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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #31  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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Alg visas suspended for Grand Sud

I am hearing that Switz for sure - and possibly Germany and Italy too? - have just suspended issuing visas for the desert ('Grand Sud'), probably as a result of Mali events. Although a week before that an NL visa was also refused.
Brit visas were issued up to last week (applied weeks before).

Presumably a temporary measure.

Ch
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  #32  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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I'm told from another source in Tam that pretty much all European visas for tourists heading to the south of Alg have been stopped.
Why or for how long no one knows.

Ch
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  #33  
Old 6 Dec 2011
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Just found out from the alg embassy in Stockholm that since a few days back, they do not issue visas for tourists going to Algerian Sahara.
They said it was a temporary measure, but thought it could last several months.
This begs the question - there isn't any special visas for different parts of Algeria afaik, so once inside one could try and go wherever they would let you.
Are there any reports of tourist being evacuated or turned back at the airports?
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  #34  
Old 6 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Are there any reports of tourist being evacuated...
I have just asked a UK tour op on their way back but they're still on the road. On the French Explo forum it does not look like it. I bet it varies between checkpoint and wilaya, though.

Quote:
... or turned back at the airports?
We'll find out soon enough, but I get the feeling not. Algiers airport is pretty easy going. The question is, can one leave Tam to do one's thing.

When our agency applies to the gendarmerie in a few days for some sort of permit, then we may know.

It does seem an over-reaction, but I think they just don't want the added bother at the moment. Or want to be seen by the EU as reacting cautiously [to Mali].

Ch
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  #35  
Old 6 Dec 2011
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Hi,
also in France visa for the "Grand Sud" had been suspended according:
[url=http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=4640826&idl=392751&idl2=917609&idl3=84991 4137&;#4640826]VoyageForum.com
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  #36  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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"No tourism in the South this season"

Google Translate from El Watan.

The article asks good questions as to why.

Ch

Thanks for passing this on
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  #37  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Changing your itinerary

Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
so once inside one could try and go wherever they would let you.
Our very recent experience in November was this.

We had a planned itinerary that we used for application of our tourist visas. At the border, our very experienced guide did two things.
1) Asked if we wanted to change the itinerary to go further south - we agreed
2) Got police authorisation to take us into the desert

We didn't get the nitty gritty of what went on behind the closed doors but the essense is this. If you have a guide (through a travel agency) that knows his stuff, then it shouldn't be a problem once inside to modify the itinerary.

Our change was only small but still proves it's possible.

The other thing we did when wanting to wander freely without our guide in Ain Salah was to register with the local police our arrival. This meant that we could go where we wanted in the local area without being held up. We were stopped by police and the only things they asked us were:

1. What nationality are you?
2. Have you registered at the police station?
3. Is everything alright?

then it was... "Enjoy our village." and we were free to go.

If you want full detail of our trip see our blog: Riding2up Blog
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  #38  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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visas DZ

Hi there,

About visas for DZ.
I called the embassy in the Hague. (netherlands)
They have to wait for instructions before they will give out visas.


Greetings,
Wilmar
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  #39  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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fyi an NL visa was turned down 3 weeks ago and I'm told their website has stated 'no visas for desert tours' for a few weeks at least.

So I am not sure the whole thing is to do with Mali.

Ch
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  #40  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Poland

No answer about our visas aplications since 12.2010.
Even no answer of our questions sent to embassy.
Nothing, nothing, nothing, no help, no answer.


Algeria is closed for Polish (us).

PS.
We have paid for visas and guide from Tanezrouft.

Bartosz
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  #41  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Unfortunately didn't apply myself but the Algerian embassy in Lisbon doesn't state any special remark at the moment:

"TOURISM
• Hand written letter by the tourist with its name, duration of the stay and the itinerary of the trip.
• Trip reservation, inbound and outbound
• Hotel reservation or something like "certification by the county president of the place where the inviter is living"
Also:
- 8 working days delay
- non-Portuguese citizens have to show their Portuguese residence authorization
- less than 90 days 60EUR, more than 60 days 100EUR"

So it doesn't apply to persons not living in Portugal

Original link in Portuguese here, use transalator if needed:
http://www.emb-argelia.pt/index.php?...ares&Itemid=53

Will go there myself but somewhere in the future, not now...

Meanwhile I've sent them email questioning if there is any regional ban.
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Last edited by CaBRita; 7 Dec 2011 at 16:17.
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  #42  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
So I am not sure the whole thing is to do with Mali.

Ch
My guess is that the clamp-down on the Grand-Sud is a response to the Tindouf kidnapping. I would imagine the military is busy on some work in the south at the moment and prefers to have a simple situation of no tourists. The military, of course, has nothing to lose by imposing the clamp-down on tourism - at least not in the short-term.
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  #43  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Hi Bartoz,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartosz View Post
No answer about our visas aplications since 12.2010. Even no answer of our questions sent to embassy.
Nothing, nothing, nothing, no help, no answer.
As sooner as you withdraw your visa application the better is the chance to get the money back from the embassy (but not in case of visa refusal).

For any advance payment to the agency: ask for a refund. The problem could however be to send EUR out of Algeria, considerable fees might apply and other issues due to foreign currency control rules. I never did this, in the past always had some EUR held back for refunds to prevent this issue.

Good luck.
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  #44  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Hi Yves

It is not a problem with money.
Problem is comunications with embassy.
In future maybe we visit Algeria and Tanezrouft will probably exist, so money is not a problem.

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  #45  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Hi Bartoz,

>Problem is communications with embassy.
Sorry for the misinterpretation. Indeed, the communication unusual.
I remember 2-3 cases when visa had been refused but it had always been communicated within a useful delay. In a few other cases there had not been a "no" but delivery had been adjourned again and again - which is also a "no" in diplomats language.
Wish you more luck in the future.

All best, Yves
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