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

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Old 5 Jul 2006
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Guides required for 2 Bikes in Algeria.....???

Just a quick post.

I've checked the usual sources for info regarding Algerian formailities and understand the relative points regarding visa's, invites, and cash changing at the border. However, as a pair of motorcycles are we required to hire a guide (I have heard differing views from various people), and are we required to purchase insurance at the border (I suspect so...) in which case how much is it liable to be?

Finally, can someone confirm the possibility of putting a bike on a train at Paris and 'railing it down to the south coast of France to avoid the usual 'Frozen Slog Of Death'....

Many thanks in advance,

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Old 5 Jul 2006
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Guides needed alas - obviously in an accompanying car - so why not get a cook too, won't cost much more per day.

Ins at the border straightforward, a pound a day (see the book)

Last time I did it in the 80s, Motorail ran from Calais (limited mid-winter service) or Paris (all year) overnight to Nice (sometimes Marseille).
Turn left for Genoa, right for Marseille.

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Old 7 Jul 2006
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Presumably the guides issue is a product of the security situation in the area? If this is the case do you think there is any likelyhood that the requirement for guides will be dropped in future years? I'm extremely keen to ride in Algeria, but doing it in 'convoy' would undoubtably remove the edge of exploration, excitement, uncertainty, and adventure.... Being followed by guides in car would not be ideal!

Many thanks for taking the time to reply,

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Old 8 Jul 2006
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my algerians friends told me that they expect (and hope) that the restrictions for tourist travel in some regions, e.g. the "Grand Ergs" will be lifted sonner or later.
But they do not expect that the guide requirement will be droped.

Personnaly I think that the guide requirement could be limited to off-road road travel one day, but not in 1 or 2 years time.

I am even convinced that the guide requirement will be extended to contries like Mali and Mauritainia over the next years

All best, Yves
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Old 8 Jul 2006
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Yves is right Dave. We go to a place like the Sahara to get away from restrictions and other people and end up burdened by them - although Alg had a pretty good excuse with the 2003 abductions and the continuing political climate rtw.

Unsupported desert biking (as opposed to straight forward transits or Maroc) is hard but has its rewards. If that's what you want Mori asks no questions, is relatively safe and could offer challenging off-piste routes.
For Alg the best option is tours like mine which make the most of the guide and support by getting right off the map to places you could not reach unsupported.

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Old 10 Jul 2006
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott
For Alg the best option is tours like mine

A quick, modest, and unbiased opinion eh! ;-)

Hmmmm.... Not what I wanted to hear, but hey, thats life. A bit sad that I passed up on your tour earlier this year for precisely this reason. I really wanted to ride the desert unsupported. Now it seems I cant really win either way, but in deference to your comment above using your services does allow access to regions otherwise clearly unavailable and make the most of what is possible....only sad I didnt manage to get a trip in a few years ago when things were a little more oriented towards unsupported stuff.

Time for plans B and C then! Seems like its time to head off to other locations.......any thoughts on The Atacama or Mongolia?! :-)

Cheers all,

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