Category Archives: Tours

Morocco 2016 bike tour gallery

Some shots from one of my 2016 one-week fly-in tours. Some pix by Eric B and Charles N.
For next year’s dates see here.

Leading us away from the usual tourist horrors, you showed me a side of Morocco and its people that I had certainly never experienced. The scenery, routes and riding were superb and for me the pace was absolutely perfect; providing both a bit of a challenge in places and a really relaxing, thought provoking experience. HH (UK)

Algeria Fly & Ride 2018 – FAQ

Start/end Algiers • €3950 + flight + visa + insurances
January 20 – February 3 2018 *
Minimum 6 – Maximum 10
About the tour • Availability

Read the Wuestenfahrer tour page – online translated

KONTAKT / TELEFON
WÜSTENFAHRER REISEN, THOMAS TROSSMANN
Diessener Straße 36 D 86935 Rott / Lech
Telefon/fax 08869 / 912622  Mobil 0151/ 58549686
eMail info@wuestenfahrer.com

What am I paying for exactly?
You are paying Wuestenfahrer for delivery and return of your motorcycle from Rott, Bavaria to Algeria and back, all food, water, fuel and accommodation in southern Algeria, guiding and vehicle support, visa invitations and travel permits.

What is not included?
Transportation of your bike and bulky gear to and from Germany from where you live, flight via Algiers to Illizi and return from there or Djanet via Algiers. Travel insurance including cancellation cover (Wuestenfahrer recommends ADAC or Europe Assistance.). Note: UK and other travel insurance may not be valid in southern Algeria due to UK FCO travel advice. Algerian motor insurance (€110).

Read the Wuestenfahrer tour page translated.

So what will the tour cost me in total?
The tour price plus flights (around £500 return) and other expenses plus getting your bike to Rott and back. So call that about £4500 at current rates.

I don’t read or speak German
Me neither, but Thomas speaks English and you can translate his webpages and brochure to get a fuller picture of what’s involved.
Fwiw, I’ve travelled in the Sahara before with German outfits and Germans, not read any T&Cs or understood what was going on, but had no regrets at all. This tour will primarily be an English-speaking group.

Is Algeria safe?
According to the advice given by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wuestenfahrer currently considers it safe to run tours in southeast Algeria. The UK Foreign Office (along with other overseas government agencies) may not agree.

Are motorcycles available to rent?
Yes. contact Wuestenfahrer.

What is the riding like?
The full range of sand and rock in all its combinations, with an accent on sand. See the video.

Do I need to be experienced in desert riding?
With off road riding certainly, but everyone has to start in the desert somewhere, and with vehicle support is safer than alone, as I know well. All of the riders booked so far have ridden in Algeria and the Sahara before, either alone, or on my tours. Much depends on the bike you choose to ride and your level or experience. The less experienced rider will want a lighter bike. I myself will probably ride my 250 WR.

What sort of preparation will my bike need?
You won’t need a massive tank – the truck can top you up every day. A fresh set of knobblies and chainset will do and a spare air filter is a good idea.

How many actual days riding?
I would guess 12–13 out of 15.

How far will we ride in total?
At least 1500km.

What will a typical day be like?
We have breakfast, gear up, fill up and ride off two hours after dawn, stopping here or there for photos, repairs or rests. We stop for a cold lunch then carry on as before, getting to our camp with a couple of hours daylight to spare. We’ll then repose or otherwise occupy ourselves until the evening meal is served, after which we’re again free to do as we wish.

Read the Wuestenfahrer tour page translated.

What will the weather be like?
January in southeast Algeria will be sunny and warm by day and chilly by night. Rain is unlikely and the hot windy season (as in the video, shot in March) has not have yet begun.

I’m not from the UK, or even the EU – is that a problem?
No, as long as you can get a visa and meet the other criteria. You may have to hire a bike.

How do I get my bike to Germany and back?
It’s down to you. Rott near Munich is nearly 1000km from Calais. I may van some bikes from the UK for a few others, but this is not part of the tour.

What is the support vehicle?
A MAN 9150 4WD, similar to one I once ran and with huge petrol and water tanks, a compressor and internal racking to carry all the bikes.
We will also be accompanied by the local agency escort in a pickup.

What gear do I need to bring?
You will need armoured off-road riding gear: helmet, gloves, boots, as well as a light daypack with a water bladder. A change of clothes, toiletries and the usual gadgets. Sleeping bag, bike tools, puncture repair kits and so on. I am hoping local, thorn-proof foam mattresses can be supplied. Drop the big bag with your bike in Germany, carry a smaller bag with valuables for the flight.

How do I organise the flight?
As far as I recall, internal Air Algerie from Algiers to Illizi leave in the afternoon or evening. So you will need to arrive from wherever before that time. We will all meet  at Algiers airport, if not before. Flying back from Djanet (ideally – or Illizi), the flights get in very early to Algiers, giving you all day to fly on out. When flight schedules are known, I or Thomas will advise when the internal flights come and go.

Read the Wuestenfahrer tour page translated.

What is the accommodation and food like?
There will be basic hotels or camps in Illizi and Djanet and a more modern hotel in Algiers (not included in the tour price) for those needing to spend the night there for flight connections (ideally not necessary). Elsewhere we camp in the desert where most don’t bother with a tent.
For details on the food, translate the latter pages of the Wuestenfahrer brochure. It looks pretty tasty to me.

What happens if I damage my bike or it packs up?
If your bike cannot be repaired, it will be loaded into the MAN and you’ll have to sit out the tour in the pickup. If there is room Thomas may bring a spare bike, but it will have to be rented.

Or if I hurt myself and can’t ride?
Same thing, or arrangements will be made for your hospitalisation if necessary. This is where your travel insurance will be needed. The remote nature of this tour means that getting to a hospital may take a day or two.

What happens to our tour in the event of such a delay?
It’s happened before and the entire group became involved in the recovery and accepted it as part of the experience.

Can I leave the tour at any time?
No – we must stay with our Algerian escort at all times down south.

Do I need any inoculations?
No.

Read the Wuestenfahrer tour page translated.

Will my mobile work?
In towns. Elsewhere I will have a sat phone to rent per minute. As may Thomas.

Is there lightning-fast wi-fi at the lodgings?
Dream on.

What routes from your out-of-print Sahara Overland guidebook will we follow?
It will include parts of A2 – A7, A9 and A12.

What is our route?
See the provisional map here.

Do I need a GPS and a map
No, but some like to keep track or record their location.

When will I know if the tour is confirmed?
When there are at least five confirmed bookings. Booking status here.

My question is not addressed here?
Email me or contact
THOMAS TROSSMANN
Diessener Straße 36 D 86935 Rott / Lech
Telefon/fax 08869 / 912622
Mobil 0151/ 58549686
eMail info@wuestenfahrer.com

I’m up for it. What do I do next?
Email me so I can keep tabs of interest then ask Wuestenfahrer for a booking form.

Please note the tour arrangement is entirely between you and Wuestenfahrer. You are advised to acquaint yourself with their terms and conditions, including cancellation policies. I highly recommend you download their ‘Prospekt‘ (brochure) and laboriously translate the last three pages of this document. Not all of it will make sense so clarify any queries you may have with Wuestenfahrer.

Back to Algeria 2018 page

Chad 2017 FAQ

Start/end Ndjamena • £3200 + visa + flight
Date and availability • Read the FAQs
Back to Chad front page

Last revised Feb 2016

What am I paying for exactly?
All food (including bottled water, where available), fuel and accommodation in Chad, plus foam sleeping mattresses and local guiding and support services in the 4WD and on the camel trek.

What is not included?
Return flight to Ndjamena from where you live. Visa for Chad. Souvenirs. Travel insurance. Suggested flight timings will be given in the booking form.

So what will the tour cost me in total?
The tour price of £3200 plus flights (from £500 return) and a visa (from £100).

I’m worried about attacks by Islamists. Is Chad safe?
The capital and the Lake Chad region saw Boko Haram attacks in 2015. We don’t go near the lake and we don’t hang around in Ndjamena any longer than necessary. Up north the avowed hostility of the Tubu towards jihadists makes it one of the last places in the Sahara where AQIM/Daesh will get a foothold. Note that some government travel advisory pages may not concur with this interpretation.

What are the real dangers out there?
A car accident, though Gerbert is a desert driver of many years experience, and we will be the only vehicles for miles. Then there are the usual desert camp perils of fire burns and thorns. Spraining an ankle on the trek. Headache from too much sun without headwear. In other words, nothing serious. There may be mine fields from the 1980s war with Libya, but over the years they have been clearly cleared or marked off and are well known to locals.

What will the weather be like?
huddleIn Ndjamena hot and muggy. The further north we go the more arid the climate, and as we rise into the mountains the cooler the nights. Strong winds can blow through the Borkou from the northeast, dropping the temperature. Expect the usual extremes, though without actual frost.
Ndjamena climate data
Fada (Ennedi) climate data
Bardai (Tibesti) climate data

What sort of vehicles will be used?
galaxDSC_0112Gerbert is driving up from Cameroon in an old HJ60 Toyota Land Cruiser (left) that will have done a lap of Africa. The 60 is still known across the Sahara as one of the most solid Land Cruisers. The local agency will supply something like a Toyota Galaxy (right) a more modern Land Cruiser Prado-like vehicle. We will all rotate daily so that all get a share of the least bad vehicle, or we can all sit in Gerbert’s 60.

What do I need to bring?
spbg-Chad-Mourdi-pushing-in-the-sandBring a tent inner against mozzies and a good sleeping bag. Local, thorn-proof foam mattresses will be supplied. Hiking boots for the rough walk up Emi Koussi, down into Trou and other excursions. A Camelbak-type water bladder and headtorch. Warm clothing for winter camps – expect nights in the Tibesti in January to get chilly. Day or night, headwear is a very good idea – a cheche (turban) works well. A change of clothes, camp shoes, washing items and medicaments, a day pack for the walks, a walking pole or two and anything else you might need to make your holiday as tolerable as possible. There is very little chance of rain.

What will a typical day be like?
chechainAssuming we camped out in the desert, around dawn the cook will get the fire going for breakfast. We’ll get up, eat breakfast, pack up and set off walking along the piste while the crew break camp. Soon they’ll catch up, we’ll get in the cars and drive on. We’ll find some shade or shelter for a relaxed lunch then get to our camp a couple of hours before dark, have a tea and repose or otherwise occupy ourselves until the evening meal, after which we’re again free to do as we wish.
Note that the schedule can unravel for any number of reasons (usually a glut of punctures), requiring longer unplanned days.

Do we travel every day?
No. Besides the trek up Emi Koussi, there’ll be days- or part days off exploring Archei, Ounianga and Bardai.

What about recharging my gadgets?
powermonkeyBest to either bring a bunch of batteries for cameras or rely on a USB that fits into a car’s 12-volt socket. It’s unlikely we’ll encounter much electricity in the north.

I’m not from the UK, or even the EU. Is that a problem?
No, as long as you can get the visa. Guidelines will be given on how to get a visa. There is no Chad embassy in the UK –  Paris or Bruxelles are nearest so from the UK probably best to do it with a visa agency.

Vache_qui_ritWhat is the accommodation and food like?
dahaA 3* hotel in Ndjamena, rudimentary desert or mountain huts where available, but mostly wild camping in the desert. The food I don’t know, but best to assume it may not be up to the standard of the best former tours luncharnin Algeria and Niger. Breakfast is tea or coffee and probably desert bread (right) with jam or vache. Lunch may be a salad with tea and biscuits or nuts on arrival at camp. Dinner might be soup and pasta or rice with meaty stew and dates plus tea for afters.

I am a vegetarian, is that problem?
In my experience desert cooks don’t fully get this concept and may struggle to separate meat extracts and juices from your meal.

How about alcohol?
Probably not available outside the Ndjamena hotel.

What happens if one of the cars packs up?
We try and fix it or at worst, call in a replacement.

Or if I injure myself and can’t walk
There will always be a car to sit in and you can sit out the volcano trek if you’re not up to it.

How hard is this volcano ascent?
emikDon’t know but the gradient won’t be gruelling; more likely the terrain will be. Emi Koussi (3445m) is a regular feature on Tibesti tours and so is not the challenge that the higher Kilimanjaro is.

Can I leave the tour at any time?
Not really. You’ll be listed on a special permit to travel in the far north with an agency and must stick with them.

Do I need any inoculations?
IMG_4287No. There may be mozzies in Ndjamena and some oases in the evenings. Wear full length clothing and repellent to avoid bites. Cheap self-supporting (no pegs or guys) mossie domes or inner tents will be handy here.

Is the water safe to drink?
It’s said bottled water will be widely available, even up north. We will use this where possible but the food will be cooked in well water which in my experience is fine.

What happens if I get diarrhoea?
This usually occurs in more touristy restaurants where food is not prepared freshly or re-used. These places don’t exist outside the capital, and even then it’s not usually bad enough to profoundly affect your holiday. Just keep drinking and keep a toilet roll handy. I’ll carry pharmaceutical rehydration sachets as well as Imodium-like ‘blockers’, though you may prefer your own supply.

Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. And it needs to cover you for northern Chad. It is possible that this may be hard to obtain on account of blacklisting by some government travel advisories.

Will my mobile work?
In the capital and maybe a couple of northern towns.

I demand lightning-fast wi-fi!
Beyond Ndjamena, dream on.

Do I need a GPS and a map?
Not needed but some like to keep track of their location or record the route for later review.

Is ‘sahara-overland.com’ a registered tour company?
No, it’s just the name of my website. The booking form includes a disclaimer that you’re undertaking this recce tour at your own risk.

What legal guarantee do I have that you will not just run off with my money?
None, but with my prominence on the Internet and in travel publishing this would be a dumb move and anyway, I want to enjoy organising a few more tours yet!

When will I know if the tour is confirmed?
When there are four confirmed bookings. Booking status here.

If I change my mind late in the day can I get my deposit back?
Only if someone takes your place.

My question is not addressed here?
All the info that I can think of is on these web pages, but they get updated from time to time. Please email me with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I’m up for it. What do I do next?
Email me and I’ll send you a booking form. Fill it out and send it in with arrangements for the £500 deposit. If all is in order you’ll get a confirmation email, telling you when the £2700 balance is due. Please note, I reserve the right to decline your booking and return your deposit without reason. If you cancel, your deposit can only be refunded if someone takes your place. If the tour is cancelled (most likely due to security issues) your deposit will be refunded in full.

Why is the deposit so high?
The internet makes it easy for people to buy things on a whim, thinking there’s little to lose if they change their mind. On some of my earlier tours this has resulted in a false impression of interest and late cancellations at a time when it’s too late to fill places. I now set high deposits on all my tours to discourage this (although there are always cancellations). A high deposit is an attempt to separate dilettantes from the genuinely interested with a real commitment to the tour – something which always improves the quality of the group, especially when things go wrong.

Back to Chad front page

Morocco Tours 2015 Gallery

A few shots from 2015’s one-weekers in the Moroccan High- and Anti Atlas right down to the Desert Highway. Perfect weather this time – not a cloud to be seen. First one warm, next one got a bit chillier in the High Atlas.
Planning more of the same for 2016: fly-in and rent a 250; gas, food and lodging covered. 2016 dates here or just enjoy the slide show.