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Old 21 Feb 2009
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Tips for Oran

Customs: I arrived by ferry from Marseille a couple of days ago. It took six and a half hours to get out of the port with the car. If you are heading south, do not make my mistake and mention the fact to the passport guy. This caused a big stir, and they said that I need a guide to meet me in Oran (same as at the port in Algiers). In any case, they finally let me go, making me promise not to leave Oran withut a guide. N.B. It would have been 6.5 hours even without this negotiation.

I have a guide organised from Kerzaz and may just head on to Tlemcen and Bechar alone and see how I get on. Any thoughts?

Hotels: I stayed at the Hotel Windsor, which was 1800 with a shower & hot water. Very central on Bvd Larbi Ben M'hidi and exceptionally helpful staff. Just as good as the Hotel Atef, who wanted 4800 a night.

Changing Money: I was offered 8500 for 100 Euros by my hotel and 8900 by the bank. After alot of askng around, I was pointed in the right direction. Go to the Spanish Consulate just off Bvd Mohammed Khemisti. Just around the corner is an open doorway and a room with a few armchairs. An old fellow called Omar sits in there 7 days a week. People in the area all know him. He gave me 12000 and was very professional. Didn't feel like a black market transaction at all.

Hope this helps.

If anyone is doing the circuit of the western oases in the next couple of weeks, let me know and we can meet for drink. I will be driving Timmimoun-In Salah-Tam-Djanet-El Oued in the first 2.5 weeks of March. Room in the car if anyone wants to share guide/petrol costs.


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Old 21 Feb 2009
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Thanks for your news G. Oran does seem to be the new 'Tunis' for Algeria, but now we know for sure that even if that side of the country is less tense it's the same deal with escorts as Algiers port (not that I would bother with the hassle of trying to slip out of either place unescorted).

... Any thoughts?

Well at least you have a guide organised down the road - and I take it have proof of this and genuinely assumed you were allowed to get from the north to Kz unescorted. At worst I imagine the Gendarmerie will escort you down to Kz, or tell you guide to come up.

How was/is the parking at the Winsdor?
Any recommendations in Ain Sefra when/if you stop there?

btw, in case you don't know, before you get to Bechar cut SW at Ben Zireg for Taghit and it's famous if ageing duneside hotel (also nice one in Timi). May help miss a few checkpoints too.
I haven't seem Kerzaz since 1981 - looking forward to going back there too.

Didn't feel like a black market transaction at all....
Well it's 25% above what the internet/banks quote so you got a great deal.

bonne route

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Old 21 Feb 2009
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Hi Genji & Chris,

the posts let me pass 5 weeks ago without any stop or comment down to Timimoun.
Also don't miss BeniAbbes, it is a very quiet and nice small town (not so Taghit and Timimoun). Some bridges were flown away by the recent rainfalls there, ask the locals where you can change the riverside between Bechar and Timimoun now.

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