Backpacking in Algeria
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Apr 6, 2013 3:14 AM Last Post By: Kiwiinafrica
Mar 16, 2013 4:31 AM
Backpacking in AlgeriaHello everyone
Having used this forum in the past (for Jordan, Iran and Japan) , I have found many helpful ideas and people here. Now I am planning a backpacking/budget trip to Algeria most probably in May and would like to get a bit of perspective. I have heard so much about the place and thought of commencing a discussion here which I hope to update.
I will have around 12-14 days - will most probably fly in and out of Algiers from Gatwick. Intend to spend a few days in Algiers and since I am a Transport Engineer student, would like to take the train to Constatine or Oran (which of these two cities has more to offer). I want to go to Ghardaia and if budget permits a few days in the dessert.
I have heard Tamanrasset is a very good place to start dessert travels from (any ideas about tour operators that offer something that lasts a few days rather than weeks) but is so far away ….
my daily budget would be in the order to £40 or nearabouts and as a result, I would be able to afford budget hotels/campsites only.
Any suggestion about Visa application in London would be highly appreciated as well - would anyone else want to join in to make it more economical? Flights into Algiers tend to be pretty good value but flights within Algeria are more on the expensive side. Bus Travel seems to take a bit more time than I would like to offer.
I hope to contact a few tour operators to see what is up for offer and as I said if anyone feels like joining in please do so as it is likely to make things cheaper. I speak a bit of French so things may work out.
I can just imagine the sheer beauty of this country.
Mar 16, 2013 10:53 AM
- You need to spend time here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/. Thread in which I posted detailed info on my hassles getting a visa at the London consulate (start at end of page 1) here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/south-algeria-areas-open-travelers-66535
- I commented a few threads ago on my experiences of Algiers - Ghardaia bus travel - obviously there are road safety concerns, but when a 15-ton bus collides with a 2-ton car, the bus wins - so not really wildly risky. Additionally, the buses are very cheap and frequent, so good for a low-budget trip. The "serveece" shared taxi network makes it very easy and fast to get around and is also cheap so I'm not sure train travel is a great idea.
Whilst at Ghardaia terminal I actually saw a bus with Tamanrasset on the destination sign, so I guess it's possible (maybe 30-hour ride) but I doubt whether you you would be allowed on without a rubber-stamped invite / itinerary.
Your big problem going to the far south is budgetary - AFAIK it's only really for organised groups - you need guides and security, 4x4 transport etc, and that's not economically viable except for sizeable well-financed groups. And after the incident at the gas installation a few weeks ago, there aren't going to be many groups to hook up with.
Constantine is pretty nice, worth a couple of your days, so is Ghardaia (but you aren't going to see much real desert) - though of course the fun-factor depends who you meet up with.
Enjoy - I found Algeria to be a highly interesting and rewarding destination, full of absolutely great people, and I recommend it highly. Would go back in a heartbeat. YMMV - my no. 1 tip is be to friendly, and accept all invitations.
Mar 16, 2013 11:57 PM
With a duration of stay between 12 and 14 days (including flights from/to UK?) and your aim to visit Algiers, Oran or Constantine (I choose Constantine without any doubts), Ghardaia and Tam for a desert trip, I hope you are David Copperfield…
If you are a real traveler, even if you use planes and a travel agency for Tam (it's an obligation for the south), it will be impossible to do that properly. The country is huge, the south in May is hot, moving around is time consuming, you have a lot to see (and I'm not fan of "race travel")
I travelled (25 days) by my own in 2009 (spring) between Tlemcen and Annaba including a visit of Ghardaia and the Mzab valley. I used a mix of trains, buses, shared taxis and night buses (Mzab)
I asked my visa in Brussels but it's easy to obtain one.
Bear in mind that if you use a travel agency, your budget will suffer…
Mar 17, 2013 3:40 AM
3Hello; loud applause for your plan, it's do-able only if you 'cut your cloth'. By that I mean being realistic as to what you can include, & what waits for another trip. I, too spent 25 days & found the bus network excellant. The London visa application caused headaches only because I applied somewhat late, therefore dreading the waste of cL100 & the flight. I managed to expedite it with a 'phone call. It transpires that London only processes individuals' apps. on Saturday, & they were mystified that I didn't want to travel there to collect it! Looking @ your plan for Algiers & a NE city, I would think your best 'nibble' of the desert could be Timmimoun, which you can access after Mzab. Transport links are pretty good, and, importantly there is a friendly hostel 'Auberge de Jeunnesse'. I bacame over-optimistic with hostels; sometimes arriving to find them full-booked. This could be made easier by asking a Director elsewhere, eg Constantine, to 'phone ahead. Welcome to pm message me for further snippets. Good luck
Mar 30, 2013 2:33 PM
Apr 6, 2013 3:14 AM
We are currently in Constantine finishing up our time in Algeria. We hit a lot of the places you mention (went to Timimoun, but did not get as far south as Tam, largely due to budget issues) and travelled independently. We are planning on putting an update up on this forum when we leave the country tomorrow (heading to Tunisia next) - so hopefully that will be of assistance to you.
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