The dark round domes of the Aïr Mountains rise out of the Saharan Desert, resembling a chain of islands in a sea of sand, this is the largest protected area in Africa.
The Air Mountain Range is an ecological island, supporting life unique to the African Sahel surrounded by the shifting dunes. A variety of habitats, including dunes, stony deserts, cliff valleys and canyons, plateaus, and water holes host forty species of mammals, one hundred and sixty-five species of birds, eighteen species of reptiles, and one species of amphibian. This whole area provides prime habitats for three desert antelope species: Dorcus gazelle, the Slender-horned gazelle, and the endangered Addax. Parts of this region is a sanctuary for the world’s largest population of wild Addax.
Birds are abundant because this is the first patch of green, they see on their migration route from the Mediterranean. Many of the bird species are resident breeders in pockets of woodland are growing in slightly wetter mountain canyons and wadis.