The province of El Oued – known “the city of a thousand domes” lies in the heart of the great Saharan sand sea known as the Grand Erg Oriental.
How to reach El Oued:
The province of El Oued is about an hour south of Algiers by plane, El Oued is one of the most bustling and colourful towns to be found anywhere in the Algerian Sahara.
The Friday camel market – not for the faint-hearted – is one of North Africa’s most extra-ordinary sights, an exotic, visceral mix of beast and man. The dunes surrounding El Oued are home to verdant date oases (the ideal place for a picnic), enormous sand roses and – believe-it-or-not – plantations of potatoes!
The Palace at El Oued presents five-star luxury in the middle of the Sahara desert. Surrounded by palm groves and sand dunes, the palace is an oasis of tranquility and colour, with grounds so rich and fertile that there is even an English-style garden!
The most notable oases are the Oued Souf region, upon which the capital El Oued and neighbouring towns are built, as well as oases located near the towns of El M’Ghair and Djamaa, both of which support extensive palm plantations. Chott Melrhir, a large endorheic salt lake, lies in the north-central part of the province, while Chott Felrhir is a smaller salt lake to its southwest, near El M’Ghair. These salt lakes, and the surrounding areas, lie as much as 30 metres (98 ft) below sea level; nearby towns and villages including Hamraia, Méguibra, Dendouga and Aïn Cheikh are also below sea level.
Climate of El Oued
El Oued Province experiences a hot desert climate. Winters are mild, with average temperatures around 11 °C (52 °F) in January, making this period the best time to visit this province. Summers, however, are hot with average temperatures around 32 °C (90 °F), average maxima around 40 °C (104 °F) and the hottest days approaching 50 °C (122 °F).
El Oued Province is bordered to the northeast by Tébessa Province, to the north by Khenchela Province, to the northwest by Biskra Province, to the south and southwest by Ouargla Province, to the southeast by Tunisia’s Tataouine Governorate, and to the east by Tunisia’s Tozeur and Kebili Governorates.
The province is made up of 12 districts, which are divided into 30 communes or municipalities.
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