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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

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



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #31  
Old 1 Dec 2023
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I’ve now written up a second guide, on the best of the off-tarmac desert routes I rode in my two months in the Algerian Sahara this autumn. Hope you enjoy!

https://wherenextbarney.me/algerian-...outh-off-road/

Cheers

Ed
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  #32  
Old 9 Dec 2023
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Tamanrasset

Ed,
Thanks for the report. Algeria has been on my bucket list for a long time, in particular the south. Nowadays it seems a website had (barely) opened.
I see you’ve been Tam, any restriction there ? I heard the Hoggar is closed ?
We’re you allowed to ride from Tam to Djanet independently, or with an escort ?
Around Djanet, did you take a guide, on his own vehicle ?

Thanks mate.
Laurent
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  #33  
Old 10 Dec 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbendel View Post
Ed,
Thanks for the report. Algeria has been on my bucket list for a long time, in particular the south. Nowadays it seems a website had (barely) opened.
I see you’ve been Tam, any restriction there ? I heard the Hoggar is closed ?
We’re you allowed to ride from Tam to Djanet independently, or with an escort ?
Around Djanet, did you take a guide, on his own vehicle ?

Thanks mate.
Laurent
Hi Laurent,

No, I had no restrictions in the south, other than just telling the gendarmes where I planned to go at the various checkpoints. You will need to think carefully about what and how much information you tell them, however - they seemed very cautious about people going off the main roads. I chose not to tell them when I was planning to do that.

I was able to ride from Djanet to Tam without an escort, however yes, in the immediate area around Djanet to the east and to the south east you still need a guide - as I understand it that has been the case even before the civil war in the 1990s.

Ed
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  #34  
Old 10 Dec 2023
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Quote:
as I understand it that has been the case even before the civil war in the 1990s.
Actually that is/was only on the rock art trekking plateau which you can't reach with a vehicle. You could drive southeast all the way to Niger (not that that always ended well once you neared or crossed the border).
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  #35  
Old 11 Dec 2023
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Guide/Report on how to visit Algeria without a guide, with your own vehicle

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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
Actually that is/was only on the rock art trekking plateau which you can't reach with a vehicle. You could drive southeast all the way to Niger (not that that always ended well once you neared or crossed the border).

Might then be worth testing the waters with the gendarmes in the other non-plateau areas around Djanet - I simply deferred to them on (perhaps erroneous) assumption that I couldn’t go to those areas anyway.

In the way into town they insisted on escorting me to a hotel and telling me I wasn’t allowed to leave by moto without telling them first, which reinforced that assumption.

However I had no problems just doing that the next morning - I may have then been able to take the road that Chris mentions and explore more, though that’s TBC, rather than just hot footing it westbound.

Ed


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  #36  
Old 11 Dec 2023
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We saw that Jebal made it by road as far the the Libya-Niger roundabout (only 40km from town) but I agree the now popular Tadrart/Merzouga area (vehicle accessible rock art; huge dunes) right along the Libyan border and at least a 400km round trip from Djanet might be a step too far.
2018 we passed an army checkpoint (tent) as we entered the Tadrart canyon. They might be surprised to see a lone vehicle, not least a moto. Plus, without a guide (or waypoints) to ID locations, a trip here would be a little wasted.
Fact is, there is nowhere dull to go in this entire SE corner of Algeria, even just the road ride from Bordj to Djanet.
I now see the southbound 'Niger' road from the roundabout is sealed for 110km as far as 23.42991, 10.10172 where it joins old A15 right on the Illizi/Tam provincial boundary and just south of Adrar Marilou where patrols used to observe/stop passing traffic to/from Niger.
'A15' the Chirfa balise piste, also starts off sealed NW from that waypoint, but the res soon runs out on aerial mapping. I do wonder if the road direct from the roundabout is now the main way into Djanet, because A15 became famously sandy as you neared the old airport and Djanet from the south.
Not far from the roundabout the 'Niger' road soon passes distinctive Mont Tiska (23.9, 9.8), a pre-GPS era landmark when coming up from Niger and aiming for Djanet.
Tiska could also be a nice spot to explore or spend a night or two out of Djanet without frightening the horses.

Balise piste in 1974 by the intrepid Yves Rohmer predating the '4WD' craze ;-)
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  #37  
Old 13 Dec 2023
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Thanks.
Do you reckon one could even go to Assekrem plateau independently ?
If I make it to Djanet, then it would make sense to bite the bullet and hire a guide with his car for a few days. Won’t be cheap (100$/day?), but it can carry water, food and fuel, and most importantly, he’d know the best places to go to.

Food for thought.

Laurent
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  #38  
Old 17 Dec 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbendel View Post
Thanks.
Do you reckon one could even go to Assekrem plateau independently ?
If I make it to Djanet, then it would make sense to bite the bullet and hire a guide with his car for a few days. Won’t be cheap (100$/day?), but it can carry water, food and fuel, and most importantly, he’d know the best places to go to.

Food for thought.

Laurent

Yep Asskerem was fine for me - managed to do all three routes up/down, first at end of September and then again middle of November.

Ed


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  #39  
Old 28 Dec 2023
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I think about my next year trip to Africa. My first plan was to drive from Tunis to Alger and then to Tinduf and cross the border with Mauritania. But it can be difficult and maybe they (gandarmerie) will not let me pass.

So my second plan was to drive as ussual from Tanger south and then during my way back drive to Choum and cross the border. If it will fail I can always return.
I want to do it without guide, but I think it could be possible with guide waiting for you on the border.

Any suggests???
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  #40  
Old 28 Dec 2023
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From the south (RIM) up seems like a less risky way to do it for the reasons you mention.
I know someone who is heading that way now, but it will be at least a month or more.
Ideally you get the Alg visa without the escort/tour requirement.
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  #41  
Old 28 Dec 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
From the south (RIM) up seems like a less risky way to do it for the reasons you mention.
I know someone who is heading that way now, but it will be at least a month or more.
Ideally you get the Alg visa without the escort/tour requirement.
Getting visa in my country is not a problem. The problem could bo driving from Alger to Mauritania border and not getting pass. Thi can crush all travel. Especially when I want to visit Liberia.
So better as you mention from south to north after all travel. It is not risky.

I wait for the info, thank you for this news.
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  #42  
Old 7 Jan 2024
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We are now since 2 weeks in Algeria and made our way to In Amguel. No Problems with the police, only once turned back in a small road in Tlemcen Region, because too close to Morocco (30 km).
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  #43  
Old 12 Jan 2024
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We are now in Algiers waiting for our flight tomorrow.
We arrived in Tam on Tuesday and took a night flight yesterday, the more conveniant morning flights are usually sold out, when booking short term.
This thread was somehow the trigger for our voyage, thanks for all the contributions. Without it, we would not have taken a chance to try travelling in Algeria. My first and last time here was in 2003.
It worked all better than expected. We took the ferry from Almeria to Ghazaouet. Got off at 9.15 and had passed the Migration at 10.00. That was due to being foot passengers and ones of the first in line. There are way less foot passengers than drivers. It was good to have a booking for the first night to shorten the inquiries. We got the visa as described with some online bookings, proof of travel insurance and confirmation of employer.
Our route was Ghazaouet- Tlemcen-Ain Sefra- Beni Ounif - Taghit - Adrar - Reggane - In Salah - In Amguel - Tazrouk - Tamanrasset.
My Impression was, that we were stopped more often by the police in the north and between In Salah and In Amguel. But most often we did not have to wait for much time. As we were cycling on a tandem it was impossible to get unseen through the checkpoints. We always were transparent with the police, telling the next towns en route. Only 2 or 3 times they started the dialogue mentioning escorte or agency, and some first had to phone the line up, but we never had to argue, just wait a bit and "bon voyage". The only checkpoint, that was giving less confidence was 120 km behind In Salah, talking about aggression until Arak, but after 45 minutes, we could continue into the dusk and stayed the night at the simple service station hostel 20 km later. The police checkpoint in In Salah and a mobile Gendarmerie Check 2 km later were short and had no suspicion when we gave Tam as destination.
I had the impression, that we always had a thorough check, when getting in a new Wilaya, but afterwards were waved through in the same Wilaya as they knew already about foreign cyclists coming through.
After In Amguel, we had no more checkpoints in the Ideles and Tazrouk road. On our last day in Tamanrasset we went up the Assekrem road a bit, but the checkpoint at the crossroads did not even stop us.
People were often happy to meet us and especially the south hopes that tourists are coming back in greater numbers.
It seems that the Escort requirement for Assekrem has fallen not so long ago, but things can change again quickly.
We were told, that there was some gold found recently in the Hoggar and the government tries to push back illegal prospection and mining.
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  #44  
Old 12 Jan 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri8 View Post
We are now in Algiers waiting for our flight tomorrow.
We arrived in Tam on Tuesday and took a night flight yesterday, the more conveniant morning flights are usually sold out, when booking short term.
This thread was somehow the trigger for our voyage, thanks for all the contributions. Without it, we would not have taken a chance to try travelling in Algeria. My first and last time here was in 2003.
It worked all better than expected. We took the ferry from Almeria to Ghazaouet. Got off at 9.15 and had passed the Migration at 10.00. That was due to being foot passengers and ones of the first in line. There are way less foot passengers than drivers. It was good to have a booking for the first night to shorten the inquiries. We got the visa as described with some online bookings, proof of travel insurance and confirmation of employer.
Our route was Ghazaouet- Tlemcen-Ain Sefra- Beni Ounif - Taghit - Adrar - Reggane - In Salah - In Amguel - Tazrouk - Tamanrasset.
My Impression was, that we were stopped more often by the police in the north and between In Salah and In Amguel. But most often we did not have to wait for much time. As we were cycling on a tandem it was impossible to get unseen through the checkpoints. We always were transparent with the police, telling the next towns en route. Only 2 or 3 times they started the dialogue mentioning escorte or agency, and some first had to phone the line up, but we never had to argue, just wait a bit and "bon voyage". The only checkpoint, that was giving less confidence was 120 km behind In Salah, talking about aggression until Arak, but after 45 minutes, we could continue into the dusk and stayed the night at the simple service station hostel 20 km later. The police checkpoint in In Salah and a mobile Gendarmerie Check 2 km later were short and had no suspicion when we gave Tam as destination.
I had the impression, that we always had a thorough check, when getting in a new Wilaya, but afterwards were waved through in the same Wilaya as they knew already about foreign cyclists coming through.
After In Amguel, we had no more checkpoints in the Ideles and Tazrouk road. On our last day in Tamanrasset we went up the Assekrem road a bit, but the checkpoint at the crossroads did not even stop us.
People were often happy to meet us and especially the south hopes that tourists are coming back in greater numbers.
It seems that the Escort requirement for Assekrem has fallen not so long ago, but things can change again quickly.
We were told, that there was some gold found recently in the Hoggar and the government tries to push back illegal prospection and mining.

Congrats Chris! Great to hear that you made it down and around successfully.


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