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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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Old 20 Jan 2007
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Cool Am I cracked?

I did the Atlantic route last year hitchhiking, have seen the Egyptian side already. I am looking for more of a challenge this time and would really like to see some open desert, so have a couple of questions. First, what is the guide situation like in Algeria? From where do I actually need a guide, south of Ghardaia? When I enter Niger, or... glup.. north mali, do I still need one? (legally, not sensibly=) I was thinking of taking my CTT-250, and just going for it a la Chris in the 80's style. With the current situation maybe thats not a great idea? Is there a possibility that I could get away with crossing most of it without an entourage? The idea of having a 4X4 following me the whole way down doesn't exactly strike me as... well.. atmospheric. Other question, the Tanezrouft. I have been in contact with a few locals in Tessalit and northern Mali, they seem to think I wouldn't be entirely mad to try it. Maybe a little, but who here isn't? I don't want to be stupid though, I am a fool but I don't like to be fool hardy. Besides the risk of being kidnapped, is there access to fuel, water crossing the Tanez?? Remember I am a lone biker, am I going to end up a shruken natural mummification for future archaeologists? Last thing, seeing as I am most likely going to find out a guide is manditory, anyone interested in sharing one?

Last edited by Treeclimber; 20 Jan 2007 at 20:08.
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Old 21 Jan 2007
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From where do I actually need a guide, south of Ghardaia?

if you have a vehicle then from any Alg border point of entry. Flying in without vehicles is a different matter, it seems.

When I enter Niger, or... glup.. north mali, do I still need one? (legally, not sensibly=)
No

... Is there a possibility that I could get away with crossing most of it without an entourage? The idea of having a 4X4 following me the whole way down doesn't exactly strike me as... well.. atmospheric.

These days with vehicles it is not poss to just do your own thing in Alg but the time may come one day. For bikes it really does spoil the experience.

Other question, the Tanezrouft. I have been in contact with a few locals in Tessalit and northern Mali, they seem to think I wouldn't be entirely mad to try it.

No, along the Tanezrouft IMO it's merely risky for robbery more than anything else. Not sure what the latest is since last year's Tuareg-GSPC action (apart from the fact that GSPC/MBM have been banished to north of Taoudenni, which is good - if true). Problem could be rogue Mali Tuaregs on the prowl, but whatever a CTT 250 is, it doesnt seem like they'd want it - just your money, gadgets and dox.

Besides the risk of being kidnapped, is there access to fuel, water crossing the Tanez??
Kidnap unlikely along the TNZ piste - just robbery. Where there are people there is always (expensive) fuel and water (and other traffic)

Last thing, seeing as I am most likely going to find out a guide is manditory, anyone interested in sharing one?

I'm sure they're queueing up already! If you're going that way why not buy yourself a leaf-sprung Hilux 2.8 crewcab or two, fill them with HJ60 bits and plonk your CTT on the top. Flog the cars and spares at the Ambassade in north Mali (NM land) and carry on on the bike. All kosher-ish (or maybe 'halal').

Ch
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Old 21 Jan 2007
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Thanks for the reply Chris. Thats really too bad, hehe now I might seriously think about your helux idea. Should I plan on meeting up with people to share a guide before I go? Or are ther convoys of a sort going fairly often? If it looks to be too much of a hassle right now, I may think about putting off the bike yet agian and hitching. Has anyone done that in the recent past? Alg-Niger, or reverse. Which way is the easiest to get rides? My real dream is to see the tanezrouft, is there enough traffic there to think about hitching? Someone told me paying a salt lorrie driver would be my best bet. Any tips welcome.

Ivan
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Old 21 Jan 2007
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I dont think anyone hitches out there (for free at least) but there is a daily bus from Adrar down to Bordj and from there transport onto Tessalit, etc.
Never heard of salt lorries on the TNZ (maybe you are thnking of Taoudenni) but there are lorries transporting everything else.

Ch
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Old 21 Jan 2007
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Yeah, seeing as they are the only source of transportation in the region, compensation would seem a normal expectation. I may end up doing that this time, would prefer to take vehicle but seems that might be to much trouble. Plus, its always fun to drive with locals, always end up having interesting conversations with my limited vocabulary. Do you know what the border formalities would be like at bordj? They probebly aren't used to backpackers going either way, am I right though in thinking that going south would be easiest?

Ivan
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Old 21 Jan 2007
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Plus, its always fun to drive with locals

this is true - more fun and less hassle in many ways.

Border formalities at bordj are normal: police then customs then gendarmes. Then find a lorry to Tessalit and beyond.

am I right though in thinking that going south would be easiest?

I suppose so - coming up they would expect a guide (but might let you get on a bus to Adrar, etc)

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