If savannah is the transitional ecosystem between desert and forest, the city of Kaédi is located in a region where desert and savannah meet. This is the Gorgol region of southern Mauritania. Located just north of the Senegal River, this is one of the few places in Mauritania where agriculture is a possible, but it is a far cry from classifying as a fertile area. Vast arid expanses punctuated by tiny villages dominate the landscape for hundreds of kilometers along the river.
One of the major settlements along this strip of land is Kaédi, a small city with a few intersecting roads stemming from the market. Of note, in 1989 a regional hospital was built in Kaédi by the renowned Italian architect Fabrizio Carola. The hospital featured domed circular structures connected by vaulted corridors that made the complex look like the product of a futuristic dream.
This structure must have inspired a brave entrepreneur to build a resort in the same style a few kilometers outside of Kaédi. Surrounded by nothing but spectacular landscape, this resort was open until 2017. The family from across the road now “keep an eye” on this abandoned resort, but they can offer no information about the resort other than the date of its closure.
All the red-brick domed units of the complex are connected by narrow vaulted passageways. Each unit is endowed with one or two small glassless windows that can be closed with a shutter. Each unit has a set of three-inch by four-inch glass blocks on its dome to let light in. These thick glass blocks are so effective at capturing and dispersing sunlight within the unit that they can be mistaken for spotlights. In spite of the high summer temperatures, the structure remains cool throughout the day.
Know Before You Go
The resort is fenced off, but the family across the road can show you how to get in. There is no entry fee, but a small tip is recommended.