Atar (pop. 17,000), in the Sahara, is probably the easiest desert town to visit—regularly scheduled flights land there and the road is good. We suggest flying to the city and returning to Nouakchott overland (hire a car and driver). The market makes for interesting shopping—prices (especially for food) are lower than in nearby Chinguetti. Atar is close to Amojjar Pass, a beautiful canyon of brown and pink sandstone. The most surprising thing about the canyon is that it is there at all—created by water erosion, the gorge lies in the middle of one of the driest regions we've ever seen. Most visitors find two nights adequate. 250 mi/400 km northeast of Nouakchott.

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