Remember: with camels you walk, they carry loads. You don’t ride (unless lame)
The original plan to fly to Mauritania and leave from Chinguetti on a three-weeker to Ksar el Barka (left) has been shelved. Partly because I overlooked the old problem of people getting more than two weeks leave from work. And partly because the agency in Mauritania never responded with a proposal. In the Sahara this latter point is a frustration that’s been going on as long as I’ve been organising tours there. Meantime, another agency from Tamanrasset (Algeria) got in touch, but turns out has little to offer, trekking-wise, on that side of southern Algeria, or did not follow through on queries.
So now I’m in touch with agencies in the southeast of Algeria whom I’ve used before. I expect to have some news by mid-January 2019. Unlike Tamanrasset in the west, much of the huge Illizi wilaya (‘province’; left) has remained open to tourism, despite it lying right along the Libyan and Niger borders. It includes the world-famous Tassili N’Ajjer plateau (green on the map; accessible only by mule), with the richest trove of pre-historic rock art on earth and which we visited in 2013. Things change, but currently the plateau above Djanet (map right) is closed, while much of the Illizi wilaya elsewhere appears to be open to tourism.
It’s my hope to offer a more scenic and satisfyingly remote trek than the two-week tour I took in March 2018 in the Mauritania. One that where possible, avoids well-used car tracks and minimises the chance of even seeing or hearing a vehicle.
There are no direct flights to Djanet from abroad, but the good thing is that Air Algerie planes leave Algiers in the late evening and arrive back there in the early morning (having arrived and departed Djanet in the middle of the night). This means that wherever you’re coming from in the world, getting to the rendezvous in Algiers, and leaving from there back home is all easily done in a day to Europe. It avoids day-wasting overnights in Algiers, as we found in January 2018.