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Old 26 Feb 2003
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Spain - Algeria ferry


It seems that the Transmediterranea ferry company will start from 15 of March a new line between Almeria (Spain) and Ghazaouet: http://www.trasmediterranea.es/horarios/Palsur.pdf (timetable on page 2 of the pdf file).

I’m planning to drive from Portugal to Tam and Djanet next October. Thus it would be more logical to cross the Mediterranean Sea between Almeria and Ghazaouet, instead of driving north to Marseille or Genoa, and then heading south (Tunisia – El Oued – and so on..)

I am fully aware of the dangerousness of northern Algeria and also on the sensitiveness of the Morocco – Algeria border region. Chris points out that independent travellers are advised to keep south of El Oued - Ghardaia and east of the trans Sahara highway from Ghardaia toTamanrasset

I might be wrong but have the notion that much of the confrontations / terrorist acts in Algeria are more common in the northeast (east of Algier, Kabylia region).

Does anyone have information about the region covered by the route Oran – El Bayadh – Ghardaia ? Is it also dangerous ? Any recent terrorist acts in this area as well ?

Thanks for the help,
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Old 26 Feb 2003
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We did that route by truck in 1995 (up from Tamanrasset to Oran and catching a ferry to Alicante), and no-one killed us! Police etc. were very friendly and helpful. But we didn't stop along the way much. When we arrived in Oran, it was mid-morning, we spent several hours getting ferry info, negotiating, booking, paying, etc., then filled up with diesel, and were loaded onto the ferry by around 5pm, for departure at 10pm, AFAIR.

I really don't know how to usefully judge that kind of risk - statistics don't mean much when there are only a handful of travellers. But the advantage of very few travellers is that presumably the bad guys are not really lying in wait - you probably have to be pretty unlucky.

FWIW, we are planning to go back via Spain-Oran ferry in April, though we may still change our minds.



[This message has been edited by SandyM (edited 25 February 2003).]
Michael & Sandy
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Old 26 Feb 2003
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this is hardly first hand, but I spent a several days with people from Ghardaia and further north and we chatted a lot about safety. they were very clear that they would not drive at night in the mountains. equally, they were very clear that they knew of no daytime trouble.
I guess the big differences are ...
1) they drive Algerian vehicles
2) they're not going to be camping in the hills

personally, I suspect the tourist safety issue is being over-stated. the Algerian authorities REALLY want to avoid the risk of any more tourist deaths.

[This message has been edited by RichLees (edited 26 February 2003).]
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Old 26 Feb 2003
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We ran into gunrunners on the Alg/Mor border in 2000 near the village of Tafraout. They saw our white and blue vehicles at night (they had rifles and night vision gear) and assumed we were cops and drove away very quickly.
Id be very wary of northern Algeria still, but Im not well up on things there these days.
Very interested in that ferry though...
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Old 26 Feb 2003
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fwiw I met a German Mog earlier this month in Tam who had come down and was going back via Algiers in a vehicle as conspicuous as they get.

I also think the dangers are a bit overstated in the north but of course have to advise cautiously - what would the Algies have thought of Northern Ireland a few years ago. It rarely as bad as it is reported.

If the terror attacks (as opposed to ordinary smugglers/gun runners which are part of the African scenery) continue to diminish tourists will eventually start coming back through N Algieria, as some are already doing.

As to the east if Algiers thing - I met another German who was touring way up north between Alg and Tunisian border - again no probs.

The danger area has been close to Alg with Blida and some other place. Unf Alg- Blida is the road south.
I've never tried routes out of the other Alg ports but they can only be simpler and safer

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Old 28 Feb 2003
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Just met 3 Basques in Tam who crossed Spain-Oran in early February and continued south via Ghardaia in an old Range Rover. They reported no problems.
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