The beautiful Waw-an-Namus is an extinct volcanic crater situated in one of the remotest destinations in Libya. It is situated deep in the Sahara desert, almost at its geographic center. The stunning Waw-an-Namus volcanic field is about 4 kilometers wide. It is surrounded by a 10 to 20-kilometer-wide dark-black deposit of ash that stands out starkly against the yellowish desert. On the floor of the caldera, there is a 120-meter-high cinder cone, the apparent source of the ash, as well as three little salty, colored lakes.
The so-called name Waw-an-Namus means “Oasis of Mosquitoes.”. The Crater of the Mosquitoes”, from the fact that the surrounding undersized lakes are infested with mosquitoes, and as a result, camping nearby requires nets or repellents.
In the last two decades, a general phenomenon in the Sahara has been the occurrence of practically potable water close to, at nearly the same elevation as, salt lakes. This scarce supply of water feeds the lakes and was also used by travelers in the old days. Due to the existence of fresh water at this remote volcano, the mind-blowing Waw-an-Namus was always a vital watering point for the caravans.
It is enroute from Waw Al-Kabir to Rebiana and the Al Kufrah Oasis further southeast in Libya. Waw-an-Namus has become one of the foremost destinations for the majority of tourists. They visit the Libyan desert in general and the Fezzan region in particular. The volcano was first reported to the outside world by Karl Moritz von Beurmann in 1862. After that of Gerard Rohlfs in 1881, however, they never visited the site. Most likely, the first European to visit this volcano and report it was a Frenchman, Laurent Lapierre, in 1920.
Lapierre was a military officer who was captured in combat and taken in captivity to Kufra via Waw Al-Kabir and Waw An-Namus. So he had the chance to report his adventure after his release a few years later. About 11 years later, an Italian geologist, Ardito Desio, reached beautiful Waw-an-Namus during his famed long camel journey. On his geological expedition, Desio also visited Jalu, Maradah, Waw Al-Kabir, Tmassah, and Kufra and published a geological description of the volcano for the first time in 1935.
After the Second World War, numerous scientists visited the volcano, as well as the geographer Nikolaus Benjamin Richter. They took a number of trips to the volcano and published a book on his journey to the area in 1960. Since that time, the Libyan government has started awarding petroleum concessions in Libya. Several geologists, geophysicists, and tourists have visited this place to explore the nearby areas or because they were attracted by descriptions of the volcano.