Also known as: Kifa

The glass city in the south

Kiffa is the most important city in the central south and also the capital of the Assaba region. The city of 60,000 inhabitants is located on the western edge of the Aoukar Depression. For decades, Kiffa was a stopover for the original Dakar Rally. The town is appreciated above all for its handicrafts, especially in the field of glass art. The worldwide unique way of glass production for the region is already documented for the 9th century. Especially the multicolored and richly decorated glass beads, also known as Kiffa beads, are internationally praised and still produced by individual artists. The local mosque is also worth seeing. In the immediate vicinity of Kiffa we find the Affollé Mountains, in the proximity of which the West African crocodile was rediscovered in the 1990s. Previously, it had been considered extinct for decades. A small population of elephants managed to survive there until the 1980s. Kiffa is an important spot on our southern tours through Mauritania. Coming from Ayoun el Atrous we stop on the way in Foum el Cherat, 70 km east of Kiffa. There we can visit the Tamourt Bougari and if you like also the Guelta Metraucha. You decide whether we finally spend the night in an Auberge inside Kiffa, or set up our night camp in a beautiful location outside. And by the way: Did you know that Abderrahmane Sissako, the most famous and multiple award-winning Mauritanian director, was also born here?


  • Affollé mountains
  • Local mosque
  • Art handicraft
  • Tamourt Bougari (in proximity)
  • Guelta Metraucha (in proximity)

 Tours including Kiffa

Tagant Aoukar Tour
Between Mali Empire and Almoravids - On the traces of the history of the South
14 Day(s)
16 Destinations
2700 km
3 Languages
Adrar Tagant Aoukar Tour
More than 3000 km of desert, oases, mountains and petroglyphs
14 Day(s)
21 Destinations
3050 km
3 Languages

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Kiffa

Why is Kiffa known among astronomers?
In 1970 there was a meteorite impact 8 km southeast of the city.
Did Sissako also film in his birthplace?
As a matter of fact, yes. The Mauritanian director shot the opening sequence of several minutes of his 1997 documentary Rostov-Luanda in Kiffa. The film is available on Youtube and gives a good impression of the atmosphere of Mauritania.
How are the Kiffa beads produced?
The production is very complex and requires great craftsmanship, especially since only the simplest materials are used. It works as follows: Finely crushed glass is mixed with a binder diluted in water, such as saliva or gum arabic. From the glass slurry, i.e. the crushed glass mixed with a binder, ornaments are made with a pointed tool, usually a steel needle. The beads are placed in small containers, often sardine cans, and heated on an open fire without molds to melt the glass.
Are there shorter tours that include Kiffa?
It is possible to cover Kiffa as part of a tour lasting several days. We determine the destinations individually according to your wishes, but the minimum duration of the total trip should not be less than 3 days due to the travel time.