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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #46  
Old 7 Nov 2003
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I just got back from a 7 day trip in Djanet with an agency called Tasset. it was great, www.tassetadventure.com. A lot of tourists arrived by plane. A few came by car through Tunisia, not too many though. They are not letting people through Lybia (Ghat/Tin Alkoum).
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  #47  
Old 8 Nov 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tiout:
I just got back from a 7 day trip in Djanet with an agency called Tasset. it was great, www.tassetadventure.com. A lot of tourists arrived by plane. A few came by car through Tunisia, not too many though. They are not letting people through Lybia (Ghat/Tin Alkoum).
What about safety? Were you in other places in Algeria than Djanet?
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  #48  
Old 10 Nov 2003
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News from the South of Algeria:

El Watan reports robbery "on the route from In Salah to Niger in the region of Amguid", Bandits might have come from Niger.

Ok, a more precise location would be nice, but it tells us that bandits have learned that security isn't that good in Algeria. Taking into account also the travel warnings from France or the US, or Austria or..., it seems to be very advisable to stay outside and watch the situation.

The first groups of tourists flown to Tam are celebrated in Algerian media in a way that I suspect the season starting extremely weak.

Regards,
Peter
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  #49  
Old 10 Nov 2003
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Two weeks ago, there were about 30 "plane" tourists in Tam - for 62 agencies.
It seems to look better in the Djanet area.

Yves
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  #50  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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On Algeria Interface (AFP) I have found infos below (from South Algeria)...
Look at the infos about 2 students crossing Algeria to Burkina Faso and a sixty old men with in wife in a 4x4 ...
Not only bad news ...


"
Les touristes tardent à revenir à Tamanrasset

TAMANRASSET (Algérie), 12 nov (AFP)
Les fanatiques du désert ne sont pas tous revenus à Tamanrasset en ce début de saison touristique dans le Sahara mais, plus de huit mois après l'enlèvement de 32 otages européens, la capitale du Grand sud algérien ne désespère pas de les voir d'ici à Noël.
"L'affaire des otages enlevés au début de l'année pèse lourd et la clientèle allemande et suisse, importante au Sahara, ne revient pas", note Claudia Abbt Bahedi, une Suissesse de Zurich installée à Tamanrasset (1.900 km au sud d'Alger) depuis une douzaine d'années, où elle tient avec son mari, un targui de cette ville, une agence spécialisée dans le voyage du désert.
Entre la mi-février et la mi-mars de cette année, trente-deux otages européens avaient été enlevés au nord de Tamanrasset par des islamistes armés du Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC), affilié au mouvement terroriste Al Qaïda d'Oussama ben Laden.
Ces otages (16 Allemands, 10 Autrichiens, 4 Suisses, 1 Néerlandais et 1 Suédois) avaient été libérés en deux temps, en mai et en août. Une otage allemande était décédée d'une insolation.
En mai, l'armée algérienne avait libéré un premier groupe après un assaut, alors qu'en août la libération du second groupe avait fait l'objet de longues et difficiles négocations, achevées au Mali voisin.
De fait, les touristes habituellement convoyés, lors de la "saison fraîche" entre octobre et avril, par des agences européennes dans le Sahara algérien sont quasiment absents cette année, ont indiqué à l'AFP des professionnels du tourisme à Tamanrasset, plaque tournante d'un tourisme pour amateurs d'espaces vierges et immenses.
Ils travaillent actuellement "en direct" avec ceux qui ne renoncent pas à leur passion du désert.
"D'ici à Noël nous espérons voir revenir les hésitants", ont indiqué plusieurs professionnels, à l'AFP.
Paradoxalement, ceux qui parcourent le Sahara algérien par leurs propres moyens en voiture ou en moto, la plupart du temps sans guide, n'ont pas hésité à venir ou à revenir en dépit des mises en garde des gouvernements européens.
Des étudiants de Grenoble (sud-est de la France) et de Paris, arrivés à Tamanrasset dans une vieille "2 chevaux" Citroën, en route pour le Burkina Faso, se sont étonnés de "tout le battage du Quai d'Orsay", le ministère français des Affaires étrangères sur les dangers d'un voyage dans le Sahara algérien.
"De toute façon, s'il fallait suivre les recommandations de ce ministère on ne bougerait plus", note un sexagénaire en retraite de l'est de la France, voyageant en tout-terrain en compagnie de son épouse et de plusieurs motards, très satisfaits de leur périple et de l'accueil.
Remontant vers la Tunisie pour y prendre un bateau afin de regagner l'Europe, ce groupe comptait faire une halte dans le massif du Tamelrik, là où les otages ont été enlevés: "en raison de la beauté du lieu et de ces canyons".
Nombre de professionnels du tourisme à Tamanrasset trouvent, d'ailleurs, injustifiés ces avertissements gouvernementaux pour la région "où aucun signe de danger n'a été relevé depuis l'affaire des otages", selon eux.
"Nous n'avons eu aucun problème de sécurité dans tous les sites que les agences ont visités avec des clients. Rien de particulier n'a été remarqué. Seule restriction, nous préférons éviter la zone frontière avec le Mali" où se trouveraient encore les preneurs d'otages, souligne Ahmed Hamdaoui, président d'un syndicat d'agences à Tamanrasset.
Cette frontière est particulièrement surveillée par l'armée algérienne qui a notamment déployé des avions de chasse et de repérages photographiques, visibles sur l'aéroport de Tamanrasset. "


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  #51  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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The fanatics of the desert are not all returned in Tamanrasset at this beginning of tourist season in the Sahara but, more than eight month after the removal of 32 European hostages, the capital of the Great Algerian south does not despair to see them from here in Christmas. "the business of the hostages removed at the beginning of the year weighs heavy and the German and Swiss, significant customers to the Sahara, do not return", note Claudia Abbt Bahedi, a Swiss woman of Zurich installed in Tamanrasset (1.900 km in the south of Algiers) since a dozen years, where it holds with her husband, a targui of this city, an agency specialized in the voyage of the desert. ....[hostage events]..... In fact, the usually convoyed tourists, at the time of the "fresh season" between October and April, by European agencies in the Algerian Sahara miss almost this year, indicated to the AFP professionals tourism with Tamanrasset, hinged plate of tourism for amateurs of virgin and immense spaces. They currently work "on line" with those which do not give up their passion of the desert. "From here in Christmas we hope to see returning the hesitant ones", indicated several professionals, with the AFP. Paradoxically, those which traverse the Algerian Sahara by their own means in the car or in the motor bike, most of the time without guide, did not hesitate to come or return in spite of the warnings of the European governments. Students of Grenoble (south-eastern of France) and of Paris, arrived at Tamanrasset in an old woman "2CV" Citroen, on the way for Burkina Faso, were astonished by "all the beating of the French ministry of the Foreign Affairs on the dangers of a voyage in the Algerian Sahara. "In any event, if it were necessary to follow the recommendations of this ministry one would not move more", note a sexagenerian in retirement of the east of France, travelling in cross-country in company of its wife and several motorcyclists, very satisfied with their tour and reception. Going up towards Tunisia to take a boat there in order to regain Europe, this group intended to make a halt in the solid mass of Tamelrik, where the hostages were removed: "because of the beauty of the place and these canyons". A many professionals of tourism with Tamanrasset find, moreover, unjustified these governmental warnings for the area "where no sign of danger was raised since the business of the hostages", according to them. "We did not have any problem of safety in all the sites which the agencies visited with customers. Nothing in particular was noticed. Only restriction, we prefer to avoid the frontier zone with Mali "where still the takers of hostages would be, underlines Ahmed Hamdaoui, president of a trade union of agencies in Tamanrasset. This border is particularly supervised by the Algerian army which in particular deployed fighters and locations photographic, visible on the airport of Tamanrasset. "

Sounds pretty upbeat. I notice Interface did not mention the 'Nigeran' raid around Amguid a few days ago (in English at least).

Ch
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  #52  
Old 13 Nov 2003
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Had an email today from the above mentioned Claudia Bahedi replying to my request for an invitation. She says bikers can't leave the major roads (i.e. the ones marked red and yellow on the Mich map) without a guide.

So now I don't know what to do. I want to do some pistes but it seems the only way to get an invitation is to prepay for a guided tour - which I don't want and can't afford.

What should I do? Get a transit visa and then attempt some unofficial piste bashing?

Here's the full text of Claudia's email:

As a consequence to the kidnappings earlier this year we are held to strictly stick to the national laws of circulation in the Sahara. You will, therefore, understand that for this reason and for your security we have had to change the administration of the " certificat d?hébergement " in the following way :

There is a clear distinction between a transit visa and a tourist visa :
The transit visa will give you enough time to travel from one end of the country to the other on the main roads. According to the laws of the national parks and the national road laws you are not allowed to leave the main roads, i.e red and yellow tracks on the Michelin map, without special guide and accompanying vehicles and/or special authorizations.

The tourist visa allows you to travel within the country for the amount of time that you wish to spend in the country always of course respecting the same laws as stated above.

We can only deliver a " certificat d?hébergement " with a confirmed and prepayed minimum booking of one of our services i.e. B&B in our lodge, guide, cameltour, tour by 4x4, etc. for the period of time of your arrangements with us.

For transit visas the minimum prepayment is of ? 100 / CHF 150 per person (i .e. 1 B&B + dinner at the lodge, administration fee included). The minimum prepayment for groups (6 persons and more) is of ? 80 / CHF 120 per person (i.e. 1 night, breakfast and dinner at the campsite, administration fee included)

For tourist visas you will have to book a tour with us :

If you are travelling by plane : We have a large selection of tours suitable for individuals or groups. It will be our pleasure to send you our suggestions for camel treks or jeep tours.

If you are travelling by car : you will have to book a guide with an accompanying vehicle if you wish to visit the country off road (off the red and yellow tracks). Full board on tour is advisable but not compulsary.

If you are travelling by motorcycle : you will have to book a guide with an accompanying vehicle as well as full board for the tour (cook, food and water) if you wish to visit the country off road (off the red and yellow tracks).

[This message has been edited by nick_horley (edited 12 November 2003).]
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  #53  
Old 13 Nov 2003
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This is what Claudia wrote another guy some months ago. Strictly speaking what she says sounds plausible but since then we have heard other reports.
Try and stretch a transit visa, I would.

Try this guy for an invite:
Mohammed (In Salah, I think)
touiti80 AT hotmail.com
(in French)

He may be more flexible

Ch
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  #54  
Old 14 Nov 2003
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I received an email tonight from a Swiss friend who's just arrived in Tam. There's just three tourists there according to his mail.

He's done Ouargla-elgomea-timimoun and then reganne-bordjMoktqr-Tam on a bike. Quite challenging routes! The email is very brief so no mention of guides etc. As far as I know, he got his tourist visa in Switzerland and he's definitely not the type of person who would travel with guides.

Camiel
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  #55  
Old 19 Nov 2003
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News just in from an Italian guy back from Djanet-Tam-Amguid. Road control normal and convoy as usual only on the trans Sahara road. Visa in Rome as usual, with a hotel reservation.

Ch
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  #56  
Old 19 Nov 2003
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Amguid ? Did this guy really go to Amguid ?
I believed that tourists must stay on main roads to go to Djanet or Tam .
Did this guy take a guide for this trip ?
Thanks a lot for your infos !
RR.
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  #57  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Hi Camiel,

I met Patrick (if it`s Patrick) near Kidal some days ago. He got a Algerian visa without invitation in Geneve. 48 hours. He traveled alone on his bike, without guide.

Greetings,
Gerbert


Quote:
Originally posted by camiel:
I received an email tonight from a Swiss friend who's just arrived in Tam. There's just three tourists there according to his mail.

He's done Ouargla-elgomea-timimoun and then reganne-bordjMoktqr-Tam on a bike. Quite challenging routes! The email is very brief so no mention of guides etc. As far as I know, he got his tourist visa in Switzerland and he's definitely not the type of person who would travel with guides.

Camiel
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  #58  
Old 28 Nov 2003
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Hi,

>believed that tourists must stay on main roads to go to Djanet or Tam .

There is no rule saying this, may be some agencies are telling this.
Regarding the regulatuion I mentioned some time ago: they had been communicated internaly in DZ, but application could be a completely different matter.

Bye, Yves
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  #59  
Old 28 Nov 2003
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That's true ; you can see on the Italian site ( http://www.sahara.it/cgi-bin/ubb/ult...ubb=forum&f=11 )a recent report from a traveller who was in Djanet : no guide is mandatory ( except in the National Parc of Tassili ) .
About roads , the only thing I know is that there are convoys beetween El-Golea and Tam .
But things may change ....
Have a nice trip .
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  #60  
Old 28 Nov 2003
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There have been convoys doen the TSH for years. See:
http://www.sahara-overland.com/Sfiles/wash2.htm
which is why we all go via Amguid or Djanet -or even tanezrouft

Until something goes wrong, Algeria is turning out OK from what I hear. As always the privates will lead the way, so to speak, and the tours will follow.
But there are local interests in limiting the autonomy of the privates as we saw blantantly at the start of the hostage events

Ch
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