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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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  #1  
Old 30 Nov 2007
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From Algeria to Niger or Mali

Has anyone done one of these routes lately (since september/october 2007)? And which route is the less dangerous now the Touareg-war started again? From Algeria to Niger, or from Algeria to Mali?

Thanks,
Gerbert
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  #2  
Old 1 Dec 2007
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Algeria to Niger or to Mali is crossing into the Tuareg triangle...

Read the local reality of it here...

Niger | A radioactive rebellion | Economist.com

Notice the triangle in the map!
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  #3  
Old 19 Dec 2007
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Keep an eye on Sahara Overland ~ routes map for crossing the Sahara

FOR UP TO DATE information on the routes through Algeria. The site (and probably the book) is a must if you're thinking of going through Algeria.

There is also up to date information on the situation at the borders with Niger.

It was last updated in November 07.
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  #4  
Old 20 Dec 2007
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I know the book, even contributed to it myself. And I know about the current problems. I only would like to hear some reports from people that crossed recently, because I know people stil do it.
Thanks,
Gerbert
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  #5  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Algeria to Niger or Mali

Just flew back from Nigeria today, We (6) did Djanet (24/12/07) – Tamanrasset – Bordj Mokhta – Tessalit – Gao (02/01/08) onward to Lagos in two Peugeot 505 and a Jeep Cherokee. In Algeria we had a guide but from Bordj Mokhta we went on to Tessalit (Mali) with out a guide. Not sure if it’s of any importance, but 4 of us are of mixed race, 1 white person and 1 black person and we all grow up in Nigeria apart from the white person.
Tunde
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  #6  
Old 19 Jan 2008
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Hello Tunde,

Thanks for your reply. I just confirmed my trip to Algeria. We will arrive at BBM in a Renault master at the end of february. Do you have any recommendations for BBM-Gao? Do's and don'ts?

Greetings,
Gerbert
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  #7  
Old 20 Jan 2008
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Hello

I did the route Tam to borj mokhtar to gao last week. The route can be made in a 2WD with some experience and if you have a few GPS coordinates along the route you dont need a guide for navigation. Everything went fine and the border guards in Tessalit told us that around 25 European cars pass this border every month. According to our information the risk of getting the car stolen is much less if you have a guide who is from the region. We used touareg tours and were very happy with our guide El Mehedi. You have to sleep somewhere along the route and we slept in a village with people he knew which felt very safe. The guide is expensive though we paid
400 Euros but if you have a popular car that you want to continue with Id take the guide just to be on the safe side. You can only get gas in Borj if you have a letter from the mayor which is not hard to get given that the mayor is in town, in a good mood etc.... We brought all the diesel we needed from Tam. They were out of diesel for half a day, so fill up upon arrival.

I can post some GPS coordinates if you want, just write me back.

Marcus
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  #8  
Old 20 Jan 2008
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Concerning your question about dangers: We did meet a serious looking military convoy with some pick up cruisers with machine guns mounted permanently on the roof as well as some pansar wagons. Dont know if it has any meening, we never felt threathened and the local population said that everything is fine.... If the info with 25 cars per month passing the border is true then you should have a reasonable chance of making it to the other end. We meet some swiss guys in Pinzgauers that were heading for Kidal, which is exactly where you shouldnt go. Dont know if they made it through but they seemed very relaxed about it, but on the other hand, who would steal a Pinzgauer...
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  #9  
Old 21 Jan 2008
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I just got back from Algeria yesterday. We wanted to go from regane to bordj el mohktar and at gendarmerie station in regane we were stoped and the only way further was with gerdarmerie convoy.
We changed our plan and we went to tamanraset and from there you can drive to bordj el mohktar without problem (no gendarmerie etc...)

regards,
Tom
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  #10  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Thanks. Did you have a guide from al local agency with you? Or wer you travelling on your own?
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  #11  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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We were of course traveling with the guide from the algerian agency - anyway you can't reach regane or any southern town without hiring one of them - I guess you would be stooped on first checkpoint on the way.

The weird thing that you can do the same piste in one direction with the gendarmerie and in the oposite way without it is according to our guide due to the fact that tamanraset and regane gendarmerie don't belong to the same regional commands.

Tom
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  #12  
Old 25 Jan 2008
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Hi Gerbert.
just back from Algeria. We were in Tam in mid January, staying at Dassine Camping. Three independent vehicles were heading south in the 3 days we were there. One was going to Agadez and two went down to BM and from there they were planning of course to go on to Mali. Each of the vehicles was travelling alone and each had a guide with them. One of the vehicles (Nissan Patrol) returned to Tam after damaging the sump near BM. They said it was all OK at BM, just that they couldn't get anyone to help with the Patrol there. The guide we we with said the route was open to Agadez though.
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  #13  
Old 25 Jan 2008
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Thanks Richard,

We are of in two weeks, doings Algiers, Tam, BBM and on to Mali. It seems quite busy there. I hear in Niger a guide is obligatory in the north. But I think it's too dangerous now there. A real war. Tanout seems occupied by rebels since a couple of days.

What were you doing in Tam? Is camping Dassine the old camping fromthe 90's?

Greetings
Gerbert
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  #14  
Old 26 Jan 2008
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GPS coordinates Borj Mokhtar to Gao

Okey, here comes some randomly chosen coordinates. They are not necessarily at road splittings and it is the route our guide took us, not necessarily the straightest way.... (We happened to pass by some of his relatives on the way).

Borj: N 21 19.916 E 001 00.479

Small village, no checkpoint: N 21 12.105 E 001 02.220

Tessalit, mali customs (3hours to stamp 7 passports, there was a good program on tv) N 20 12.176 E 001 00.553 From here the route is very clear for the first couple of hours.

At N 19 16.037 E 000 52.871 we turned right.

N 18 56.381 E 000 48.291 The pist goes straight south until N 18 38.300 E 000 49.400 where it bends to southsouthwest.

At N 17 51.139 E 000 19.751 turn west to the village Ergane N 17 47.852 E 000 01.674.

Go south to N 17 35.104 E 000 00.531 and then to the village almostart N 17 21.827 E 000 09.010

Go south to N 16 18.833 E 000 04.455 where you turn west for Gao at N 16 16.609 W 000 03.126
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  #15  
Old 27 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvdaa View Post
Thanks Richard,

We are of in two weeks, doings Algiers, Tam, BBM and on to Mali. It seems quite busy there. I hear in Niger a guide is obligatory in the north. But I think it's too dangerous now there. A real war. Tanout seems occupied by rebels since a couple of days.

What were you doing in Tam? Is camping Dassine the old camping fromthe 90's?

Greetings
Gerbert
Looking at the numbers (3 cars going south in 3 days) it sounds busy, but these guys were the only independent travellers we saw in 30 days in Algeria. It seemed very quiet compared with any time between 1999 and 2003.

I agree with your view of Niger. It is serious and one would need random luck really to get through OK.

We were in Tam at the end of a nice piste from Djanet (via Mnt Tazat, Amadror, Tefedest and Garet El Djenoun). Went with family (including our 2 children of 4 and 7 who loved the desert and were no trouble at all). Camping Dassine is the original place - still with the desert bus near the entrance.

The high way south of Ain Salah is pretty broken up at the moment, especially around Arak. Its good for about 100 km south of Ain Salah and about 120 km north of Tam. The rest is slow going. It seemed much worse than in 2002. From the border to Ain Salah is mostly good.

On the way back we had to hurry (visa was about to expire) and so I had to drive straight through from Arak to Nefta in Tunisia. Part of this was at night (leaving Ain Salah at midnight). Until now I hadn't realised it was OK to drive at night. But there was lots of other traffic and the road blocks paid much less attention to us at night than during the day. It was cold and they preferred to stay next to the fire - just in case you need to hurry as well.

Finally, Tam is back to long queues for fuel - about 2 hours or more. Luckily we had the range to get fuel further up the road (In Eker or Arak) where there was no problem. Its been like that for a while apparently.

Good route!
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