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

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  #1  
Old 31 Dec 2008
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Is riding across Algeria's Ergs in daylight permissible?

I have asked Tanezrouft Agency about hiring a guide for a following route: Taleb Larbi> Touggourt> Hassi bel Guebbour>across Erg Issaouane (A2 route in "Sahara Overland")> Illizi>Tarat> Bordj el Haouas> Serouenout> Ideles> Hirhafok> Assekrem> Tam>A11> Ideles>A9> Amguid> A12 (along Eastern side of Erg Tifernine)> Hassi bel Guebbour> Touggourt> Taleb Larbi.

They said that "driving through Erg Issaouanne, Erg Tiffernine, Erg Oriental, Erg Chech, the Illizi - Tarat piste and Bordj Omar Driss - Amguid is still not permitted for tourism. But south of Illizi and In Salah there are almost no restrictions."

I know that Army Command banned vehicles from remote Saharan paths at night across 6 southern provinces. Was this ban expanded to day crossings?
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  #2  
Old 1 Jan 2009
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That is a great route you have put together Tomek but much of this area remains closed to tourists - long after the horse has bolted, so to speak - following the 2003 mass kidnappings which unfolded all around there.

It's not so much a list or ergs as a list of restricted places, some which happen to be ergs.

If you get to Ilizzi you could take A4 off the Fadnoun, then follow A7, and from Tourha Pass (A7/KM357) cut NW to Garet, over the top and so down to In Ecker or up to Arak for fuel via Sli Edrar (very nice rock) - or carry on down towards Ideles on A7 (also v nice run) then, south of the Green Sign, take the red track on the Mich map that hooks under the Tefedest. When clear of the hills you can curve back NW cross country towards In Ecker for fuel.
From In Ecker what we did a year ago was follow A12 to Amguid but cut off west through a nice little pass before Tidikmar to some dunes, and then work our way NW to Sli Edrar, close to the road and then up to Arak for fuel.
From In Ecker or Moulay or Arak there are several ways into the Ahnet on the west side of the TSH to bring you up to In Salah or wherever you like.
Or from Arak there is the old Hoggar piste via Tadjemout oasis and another big guelta to In Salah; a quick way of getting north not on the TSH.
Opposite Tadjemout on the W side of the TSH is Erg Mehajebat, big dunes. Accessible x-country directly west from Tadj passing a big dune.

There are some pix and a map of some of these routes here: Desert Riders Tour - Sahara 2008

I especially like the white granite sands and outcrops around Garet, Sli and Tesnou ('Elephant Rock').

There is still a lot to see and do out there, even with the restrictions. Alg is a big country.

Ch
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  #3  
Old 1 Jan 2009
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That will do. Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Hello

I’m now starting to make plans for my next desert route and this is a good topic to start with.

The guide in Algeria is still obligatory right? How did these fellows that when on motorcycles solve the problem? Did they wire a guide with a 4x4?

I’m aware of the problems in Niger around the Air Mountains but is there safe any to go to Tenere via Algeria? The information that I have is that there are open borders but it’s not very safe….


thanks

bernardo feio
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  #5  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Hi,

>The guide in Algeria is still obligatory right?
Yes

>How did these fellows that when on motorcycles solve the problem?
The guide travels by his 4x4 carrying water food, fuel, etc.

>is there safe any to go to Tenere via Algeria?
No, even driving down from Assamaka to Artlit - Agadez - Niamey is still risky (military convoy from Arlit to Niamey).

Regards, Yves
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  #6  
Old 8 Jan 2009
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Thanks


So if I want to travel with out paying a guide and I like desert my only chance in the north of Africa is to travel to Marrocos, Sahara Ocidental, Mauritania and Tunísia

For Libia, Algeria, Egipt I’m stuck with a guide

…and Niger, Mali, Sudan and Chad are not safe....



One more question: in Algeria beside the guide is also necessary the Tourist Police?

Bernardo Feio
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  #7  
Old 8 Jan 2009
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In Tunisia the guide (and a military escort) is also needed for the most of southern desert...

RR.
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  #8  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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News from Algeria

One more question: in Algeria beside the guide is also necessary the Tourist Police?

Not needed in Algeria, just the escort from border to border who can also be a guide - in your car or his own.

Regarding the original proposed route by Tomek at the top of this thread, I was told while in Algeria recently that they may open up the Amguid track (A9) this year - and more interestingly the other tracks in that region such as A2, A12 and maybe A3.

Other Alg News:
At the airport in Tam the scanners were picking up rocks (both geological and artifacts) in the main luggage for arbitrary confiscation. They were even confiscating sand collected in bottles as a souvenir, so be warned or just leave some loose in the bag.
If every tourist in Algeria took a litre of sand, at the current rate there'll be no dunes left there in 300,000 years time.

We were off car tracks mostly but only saw one group of Lithuanians at the Camping Dassine in Tam (which has had a bit of a makeover).

Amazingly the 600-km water pipeline between the In Salah aquifer and Tam is nearly complete with a 2m-wide trench right along the west side of the TSH. This can actually make breaking off towards the Ahnet etc a little difficult (at least till the end of the year) although there are a few gaps.

At Algiers the old domestic terminal has been knocked down or reclad to match the new international one five mins walk away.

Ch

I'll put a photo report on our recent trip on the S-Files in a week or two.
Sahara Overland ~ Travellers reports
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  #9  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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[QUOTE=Chris Scott;224392]One more question: in Algeria beside the guide is also necessary the Tourist Police?
"At the airport in Tam the scanners were picking up rocks (both geological and artifacts) in the main luggage for arbitrary confiscation. They were even confiscating sand collected in bottles as a souvenir, so be warned or just leave some loose in the bag.
If every tourist in Algeria took a litre of sand, at the current rate there'll be no dunes left there in 300,000 years time."

Assuming 100 000 tourists a year in Algeria, a specific gravity of 1602 kg/cu m and no scanning devices at the airport, in 300 000 years, only the sand of a small flank of a star dune in the Grand Erg Oriental would disappear. But this would increase the local average speed of Italian drivers by a good 5 km/hr and possibly injure 2 locals and a slow camel per millenium. All in all you can see why they are being so careful in Tam.....
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  #10  
Old 28 Jan 2009
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Confirmation before panic

I have been planning a trip in 2010 which pretty much covers routes A1/A2 & A3 from the Sahara Overland book. From your thread it looks like all these routes are closed - Am I correct to think that?
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  #11  
Old 28 Jan 2009
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Am I correct to think that?

Currently, I believe so. Dont know about A1, but A2 and -3, both great routes, are in the Illizi wilaya or department which I believe reduced access in the area following '2003' and may open it again this year.

If not on this forum, watch the Algeria page for updates.
Sahara Overland ~ Algeria visa and travel information

The southeast is the traditional area to explore but I've done a few good routes west of the Trans Sahara Highway since the book came out.
It's a bit more open and less mountainous so you can make it up as you go along, with great driving/riding and landscapes.
Map: http://www.adventure-motorcycling.co...pix/dR8map.jpg
Just finished Tom Sheppard's new book which is largely set there.

Ch

Last edited by Chris Scott; 29 Jan 2009 at 09:44. Reason: clarified
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  #12  
Old 29 Jan 2009
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Hi,

this week I was told, that the Erg Chech is again open for tourism, though I do not know the extent of the zone opened nor have any confirmation of someone who did it with success.
Permission for the planned itinerary must be requested 10 days before in Adrar, entry and exit must be declared. A local guide is required.

The Amguid area is still closed for tourism.

Regards, Yves
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Old 29 Jan 2009
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the Erg Chech is again open for tourism...


Great news but who ever goes there!?
Could that mean the Tanezrouft piste to BBM is open too?

Ch
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  #14  
Old 29 Jan 2009
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Chris,

>Could that mean the Tanezrouft piste to BBM is open too?

I do not know it yet. But don't think so because the Tanezrouft is more difficult to secure. Will investigate on this subject.

Yves
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  #15  
Old 30 Jan 2009
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Loop across Algeria

Dear forumers please feal free to explore photo story of our november 2008 trip at

Picasa Web Albums - Tytus

That was a great 10.000 km run covering some Chris routes. Thank you Chris for all your work (especially book) .

Best regards

Tytus
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