Wadi Matkhandoush Travel Guide

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Petroglyphs at Wadi Matkhandoush

Petroglyphs at Wadi Matkhandoush

Howard Banwell

The route to Wadi Matkhandoush lies south of Germa, about four hours by 4WD. At first you drive at up to 100kph or more over a flat plateau of gravelly sand which brings you to Wadi Berjuj, an extremely wide sandy valley alive with vegetation and herds of grazing camels.   Once you pass the control point in the middle of nowhere which checks your Acacus Desert permit, you climb up on to a gravel ridge for more
high-speed driving, before dropping down halfway along Wadi Matkhandoush, over several kilometers of large, uneven black stones that slow you to a crawl.

The wadi itself may be barren and bone dry, or abundantly green and full of water if it has rained in the previous couple of weeks.

On one side of the wadi runs a bluff of desert-varnished sandstone, and the whole 12km stretch is home to petroglyphs (rock carvings), some of which have been dated to 10,000BC, with many between six and eight thousand years old. Wild animals such as
elephant, giraffe, hippo and crocodile are depicted, as well as domestic cattle and some formless human bodies dating to a later period. You will see no camel carvings here which may seem strange until you discover that the camel was only introduced to the Sahara around 200BC.

Germa is two hours driving from Sebha along the Wadi Al-Hayat.   Further south from Wadi Matkhandoush lies Idehan Murzuq (the Murzuq Sand Sea).

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://www.pbase.com/howardbanwell/idehan_murzuq

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