Legion Fort: Chegga

This former French Saharan fort is located in extreme N/E Mauritania in an area known as Chegga.  Looking at the map it appears that Chegga was located at a gap in the Hank Plateau that allowed passage northwest toward Morocco.  Chegga apparently had a water source and was a well known caravan stop-over for several centuries.  A caravansary (Bordj) is pictured on slide 2 and there are several references to this location being used as a way station on the Galica website.  This is a very isolated route that some travelers have used to get to Algeria–entering via Tindouf.  The Legion motorized companies, but more often the Saharan (camel mounted) Companies, patrolled this area (see previous post on Ain Ben Tili).  A more modern description of Chegga would paint it as a region overrun with bandits, smugglers, Polisario insurgents as well as Al-Qaida affiliated terrorists.  Not recommended as a place for westerners.  The fort itself, located a bit south of the actual Chegga area, is in surprisingly good condition from what I can tell from Google Maps.  It’s buildings all seem to have roofs and it appears to be occupied (probably by the Armed Forces of Mauritania).    I have not been able to find any further information on its use by the French other than it was built around 1934 along with several other forts in the same area and for the same reason.  Also, Imay not have the relationship between the Chegga oasis and the fort very clear because I could not detect any other structures around where the map says that there should be a Bordj.  Anyone who knows more about this Fort please feel free to comment below.

Fort Chegga

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About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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3 Responses to Legion Fort: Chegga

  1. Hein de Vries says:

    FYI: During the months of March-May 1974 I stayed at the Bordj of Chegga as a member of the United Nations Development Program Project Mau-4: a geological reconnaissance field expedition.
    At that time the fort was in a good condition and we stayed comfortably in the rooms with thick walls and ceilings which made for a relative cool abode.
    The water source is at some distance from the fort ( a few hundred meters) and consists of a concrete basin in which the water trickling from the rocks is caught. This basin was grown over with reeds and we had to clear a small corner in order to fill our sisterns.
    At that time few scraggy palm trees were standing next to a small shelter next to the basin.
    An interesting feature of the Chegga area are the rock carvings in the sand/siltstones in the base of the dry creek above and some distance away from the water source.
    If there is any interest for more info contact me and I can provide some photo’s out of that time.

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    • Jack Wagner says:

      It would be wonderful if you could share any photos that fort/area. I can’t imagine a more isolated and inhospitable place than Chegga though it appears to still be used by the Mauritanians. Is there just the fort on the plateau or are there any other structures near by? I may be confused with references to a Bordj and to the Fort. I’m starting to think they are the same. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Jack

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      • Hello Jack,
        http://www.heinandwil.net/CANWebpages/Chegga.htm
        If you go to this webpage you will find my photo’s etc. from Chegga. At the time we were there we regarded it as our home away from home. The nights I spent on the walls of the old fort are still cherished memories. Nowadays it may be a less friendly place. Bordj is the same as the fort.
        It took me some time to scan photographs and put it up on our website, which needed some reorganisation to accommodate the Chegga page.
        Enjoy
        Hein

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