Hi Jungle G
I've never been in Algeria in Libya, Niger during July and dont think I'd want to. I got an email from a guy just back from Alg - 40-45C most days... but he was in a nice aircon jeep.
>Reading tells me it is the rainy season, but what does that mean? Constant driving rain, daily rain, intermittent showers, high or unbearable humidity?
I'm not sure where you've got that info from - not my book I hope! It sounds like you are describing Guinea not the Sahara where there is no rain to speak of in any season - It can rain anytime but not for long. Late summer downpours are possible as is winter drizzle, but if you experience either you can be pleased you've encountered a rare event. And it will cool things down for a few hours.
>What are the day/night temperatures likely to be?
In September once, the days were up to 45 with hot winds in mid-Algeria and nights were about 30. I could barely carry enough water from town to town, candles melted into a blob and a tin of spam just poured out of the can. In July it wont be any cooler. These temperatures are not unusual in your country of course, but in the Sahara it is just not the same.
>Is there a problem with flooding in the Sahel areas?
Eventually the inland delta of the Niger around Mopti etc fills up the usual channels making boats more useful - Not around Dogon lands.
>Also- malaria prophylaxis? Does anyone know what types of malaria are prevalent?
Better to ask a travel pharmacy - they will try and give you Lariam which is most effective but has famously horrible side effects.
>It certainly isnt high tourist season- which is a big plus,
To be honest even in the middle of the tourist season the Sahara or West Africa are not exactly the first day of the Harrods sale. Dont forget, there is a reason why people DONT go to these places at this time of year... even if it is northern summer hols. I just got another email about two dead car sellers' bodies which were recovered in northern Mali after 12 years. I would not be surprised if they went in summer as others doing similar journeys have, also perishing in the same way.
>but are the conditions so daunting and unpleasant in both Southern Algeria, the Air, the Sahel to be unrewarding?
In my opinion, yes. In the desert, besides the extreme heat you will find ocluded yellow skies and haze which makes everything look drab. You will get strong winds and dust or sandstorms which make things even worse and more boring. Down in the Air they do get rain but dont count on it - just more enervating heat which greatly increases your chances of getting ill - another reason to avoid this time of year. Further south in West Africa when rains do fall daily in the monsoon it can be quite fun in a messy muggy sort of way - and of course it is only 32 or so max.
If you want to enjoy rather than endure the Sahara and West Africa - go from late oct to mid March.
Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things