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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 4 Jul 2002
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Agerian visa stuff;

UK passport holder leaving England in about 4 weeks or so and commencing an approx 2 year trip going who knows where. First port of call is North/West Africa. I don't have a exact clue when I'll be wanting to enter Algeria and I no longer have an employer. What is the best way to get around these visa qualifications for Algeria? Am I supposed to book accommodation for my entire stay before I arrive there or is it OK to just book a couple of nights (just to get the visa) and then do my own thing once I get there? Are there travel agencies in West Africa that can arrange whatever needs arranging? As you can tell, I'm pretty clueless about all of this, any advice is appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Peter
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  #2  
Old 4 Jul 2002
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If you dont have a vehicle your only entry will be Algiers airport - otherwise only Taleb Larbi/Nefta Tunisia with a car. Forget Maroc side.

Employer leter can be easily faked - anything headed will do.

Accom is included with Tarahist (see website /algeria or other post) even if you never use it,
Essendilene are easier and return an invite Foc by fax as long as you give him full details and he's around.

I dont think Alg - esp the north - is a good place to start for an inexperienced traveller on foot...

Chris S
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  #3  
Old 5 Jul 2002
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YIKESeeepppooh; inexperienced!?!?!?!?!? Damn, I knew that 87 countries just wasn't enough for this site. "It's gotta be at least 100 I kept telling myself".

Anyhow, thanks for replying. Am I right in assuming that as an independent inexperienced foot wanderer, my ONLY way into Algeria is through Algiers airport. Without going into all the why's and therefore's, does that mean I'm supposed to tell their visa people in advance when I'll be arriving in their country and where I'm staying. Can I just stay a couple of days wherever it is and then just take off and do my own thing?

p.s. I've tried their embassies and got the official response. Now, I'm after the actual situation!!

Thanks in advance y'all.
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  #4  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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As you said yourself, you are 'pretty clueless'. Just now the radio is saying a bomb killed 30 people just south of Algiers. The north is a dangerous place for a toubab.

As you must have found elsewhere on your travels, the tricky bit is getting in a country - once in you can pretty much go where you like - but like I sau I dont advise visiting the north. The Sahara is different.

CS
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  #5  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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Jees Chris, me thinks you've been reading the "Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, Your Choice" branch too much. Any of us can insult each other (diplomatically or otherwise), but not too many of us seem able to be able to actually assist one another. A pity really. Thanks for taking the time to reply, didn't help, but thanks anyway.

Thing is, if Algiers airport is the only entry point for foot wanderers and if it is not allowed/unwise to actually go to the north anyway, then that effectively means that there's no point in me even trying to get ino Algeria anyway. If the south is OK to visit, but I can't actually get a visa to enter through the south anyway, then I might just as well head off somewhere else, n'est-ce pas?

Any/all helpful constructive replies appreciated folks.
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  #6  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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Go from Tunis.

Try to hitch a lift into Algeria with an overlander?
Plenty of them talking on this forum....

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  #7  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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It has a price, but you can take a domestic flight to Ghardaia or Ouargla without ever having to leave Algiers airport. If you fly in to Algiers with Air Algerie, a domestic add-on will probably be in the USD 50 range. Once in the south, you can continue to Niger via Tam overland (or leave towards Tunis).

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  #8  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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As Andras says, you can fly to the south without leaving Alg airport, but what are you going to do in the Sahara in the middle of summer other than say you were there?

I know it's holiday time in Europe, but this is the Sahara after all. There was another enthusiastic but possibly naive guy discussing this (we all tried to put him off) and you sound similar. After all, would you go go to the North Pole in winter and even if you are a hardcore adventurer would you expect to enjoy it if you did?

If you really want to explore and enjoy Algerian Sahara - the best of the Saharan countries in my opinion - try it in winter when there is more transport and less weather.

You can come up from the south via Niger but there is no bus service to Alg (maybe flights) and in summer probably very little legitimate surface traffic of any kind - and expensive in Niger I would guess.

Have a look at
http://www.sahara-overland.com/routes/
if you havent already, and read the Agadez link.
It's all there.

West Africa will be hard work too in summer, but at least there is the infrastructure to get you around and it is actually part of the fun

CS
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  #9  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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Sod it all. What the frig? I'll just figure it all out one way or another. Seems like I should just turn up and see what happens. Couldn't be worse than the time I was in Panama City and the Americans and Panamanians decided to slog it out. Got myself arrested twice that day (no big deal stuff),that was a short while after the Nicaragua police arrested me for some silly thing and that was a few weeks after the Hondurans cops arrested me for mistaken identity! I almost got blown up in Croatia a few years ago (wrong place at the wrong time) and there's been other stuff over the years. Northern Algeria, HERE I COME (maybe not).

Shucks, anyway I still can't figure for sure out if foot travellers can cross the Algeria/Tunisia border legally, anyone please?
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  #10  
Old 6 Jul 2002
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Just checked out the link provided by Chris 2 posts above. For some reason, I somehow missed that before. That should answer a few questions.


Does anyone know if this accomodation visa requirement stuff can be sorted out at a travel agency/whatever somewhere in West/North Africa or can it only be sorted out way ahead of time using faxes etc. I'm trying to avoid committing myself to anything more than an hour ahead of time!!!
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  #11  
Old 7 Jul 2002
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Let’s go through this one more time.

Northern Algeria is a “no go” area for foreigners. The few outsiders that do work there are met at Algiers airport by a car full of armed guards, are whisked off to their secure compound, work non stop for three weeks, get driven back in the same fashion, and then recuperate in Europe for a week.

There is little to see and absolutely no tourist infrastructure.

Southern Algeria is relatively safe. The scenery is fantastic. Its part of the Sahara desert, so in the Summer it is very hot. Which is why we don’t go there in the Summer. So you won’t find any fellow travellers.

The average temperature (day and night) in Djanet at this time of year is around 32ºC. If you just sit in the shade all the time and don’t move you need to drink five litres of water per day just to stay alive. On the move you need an awful lot more.

How are you going to carry this? Who will you travel with?

In the Winter you could fly into Algiers, and then South to Djanet or Tamanrasset with Khalifa Airways. Connecting flights only operate about three times a week, so you would have to get your reservations set up in advance because you don’t want to go outside Algiers airport. There is some tourist infrastructure still operating in Djanet and Tamanrasset, but as you would be on your own, to organize a tour you would have to pay for an entire vehicle. Typically one Toyota Land Cruiser plus two guides (yes two guides).

The people who contribute to this forum like Chris Scott and András Zboray have extensive knowledge and experience in this very specialist area of travel. We’ve all had difficult situations with the local police and military in various third world countries. I’ve looked down the barrel of an AK47 and had no idea whether the soldier on the other end was going to pull the trigger or not - I don’t think he did either. In Algeria these are the good guys.

Northern Algeria is no place for any independent foot wanderer, particularly an inexperienced one.

I appreciate that this is not the advice that you wanted to hear, but when all the experts say “Don’t do it this way - try doing it that way” - maybe you should listen and quietly change your plans.
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  #12  
Old 8 Jul 2002
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Jjjjeeessus people, I'm just trying to get some factual answers to some smart questions. It gets confusing when different people on different travel sites say different things.

Believe you me, I have had far more than my fair share of "incidents" in far off lands. If the US Govt had been good enough to warn me in advance that they were going to attack the Panamanians, I wouldn't have gone there. If the damn Serbians hadn't broken a ceasefire, if that frigging bus driver in India hadn't fallen asleep at the wheel, etc etc. Shit happens and no amount of listening to Auntie Beeb can prepare one for everything. I am not suicidal and actually quite smart (street smart also). I'm just trying to get some factual information from folks that have first hand knowledge and not people reading from a guidebook that's years old. I have to assume that most of you don't know the answers to my questions and it appears that all I have done is given some of you the opportunity to spout off on some (well-meaning perhaps) condescending, slightly righteous, pulpit posing (I just made that one up), lecture. It occurs to me that if most people reading this travel by vehicle, then perhaps they do not have the first hand knowledge that I am trying to tap.

To hell with it, I'm off to the boozer. Anyone coming??
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  #13  
Old 8 Jul 2002
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Too late for the boozer so might as well head back here for further slagging!!

I think some of you may have made some wrong assumptions. In my initial post, I said that I was leaving in 4 weeks. Now I realise that quite a few of you head off from home and head directly for Algeria/wherever and perhaps you think that I am doing the same thing. Wrong assumption. I do not intend arriving in North Africa until about January. After leaving the UK, I am heading for Eastern Europe and will sort of head south and west from there (more or less).

I also decided many weeks ago to avoid Northern Algeria. I am more than happy to enter from the South, in fact, I would even prefer it as I visited the north a few years ago.

The questions that I raised are in step with my plans (I think) but some first hand knowledge would assist. As this may not be the right travel site for me, anybody know one that might be? (please don't say Lonely Planet).

I have also sent e-mails to the Algerian Embassies in London and Washington, no replies yet. I have also sent e-mails to the two Algerian travel agents mentioned somewhere else on this website, no replies yet from them also.

Due to my present location (on a sailboat heading west across the Atlantic), I am unable to communicate in other fashions, hence this present situation.

If anyone prefers, e-mail me direct at ontheroadfinally@otmail.com


p.s. I was just kidding about the boozer, it gets kinda boring staying up half the night on watch. Just fantasising about the "Anchor Inn" just off the A38 in Bristol actually!!
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  #14  
Old 8 Jul 2002
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I also worded part of the original post a little mis-leading. I meant to say that my first port of call in Africa is west Africa. I think I should've proof read a bit better.

Ah well, it's nice to know that people care!?!?!?

Can you tell I'm bored? What else can I write about?
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  #15  
Old 8 Jul 2002
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I think this guy is a troll.

In Usenet usage, a "troll" is not a grumpy monster that lives beneath a bridge accosting passers-by, but rather a provocative posting to a newsgroup intended to produce a large volume of frivolous responses. The content of a "troll" posting generally falls into several areas. It may consist of an apparently foolish contradiction of common knowledge, a deliberately offensive insult to the readers of a newsgroup, or a broad request for trivial follow-up postings.
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