Perched at an altitude of 2180m, on top of the Hoggar black mountains, the Assekrem could have been an eagle's nest. Destiny preferred to make it a hermitage. Some 30 years ago, two Little Brothers of Jesus, Edouard and Alain, discreetly shared this splendid landscape between themselves, which offers to the visitor on a sunny day, a stunning panorama of the Tahat, the highest summit in Algeria, and at the worst a glass of tea and some biscuits. For this break of hospitality in a world of drought with temperature extremes, Edouard and Alain paid the price. Their monastic life is dedicated to Charles de Foucauld, founding father of their congregation who spent five months at Assekrem before he was assassinated by robbers at Tamanrasset, 50 miles away.
To get to Assekrem, you need not be a great walker. A 4x4 easily climbs up to the sanctuary where you can spend the night. You will need to drive for around five hours. From there, the path dug in the rocks leads to the hermitage (15 minutes of easy climbing).
Without your own way of getting around, it is difficult to travel beyond the plateau of Akator, but it is worth the effort to go to Assekrem.© Dmitry Pichugin / 123RF
The volcanic landscapes of Akator, near Assekrem in Hoggar.© Dmitry Pichugin / 123RF
The Hermitage of Charles de Foucauld, on the plateau of Assekrem in Hoggar, north of Tamanrasset.© Dmitry Pichugin / 123RF