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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #16  
Old 21 Apr 2023
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Thank you all for some very useful information.


A couple of comments:

When we obtained our visas for the last two trips to Algeria the Consulate staff were very friendly and helpful; we did need a LoI. It took two weeks to receive the visas.

On arriving in Algiers on the second of these trips we had had to change plans and so instead of leaving our cameras/lenses (2 bodies 4 lenses) in Germany we had to take them with us, so we were asked whether we were journalists - we said "no" and after a couple of further questions and answers we were allowed to take them into the country.

ON an earlier occasion I had a pair of binoculars and these were (politely) taken by customs. Somewhat to my surprise they were returned when I left (I left at the same border post as my arrival).
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  #17  
Old 21 Apr 2023
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I wonder if something has changed this year on the back of the VoA announcement?
I still find it hard to believe there will be a free-for-all like pre-2003.

The binoculars (jumelles) thing is an old one.
I was leaving mine at the border 15 years ago - and was also surprised to get them back.
I suppose they were useful to smugglers and AQIM types who didn't have a superzoom camera...
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  #18  
Old 29 Apr 2023
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I always bring binoculars to Africa and was never a problem. Not in Algeria or anywhere. (I am a birder).
Once at the Dahkla crossing a young aggressive soldier asked me why I had them but he was hushed by his superiors.
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  #19  
Old 3 May 2023
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Dakhla, Egypt or Dakhla, Western Sahara?
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  #20  
Old 17 May 2023
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Hi Chris, thanks a lot for the info.

We are on the DR 650 going south from Tunis. You are sure the Tozeur border into Algeria is open? We have the visa for Algeria.

Enjoy the ride,

Marcel
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  #21  
Old 17 May 2023
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No reason why border should be closed.
I take it you have dodged the escort rule.
What nationality?
I hope they let you pass.

Only 30°C in El Oued today ;-)
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  #22  
Old 17 May 2023
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Thanks Chris, we are Dutch.
How did you dodge it? Any advise?
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  #23  
Old 18 May 2023
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I think if you got the visa without having the specify an agency/escort to meet you at the border you are OK.
Are you going all the way south for a look around?
Unescorted, that will be be the test.
Keep us posted.
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  #24  
Old 15 Aug 2023
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summer visit

dear all,

we went on a summer tour in Algeria:
marseille bejaia
Algiers
Oran
Tlemcen
Taghit
Timimoun
Ghardaia
Bakta-Timgad
Constantine
Annaba
El-Kala
border crossing El Aïoun (because on google maps malloula looked very busy, and this one was almost empty)
on to Tunis to take the ferry to Civitavechia

some findings:
we are dutch and resident in the netherlands. Applied at Algerian Embassy with only a two day hotel booking and the rest of the paperwork, and that worked, but we had to wait 4 weeks! Our daughter applied separately, and did the same, but had to argue more why she only had two days hotel booking.
We only got 14 days on our visa... just enough for our planned trip but weird as standard is 30 days.

Other important points: I ended up going with the car alone and didnt manage to reserve a cabin so slept on the floor of the ferry. It seemed that everybody did that too although the cabins were full... so it was one big camping site all over the ship.
When you disembark in Bejaia, the car with families get priority, the car with only men get put at the back.. so although i exited the ferry in the first say 50 cars, I had to wait 6 hours to get through! Process itself was fine as described in prev posts.

Cash Machines! they dont work at all in Algeria (internatonial debit credit visa mastercard etc). Only one worked in the Aurassi hotel in Algiers. Did western union, but that also didnt come through for 2 days.. as the line was down. Three days later the western union at post office did retrieve the cash without me being there... still need to get that back... so bring euros!

On police we only had two incidents;
In Ghardaia we went to pick up our daughter from the airport (she flew in via ALgiers), we got questioned extensively on why we were there.. tourisme seems weird to all uniformed people.. We wanted to leave, but then were given a police escort car to drive us back to our guest house.
When i asked the guesthouse (al Hakam), they said it seems routine to do if they spot you. But when we arrived earlier, and the next day, we had no issues like that. Apparently in 2016? tensions were there between the Mozabites and other Islam groups as cited as the reason.

In El-Kala, we were woken up at 0200 by reception, saying police wanted to check our passports... despite reception had made a copy of our passports and details. The plainclothes officer looked at the passports, asked the who are we where we are going, when we leave etc. he left after that (in a police car)
seemed to happen to others there as well.

overall we loved algeria, wanna go back in winter to do some offroading and camping as we hit 50C at daytime and 44 at night (we did know that in advance).
To me the desert area/dunes between Taghit and Timimoun look awesome, and is probably the closest proper desert/dunes to go to from Europe. Landscape around there has very similar vibes to Oman interior.
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  #25  
Old 6 Oct 2023
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Good job!
How was the checkpoints, and did you have to see the gendarmes for renseignements in every wilaya?
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  #26  
Old 4 Nov 2023
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I’ve now written up my own mini-guide for my own trip to Algeria, in which I was able to reach the far south, including Djanet, Tamanrasset and Asskrem.

Online here: http://wherenextbarney.me/routes/rou...-by-motorbike/

Cheers,

Ed


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Where Next Barney? Buenos Aires to Lima 2015 | London to Sydney 2015/6 | Armenia, Georgia & the FYR 2022 | Algerian Sahara 2023.
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  #27  
Old 16 Nov 2023
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Solo female traveller

Hi - I wanted to ask about accomodation, did you find it easy to find places?
I'm actually coming across in my van, so can stay in it, however concerned as not sure how safe it is to do this. I have hotel booked for first and last night there as required to get my visa.

I have my visa and will be coming from Tunisia, is the Malou Border Post safe one to cross?

Appreciate any information - thanks
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  #28  
Old 16 Nov 2023
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I think to park van in the middle of nowhere would be quite unusual and police wont like it. So make sure you are out of sight or in plain sight in a town with someone's permission. Otherwise police may insist you park by a police station 'pour votre securité'.
Hotels will be a bit rough and/or very far apart down south, compared to neighbouring countries. Desert tourist towns are a bit different.

I've not heard of Malou crossing. I only know Nefta into the desert.
Or the one on the coast which are both fine.
Not sure what is meant by an unsafe border.

Ed may have more to add. He is there again now.
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  #29  
Old 25 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox5by5 View Post
Hi - I wanted to ask about accomodation, did you find it easy to find places?
I'm actually coming across in my van, so can stay in it, however concerned as not sure how safe it is to do this. I have hotel booked for first and last night there as required to get my visa.

I have my visa and will be coming from Tunisia, is the Malou Border Post safe one to cross?

Appreciate any information - thanks

Hi there,

Pretty much which Chris said. I think you’ll be safe staying in your van, just apply the usual common sense precautions plus I wouldn’t do it in car parks etc like you can in Europe - find somewhere out of sight and out of the way.

I never felt insecure camping. I did not tell the gendarmes when I planned to do so, however, because I think that might have pushed their natural caution a bit too far.

For hotels, they can be few and far between from El Melia southwards. Even towns like In Salah, where you’d expect there to be good trade given their location, only have a few of varying quality. You can find yourself paying a bit more due to lack of a competitive market, and especially so in tourist towns like Timmoun or Beni Abbas.

Be prepared to camp if you want freedom to roam, would be my advice.

Another tip is that there is a network of government auberges, if/when you can find them - they’re cheap as chips at 300DA a night, but pretty simple and a bit rough - don’t expect much more than a simple bed and some bed sheets that give of some fantastic static electricity sparks in the dark ;-). But they are good enough for what they are - somewhere to rest your head with a roof over it.

Because it’s a cash based society, don’t expect anything from Booking.com or Airbnb away from the coast. I used Google Maps a lot, however, which was useful.

Re border, I’m guessing you mean Maloula in the north? IDK about that one but when I exited Algeria at Taleb Larbi the queues on the DZ were very long. I had the good fortune of being on a motorbike so was able to skip the queue but it still took me an hour or two to complete formalities.

Hope that’s of help. Get in touch if you have any other questions.

Ed


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Where Next Barney? Buenos Aires to Lima 2015 | London to Sydney 2015/6 | Armenia, Georgia & the FYR 2022 | Algerian Sahara 2023.
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  #30  
Old 29 Nov 2023
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Hello. I want to add information about Algeria. .
I traveled through Algeria completely alone, on a motorbike, the whole time without police escort. Maybe I was just lucky.
My route was:
Italy - Tunisia
Tunis
border crossing Hidra - Tebessa, delay 6 hours.
Biskra
Laghouat
Brezina
Ain Sefra
Timimoune
Reggan
In Salah
Tamanrasset
the way to Mount Assekrem
Idles
Djanet
In Amenas
Hassi Messaoud
El Oued
Tebessa - Hydra delay 2 hours
Tunis

If you search "Jebal fcb" on Facebook, there is a report every day.
Both police and military checks always let me go without an escort, which was often offered to me, but not after my refusal.
I am sorry for my bad English.
Your site has helped me a lot.

If you have questions, I'm happy to answer.
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