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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 10 Nov 2010
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Western Sahara closed to foreigners

Probably only a temporary measure (following riots in Layounne).

Full story here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...reaks-up-53656

With Alg-Mali too dangerous and Alg-Niger closed for similar reasons for the moment*, it means the only current legit overland route across the Sahara is the Nile Route.

Chris S

* Actually crossable with escorts I just read
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Last edited by Chris Scott; 11 Nov 2010 at 00:00.
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Old 11 Nov 2010
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Thanks for letting us know Chris,
Not good news for many i'm sure.
Hoping you're right about the temporary bit.
At least it gives an option to those already on the road with the escorted crossing, but it doesn't fill me with joy........wouldn't you think they'll leave it in place longer than a flat out ban when they see the money coming in???

Happy travels
Sam
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Old 11 Nov 2010
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Hi Sam, I think you have muddled up WS with Niger.

WS reported closed south of Tan-Tan (for foreigners) but I am sure will re-open soon. It was only a riot which happens there once in a while and only became news because many people were killed.
The actual war ended years ago and most tourists transit without ever seeing a Saharawi camp.

Alg-Niger crossing (main central Sahara route) is more complicated and will stay that way. Was 'reported closed' after latest kidnappings, but this is Niger. A guy came through a week or 3 ago and chose to have an agency escort from Assamaka to Arlit (200km piste) for his protection @ €150/day (see the link - the story is not complete).
Earlier this year when north Niger was actually worse with bandits (separate issue from AQIM kidnappers, IMO), the army were trying to charge €500 to escort 200km to Arlit (ie: extortion).

Escorts/guides were only ever required in Niger for Aïr and Tenere, regions east of the trans-Sahara Highway, but tourism collapsed there 2 years ago for various reasons (and probably explains the banditry).

The daily military escort down the road from Arlit to Adagez continues and is free AFAIK, though as often is the case, has dubious actual value if you dont keep up.
I don't think agencies will want the work from Assamaka to Arlit as it is not simple tourism like the Tenere. They'll get robbed like anyone else. Even in Arlit they will advise you to misinform people about your itinerary and timings to avoid a set up (if heading north that is).

Escort is a job for the army in technicals, and if it is necessary (as on Agadez highway) it should be free, just as Dakhla to Mori border used to be, or east Iran and Pakistan are today.

Chris S
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Old 11 Nov 2010
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Cheers Chris....i get there in the end! Just re-read the post, not sure how i linked the escorts with WS!!
Still keeping a close eye on all the Alg-Niger posts, it's a way off yet, but is definitely still plan A for the tail end of 2012. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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