Before heading to Mauritania (a country it’s fair to say I knew very little about) a quick rummage around the World Wide Winifred told me a few interesting facts that I needed to know and also threw up a couple of things of interest that I didn’t need to know, but I’m glad I did.
One of these was the above named feature, also known as the Eye of Africa.
Only really visible from high altitude, when it was first seen by the early astronauts, it was thought to have been the result of a meteor impact, but studies have found no proof. The clever geologist types now believe it to be a natural feature, that once held water and has eroded over time.
I’d seen a few satellite pics of it, but when I realised I was going to spend a bit of time in Ouadane, I planned a trip up.
Up hill and down dale, bouncing around across the desert for a couple of hours before we stopped and our guide explained we were in the epicentre of the beast.
Totally and utterly underwhelming. It’s so vast that it simply cannot be appreciated at ground level.
I could make out a couple of concentric circles in the distance and having seen pictures before I knew roughly what I was looking at, but even so, although I’m glad I made the trip, I wouldn’t do it again.
Luckily I flew over it a few weeks later in a light aircraft, not high enough to really see it properly, but certainly well enough to see it and to see where I’d stood and the pilots let me have a little fly too, as there were only us three in the plane.
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