It is the chief city of the Algerian Tuareg. It is located an altitude of 1,320 metres (4,330 ft). As of the 2008 census, it has a population of 92,635, up from 72,741 in 1998, with an annual growth rate of 2.5%.

Northwest African cheetah

The Northwest African cheetah, also known as the Saharan cheetah, is a cheetah subspecies native to the Sahara and the Sahel. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2008, the population was suspected to number less than 250 mature individuals.

Abalessa Town and commune in Tamanrasset, Algeria

Abalessa is a town and commune in Tamanrasset Province, in southern Algeria, coextensive with the district of the same name. According to the 2008 census it has a population of 9,163 up from 6,484 in 1998, with an annual growth rate of 3.6%. Abalessa is located along the ancient Trans-Saharan trade route, 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of the city of Tamanrasset, the capital of the province. The postcode of the town is 11120.

South Saharan steppe and woodlands

The South Saharan steppe and woodlands, also known as the South Sahara desert, is a deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregion of northern Africa. This band is a transitional region between the Sahara's very arid center to the north, and the wetter Sahelian Acacia savanna ecoregion to the south. In pre-modern times, the grasslands were grazed by migratory gazelles and other ungulates after the rainfalls. More recently, over-grazing by domestic livestock have degraded the territory. Despite the name of the ecoregion, there are few 'woodlands' in the area; those that exist are generally acacia and shrubs along rivers and in wadis.

Tibesti-Jebel Uweinat montane xeric woodlands desert ecoregion in Africa

The Tibesti-Jebel Uweinat montane xeric woodlands is a deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregion in the eastern Sahara. The woodlands ecoregion occupies two separate highland regions, covering portions of northern Chad, southwestern Egypt, southern Libya, and northwestern Sudan.

Teffedest Mountains

The Teffedest Mountains are a mountain range in southern Algeria. They are part of the Hoggar Mountains, located in the Sahara.

Tuareg Shield geological formation between the West African craton and the Saharan Metacraton in West Africa

The Tuareg Shield is a geological formation lying between the West African craton and the Saharan Metacraton in West Africa. Named after the Tuareg people, it has complex a geology, reflecting the collision between these cratons and later events. The landmass covers parts of Algeria, Niger and Mali.

Tin Hinan Tomb

The Tin Hinan Tomb is a monumental tomb located at Abalessa in the Sahara, in the Hoggar Mountains of southern Algeria. The sepulchre was built for Tin Hinan, the Tuareg ancient Queen of the Hoggar (Ahaggar).

Paul Flatters

Paul Flatters was a French soldier who spent a long period as a military administrator in Algeria. He is known as leader of the Flatters expedition, an ill-fated attempt to explore the route of a proposed Trans-Saharan railway from Algeria to the Sudan. Almost all members of the expedition were massacred by hostile Tuaregs. The survivors resorted to eating grass and to cannibalism on the long retreat through the desert. After a brief outburst of public indignation the fiasco was forgotten.

Bir el-Garama Well in Tamanrasset, Algeria

Bir el-Garama is a well in the south of Algeria in Tamanrasset Province, 150 kilometres (93 mi) northeast of Tamanrasset, known as the site where a large part of the French colonial Flatters Expedition was wiped out by Tuaregs. It is better known on French maps by its Tamahaq_language name: Tagmout T-an Koufar, or 'well of the foreigner'.

Atakor volcanic field

Atakor volcanic field is a volcanic field in Algeria. It lies in the Hoggar mountains and consists of a variety of volcanic features such as lava flows and about 450 individual vents which create a spectacular scenery.


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Further reading