World Heritage calendar October image: Lakes of Ounianga (Chad)

Lakes of Ounianga


These eighteen interconnected lakes are an oasis in the heart of the Sahara Desert. In this arid land of less than 2 millimeters of rainfall annually, the colors, shapes and vegetation of the lakes create a landscape mosaic of exceptional beauty: the green of floating reed carpets contrasts with the blue waters against a vista of bare rock formations and brown sand dunes stretching to the horizon. This is an exceptional example of permanent lakes in a desert setting - a remarkable natural phenomenon made possible by an aquifer and a hydrological system which compensates for evaporation losses and maintains the water level with only slight seasonal variations.