Le Cirque de Aïn Ouarka

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Le Cirque de Aïn Ouarka

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    2,350 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    32°43'N 00°10'E
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Le Cirque de Aïn Ouarka. 04/06/03; Nâama; 2,350 ha; 32°44'N 000°10'E. Known by geologists as a "cirque" or amphitheatre-like bowl, this geothermal wetland in the Ksour mountains of the Sahara Atlas is a basin circumscribed by abrupt mountains 1,672m high with two small ponds with saline, clear and deep water. The water from thermal sources is used as a curative spa, whereas the cold sources provide drinking water for the local population -- as a geothermal wetland, the site is extremely rare in the Mediterranean area. The site is famous for ancient practices of hydrotherapy and traditional salt exploitation, and it is an excellent biotope for at least two nationally protected, seriously threatened plant species, Pistacia atlantica desf and Helianthemum lippi. Most remarkable is the presence of the dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) and mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella), classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. Rock paintings and engravings date back more than 10,000 years and testify to the rich fauna of the region at that time (lions, elephants, wild sheep, bustards and ostriches). Ramsar site no. 1300. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Administrative region: 
Wilaya de Nâama

  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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