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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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  #1  
Old 28 Mar 2003
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Off the beaten track and back in two weeks...

... that's what I want to try to do.

I'm a relative newcomer to desert travel having only loitered round the edges in Egypt back in '93 and more recently forayed into the Erg Chebbi, Morocco three years ago.

I'm no stranger to budget travel and roughing it with the locals though, and am keen to go and do just that in the Sahara later this year.
Problem is, as the proud father of a 6 month old baby girl I've had my wings severely clipped and am only being "allowed" 2-3 weeks max to go and relieve my itchy feet.

I'm looking for advice from any desert veterans out there as to what my best options are. The more off the beaten track the better as far as I'm concerned. I've looked at Sudan and Chad, but it seems there are too many restrictions with movement outside of their respective capital cities.

Niger looks promising, but I'm getting the impression I'd be hard pushed to get from Niamey into the Air Mountains and the Tenere region and back in the time I have available to me.

Algeria looks the best option at the moment, but how easy is it to fly into Tam, and what's the score with budget accommodation once there? Are there guides for hire who would take me into the Hoggar for a few days? Etc...

My main objective is to photograph the people and the landscapes. I'm looking at traveling in September.

Any advice gratefully recveived.

MD
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  #2  
Old 28 Mar 2003
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There is a campsite/hotel (Zeriba)in Djanet that's very affordable.

In Tam there 's the address mentionned on Chris'site(cannot remember the name) and the camping 4x4.

At both places there are guides that can take you on a camel/walking/driving tour.

Staying on the campsites you might also run into people that are prepared to take you on some excursions.

I never looked into fights to southern Algeria, but there should be regular flights both to Tam and Djanet from Alger.
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Old 28 Mar 2003
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There are daily (?) flights to both Tam and Djanet from Paris (via Algiers). Easy and not too expensive. Also flights from London - but less frequent.

Once you are in either place, finding a guide to do whatever you want to do will not be difficult at all - getting a good one at the right price might be a little more complicated, however...

Sam.
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Old 30 Mar 2003
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Think air mountains might be quite a nice 2 week tour providing one can fly in to Agadez. Will limit the timescales if one has to transit from Niamey. There are very few limitations in Sudan and they are very keen to promote tourism. Only limitation is size of the place. One has to travel a fair distance from Khartoum and there also seems to be few tour operators. There is a fair amount from Ndjamena and again there are few limitations. There is a limit on going up to the far north but given the 2 weeks limitation can go a fair way north. Having said that finding a good guide at the right price might be difficult. There are some seemingly good people but looking at fairly big bucks and even more if travelling solo as there aren't masses of tourists to team up with. Most going through there seem to have their own transport. Could do a good tour to Faya / Fada in the timescales.
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Old 31 Mar 2003
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If you were interested in a trip in the Aire and Tenere, as suggested by Toby2, then it may be possible to fly in and out of Agadez. In the winter of 2001-2002 the Agadez airport was closed, due to runway re-surfacing, but should now have reopened for international services.

I flew with the charter group Point Afrique for a good price from Niamey (rather than Agadez as planned) to Paris in February 2002, and they were very good. See their site at www.point-afrique.com They also fly to other parts of West Africa.

[This message has been edited by Alistair (edited 31 March 2003).]
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Old 31 Mar 2003
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IMHO I think that if you only have a couple of weeks to spare and you want to get off the beaten track a bit without too much hassel – have a look at the Attar area of Mauritania. After my last visit this has rapidly become my favourite Saharan area.

Ouadane and Chinguetti are well worth a few days visit to explore and the Adrar plateau is fantastic . If you can arrange some transport in Attar you can get all the different desert vistas (dunes, planes, mountains, gueltas ect) within a couple of hundred k’s travel. (Should be easy either with a local tour operator/bush taxi or other travellers)


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http://www.saharanexploration.co.uk
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Old 1 Apr 2003
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The airport in Agadez is still closed, much to the chagrin of local tour operators who have lost business for just this reason. 3 weeks ago there were fliers advertising internal flights (Niamey-Agadez)on small prop planes, but I don't know how reliable this service would be. Also, I doubt you could book until you arrived in Niamey, at which point it would be just as easy to take the bus (around 12 hours). Either way, the round-trip Niamey-Agadez would use 2 days of your holiday.

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Old 2 Apr 2003
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Thanks all for some excellent feedback.

I think I still favour Algeria. It's certainly the easiest visa to obtain. None of the other options have an embassy in the UK, and I'm loathed to send my passport in the post.

Sam, I'm curious as to who flies to Tam or Djanet from the UK. I spoke to Air Algerie and they only mentioned flights from Algiers. I'm looking at going in September and they don't even have a schedule yet for that late in the year.

Cheers,

MD.
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Old 2 Apr 2003
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Sounds like you have some time yet so hopefully the situation will be resolved by then but in light of the issues surrounding missing travellers in Algeria, you might want to hold off arranging anything for a while. The issue seems to be very open at present and its unclear as to how it will develop.

[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 02 April 2003).]
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  #10  
Old 2 Apr 2003
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Air Algerie are fine once you get in the air!!

They fly to London (or at least still were last November) - from Algiers you get a connecting flight.

Alternatively, I imagine that Air France (amongst others) will do the Paris-Algiers route fairly frequently...

Sam.
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