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



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #106  
Old 24 Jan 2016
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Thanks.

RR.
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  #107  
Old 25 Jan 2016
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I heard today Bouteflika has dissolved/shut down the DRS, Secret Services.
To be replaced with "DSS".
Some things may change as the old guard leaves, for better or worse.
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  #108  
Old 26 Jan 2016
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Quote:
Here it is Djanet and Tamanrasset Tour with Expert Algeria, Algeria's Leading Tour Operator
My guy down south tells me this route is closed but they keep asking, as ever.
So 'Expert Algeria' may be just bluffing to perhaps steer you to a northern tour which can be run.

I see the cadaverous Mediène - head of DRS - was retired last year.
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  #109  
Old 26 Jan 2016
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
My guy down south tells me this route is closed but they keep asking, as ever.
So 'Expert Algeria' may be just bluffing to perhaps steer you to a northern tour which can be run.

I see the cadaverous Mediène - head of DRS - was retired last year.
Hi Chris,
I agree with you, unfortunatelly.
RR.
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  #110  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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Tamanrasset Djanet

Tamanrasset and surroundings are indeed normally closed for foreigners. There was a European woman who was not allowed to leave the airport of Tamanrasset... She didnt expect...

But sometimes if you are lucky, you can leave the airport and you are allowed to visit the surroundings. So you never know in advance if you can enter or not.

Now the Tuaregs of Tamanrasset seem to organize desert trips in Tassili (area of Djanet). Tassili is no problem to visit. And very securised.

Because of security reasons I would not advise to go to Tamanrasset, a big town (especially if you are a foreigner). If you follow the news of Algeria, it's always there that things happen (banditry, weapons, ...). The chance to be kidnapped in that area is also much bigger... The border with Mali is not far away... It's of course just an opinion.

I was in Tassili two week ago.
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  #111  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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my speculations

I take your point LT, but I've always had the feeling it's down to the governor of the province or wilaya and how they're allowed to run it. Tourism must make very little money these days, compared to other forms of income, legal or otherwise. You do wonder if the drop in the price of gas/oil on which Alg economy depends may have an influence, or will do soon. Alg knows they have a world-class resource in desert tourism, but they also know too well the risks in managing its security.

I admit it's a big town, but it's hard to think that Tam - at least 400km from a remote border - is any more risky than Djanet - a short distance from what we're told is lawless Libya. At least in Mali/Niger you hear of French/US bases or operations, although I can believe there may be more internal banditry around Tam, associated with drugs smuggling.

Tam wilaya is huge of course - more than twice as big as UK - and comes east right under Illizi province where Djanet is. And compared to Tam wilaya, you'd think the topography here either constrains your movements or makes lots of hiding places, but more kidnappings/attacks have happened in Illizi province than Tam town or even Tam wilaya, and yet tourism is allowed to proceed around Djanet, which seems paradoxical.
I suppose the plateau/Essendilene/Tadrart are easily defined places in which to keep track of tourist movements, but then so is Atakor/Tassili Hoggar.
I got the impression years ago that what occasionally comes across the piste between the two towns is either better hidden from the tourist gaze, or it may all be simply based on inter-wilaya rivalry.
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  #112  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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Tadrart (the region of Tassili and Djanet) has 3 or 4 gates and all controlled by the military. Djanet is also a small village of 10 000 inhabitants. And everybody knows what is happening there (traffic and so on)

Tamanrasset is much more difficult to control with 100 000 inhabitants of different nationalities, and the way to Mali, to Niger and to the north.

And if you follow the Algerian news: there is a lot more happening in Tamanrasset than in Djanet.

You are right, the kidnappings happened in Illizi in 2003. But in that time there was no military, nothing. Everything changed since the attack in In Amenas.
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  #113  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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A little remark: it has nothing to do with inter-wilaya. It's the government (foreign affairs). It's maybe hard to believe. But it's really for protection. How more tourists, how more chance of getting kidnapped (to Mali).
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  #114  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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How things change... For worst in this particular case.

In 2002 (or 2003? The year of the HUGE rainstorm in Algiers) I was in Algeria for work reasons and I was both in Algiers and Tanmarasset. The local people with whom I was meeting, both in Algiers and Tanmarasset were very nice and took me to see several places both around Algiers and, most of all, around Tan. We went to the desert and some small villages, Tan was a safe city where they took me to dinner and things were just ok, I could walk the street with no problems at all. Except on what regards extended tours outside Algiers to the East, never anyone mentioned anything about security, kidnappings, whatever unusual risks a westerner incurred by touring the place. Now even local authorities don't want one to set foot outside Algiers or Oran.

How things REALLY changed in such short time.
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  #115  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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Hi all

I got back from Algiers on 25 Jan and will post a summary and links to pics/videos in the next few days. Galling to see mention of touring in the South - we so wanted to go, but couldn't get confirmation that we'd be allowed out of Tamanrasset city. When we asked ONAT and a couple of other tour operators in Ghardaia about it, there was talk of a Spanish guy who'd gone to Tam I think on 26 or 27 Dec and had spent 4 days trying unsuccessfully to get on a tour of Assekrem / Hoggar, but he wasn't allowed to leave Tam city. What wasn't clear however was whether he'd prearranged something before flying to Tam, or had gone to Tam and then tried to arrange a tour from there.

So we had to settle for Algiers, Constantine, Batna, Ouargla, Ghardaia, Timimoun (and the surrounding countryside), Beni Abbes, Bechar, Tlemcen, Oran and back to Algiers.

In the meantime - when I collected my 30-day visa last month, I too asked how long it was valid for and got told that it was 90 days ie enter the country any time in the 90 days after it was issued and stay for up to 30 days, but would need to be out of the country by the date of expiry. Hope that makes sense.

Cheers

Mark

Last edited by ilesmark; 27 Jan 2016 at 13:51.
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  #116  
Old 16 Feb 2016
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Sorry, coming in full of ignorance...right now you don't think it's safe/possible to ride through Niger and Algeria towards Oran and Gibraltar?

Thanks for your help.

Manuel in Luanda planning the way back to France.
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  #117  
Old 16 Feb 2016
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You can give it a go, Manuel, but chances are as a foreigner you won't get beyond Tahoua or Agadez as, afaik the border beyond Arlit is closed to non locals. And then you have to have your visa and escort in place for Algeria.
I have not heard of a tourist crossing in either direction for years.
Head for the Mauritanian coast for the only guaranteed crossing to the north.
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  #118  
Old 17 Feb 2016
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Thanks Chris,

LAst thing I want to do is to put my life at risk and risking the lives of people who would then come to look for me. Mauritania here I come
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  #119  
Old 17 Feb 2016
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I think the last one here on the HUBB who made it through was Kobus in 2010.
Robbed but unhurt, going south.
Since then noone has even tried? Too bad.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...h-2010-a-49299

I was in Agadez last year and I was urged to continue north, but couldn't find anyone trustworthy enough to go for it.
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  #120  
Old 31 Mar 2016
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I have just come back from a 2 week trip to Algeria. I flew with Turkish Airlines via Instanbul and started by spending 2 nights at the Hotel Colombe in Oran (an excellent hotel). I then took the train to Algiers and spent the night at the Hotel Suisse before flying down to Djanet with Air Algerie.

There I had a 4 day excusion organised by Essendilène Voyages. It was me, the guide and the cook in a 4x4 and it cost 100 Euros a day. Everything was really well organised and I had a great time.

I then returned to Algiers with Tassili Airlines and spent a further 2 night at the Hotel Suisse. It wasn't possible to buy tickets for a domestic flight with Tassili Airlines through their website or even by phoning them up - payment had to be at one of the offices in Algeria. I wanted to make sure I had a ticket before I left though, so in the end I bought a ticket through the very helpful services of Formule1 Voyages in Oran (sending the money by Western Union).

After that I took the train to Constantine and stayed at the Ibis Hotel for 2 nights. After that I spent a night in Souk Ahras and then returned to Constantine for a night at the Novotel and flew back home the next day.

The time in the desert was the highlight for me, but otherwise the warmth and hospitality of the people really made it an excellent trip.
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