These dramatic pictures reminiscent of movie classics of Biblical times (or if you replace the camels with horses, of classic westerns) are of Guelta d’Archei. Gueltas are a kind of oasis found in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. They are depressions in the land where pools or reservoirs form. If the source of water is a subterranean stream pushing its way up, the guelta is perennial and if it is rainwater collecting in clay lined lowland, it is short lived.
Guelta d’Archei is in the Ennedi Plateau of northeastern Chad and lies to the southeast of the town of Fada. It is home to the remnants of Nile crocodiles which were once believed to have flourished in all the swamps and rivers of the southern Mediterranean coast and across the Sahara Desert. The only other pocket of Nile crocodiles in the Sahara is in the Tagant Plateau of Mauritania. This is also a site where relics from the Middle Holocene age including some rare animals and primitive rock paintings may be seen.
But the most spectacular are the natural rock and land formations forming a citadel around the waters of the pools as if to protect a treasure, which they are. Contrasted with the majesty of the high walls of rocks hewn by nature over millions of years, the streams look measly and the hundreds of camels and their minders that they refresh and give life to look like toys.
Guelta d’Arche is the watering hole for all the camel caravans, bred as milch and transport animals, passing through the Ennedi.