The wild gorge of the Oued Seldja, ranging in depth between 150 and 200m (500 and 650ft), lies 10km/6mi west of Metlaoui. It extends for a total distance of 15km/9mi; the finest part, with limestone walls falling vertically down on either side, is 8km/5mi long.The narrowest part of the gorge, known as the Coup du Sabre ("Sabre Stroke"), is particularly picturesque. According to the legend it was hewn out by a Berber prince named Al Mansour while fleeing with his beloved, Leila. In the rock walls can be seen traces of a Roman dam which spanned the gorge at this point.The gorge begins as a narrow defile and then opens out into a small basin. Beyond this is the Coup du Sabre, after which the valley becomes wider again, forming a beautiful verdant basin which for many visitors is the finest part of the gorge. At the end of the gorge is another narrow passage, at the end of which is the spring of Ras el Aioun, where Philippe Thomas discovered the first deposits of phosphates.AccessThe Seldja Gorge is most easily seen by taking the mining company's tourist train, the "Lézard Rouge". It can also be reached by car. From Metlaoui take the Tozeur road (GP 3) and in 5km/3mi, at the Thilja road sign, turn right into a track which heads towards the hills. At a fork bear right into a track leading to the gorge, and continue through the gorge on foot.WarningParticularly during the hot summer months visitors may encounter poisonous snakes (the African cobra): stout footwear, therefore, is essential. For part of the way it is necessary to walk along the railroad track: be sure to check the times of trains.