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The footsteps of history. Walata and the empire of Ghana.
  The Empire of Ghana is the earliest political organisation known to us south of the Sahara. Its origins in the eighth century are attributed to a Soninke tribe that emerged from Walata at the beginning of our era. The empire covered what is now south-east Mauritania, south-west Mali and northern Senegal, prospering with the trade in gold and salt until it was invaded by the Muslim Almoravid Berbers in 1078. There is a route along which we can get to discover interesting footprints left by this ancient civilisation in and around Walata.

To follow the tourist route known as Walata and the Empire of Ghana we can choose between different variants, according to which way we are going or whether we choose to travel by car or by air. To begin with, we have decided on a route which gives us the chance to enjoy the beauty of the suggestive landscapes of this area.


We land in Nouackchott, the capital of Mauritania, and head for Djouf, the first oasis on the symbolic Road of Hope. From there we are in reach of Kiffa and Tamchaket, which look down on us from a dune. In fact, this spot acts as a distribution point for our visits to the ruins of Awdagost, a historic city which lay on the route taken by the caravans crossing the desert between Timbuktu and Siyilmasa. From the ruins of this city we go on to the little palm grove at Togba, an oasis of cool where we freshen up and recover our strength for the onward journey to Walata.
Walata is a city that needs a few days to itself. We will be seduced by the warmth of its inhabitants and see the great beauty and cultural wealth that have earned it its listing as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. After a few days, when we leave behind us the red houses of Walata with their spectacular decoration, we shall continue to go deeper into the remains of the Empire of Ghana with a visit to its former capital of Koumbi Saleh, which we reach from Timbedra. Here we will be struck by the extent of its archaeological site and its mosque, restored after the excavations between 1972 and 1981.

Of course, a complete tour like this one has to include at least one excursion to places of great natural and historical wealth like Akreijit, Tichitt or Titdjitdja. Undoubtedly, the magical sight of these places will make us want to come back here time and again.

  This route offers three options:

Nouakchott-Walata-Nouakchott by car.

Outward trip or return by plane.

Outward trip and return by plane

  1. Nema - Kumbi Saleh
  2. Kumbi Saleh - Aioun el Atrus (option directly by track, according to the time of year)
  3. Aioun – Tentaine - Tamchaket
  4. Tamchaket – Audagast – Togba – Berber Oasis
  5. Oasis – Aioun – Nema
  6. Nema – Tiguiguil – Walata
  7. Walata
  8. Walata – Shuergde – Tuecritt – Walata
  9. Walata

On trips by air, the time and excursions in Walata can be increased. On trips overland, there are the following variations:

  • Kumbi Saleh – Aioun, by Sahel tracks, taking in 'pel' settlements.
  • Around Aioun (picturesque caves and rocks)
  • Kifa - Tamurt - Tamchaket
  • Djiuk Oasis (with monkeys)
  • Trarza Dunes 


  1. Nouakchott - Djiuk - option Kifa with hotel or bivouac
  2. Tamchaket - Audagast - Togba - Tamchaket
  3. Tamchaket visit to the tamurt- Aioun el Atrus (camp site – hotel)
  4. Aioun - Kumbi Saleh
  5. Kumbi Saleh - Walata
    Walata - Tuecritt – Shuerde
  6. Shuergde - Es Sba
  7. Es Sba - Makhruga
  8. Makhruga - Akreijit
  9. Akreijit - Tichitt
  10. Tichitt - Titjitja
  11. Titjitja - N'Beika (tamurt with Matmata and Gangara farmers)
  12. N'Beika - Nouakchott


  1. Nema - Walata
  2. Walata
  3. Walata - Tuecritt - Shuergde
  4. Dhar Walata - Tichitt
  5. Tichitt
  6. Tichitt - Tidjikja
  7. Tidjikja - Bumdei
  8. Bomdeid - Tamchaket - Audagast
  9. Audagast - Aioun el Atrus
  10. Aioun el Atrus - Kumbi Saleh
  11. Kumbi Saleh - Nema


For this extension it is necessary to know the state of the tracks as in the rainy season they can be partly flooded. This extension is recommended for a better understanding of the cultural offer of the Empire of Ghana route. It also has very interesting countryside and villages to see.

  1. Nouakchott - Bogué - Bolol Dogó - Kaedi
  2. Kaedi – Foum Gleita – Soninke villages
  3. Oasis of Kankosa and 'pel' settlements (should tracks be flooded, the route will be changed for Djiuk. From Kankosa, we take the track to Kifa, which requires a fourth day.
  4. This extension can be added to the start or end of a route such as the Empire of Ghana route.


If you would like more information before travelling to Walata, write to us
Project undertaken by: With the collaboration of:
  FNSAV Fundació Solidaritat UB              
With the support of:
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional
Generalitat de Catalunya                                  Ajuntament de Sant Feliu de Llobregat
Creative Commons License
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons.