We took a 4X4 trip through the dunes and round the hamada on the eastern side so we could look over to the Algerian border. Still closed; a 2km demilitarised zone (for which read minefield) on each side.
You could see how colonialism and modern fixed borders has destroyed life there. The hamada is just made for nomadic graziers but people are having to settle into villages.
Fortunately the dunes bring a constant supply of tourists who are a more profitable cash crop than flocks.As it was the off season we did not see many other tourists (well one jeep) and it was all very Beau Geste and the Foreign Legion, but we did see a lot of grazing camels, turned out as un-needed until the tourist season picks up.
One of the more surprising features was the lake in the middle of the dunes. It is semi-permanent, its size varying with the season and there were a couple of years during the drought of the early noughties when it disappeared altogether It was there and mirror-like clear but sadly we were there too early in the year to see the flamingos which migrate through. I have never seen a wild flamingo :(