Algeria: Saharan Desert Adventure

Group Tour

Overview

The south-east of Algeria is blessed with some of the most spectacular desert scenery on earth, with towering sand dunes, unusual rock formations and deep red sand. It's also home to an extraordinary collection of ancient rock art including over 15,000 cave paintings. Of huge historic importance, they depict scenes of everyday life in Africa around 12,000 years ago, as well as wildlife such as giraffe, rhinoceros and elephant, in what UNESCO describe as an outdoor museum. 

On this ...

Read More

HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

10 x Breakfasts
10 x Lunches
10 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Minibus in & around Algiers, 4WDs in the desert (max 3 passengers/vehicle) and domestic flights

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

2 nights x Premium
2 nights x Simple
6 nights x Basic

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2058 Wild Miles

ACCOMMODATION

Wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience. This can obviously vary greatly across both countries and tours. On this particular trip we will be in simple but comfortable hotels/guesthouses in Algiers and Djanet with the rest of the time (6 nights) spent wild camping in the desert. For more details about the camping experience, please see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Algeria: Saharan Desert Adventure
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

Day 1 Tour starts in Algiers

Day 1 Tour starts in Algiers

Our journey begins in Algiers, the lively Algerian capital where we'll first start by exploring the Casbah, the beating heart of the city. The entire Casbah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ensuring its whitewashed walls and 18th century buildings are maintained. After enjoying a cup of traditional Algerian tea on a roof terrace overlooking the city and the Bay of Algiers, we'll explore the narrow alleyways and learn about the central role the Casbah played in the uprising against the French. We'll also discover more of Algiers, including the harbour, the Ketchaoua Mosque and the Post Office, before visiting the Basilica of Notre Dame, high above the city.

Aurassi Hotel or similar
Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 Algiers - Tipasa - Djanet

Day 2 Algiers - Tipasa - Djanet

This morning we will drive east to visit the archaeological museum of Cherchell before continuing on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tipasa on the Mediterranean coast. This Roman port rose to prominence under the emperor Septimus Severus (AD193-211), and provides us with a remarkable collection of Punic, Roman and Numidian temples and monuments. We'll explore the amphitheatre, the ancient collonade and a beautiful private villa backing onto the sea. After lunch we'll then return to Algiers, via the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania. This imposing tomb is the final resting place of Berber Juba II and Cleopatra Selene II, who were the last king and queen of the ancient Kingdom of Mauretania. After dinner we will transfer to Algiers airport for the late night flight* to Djanet.
*Please note that flight times (and therefore exact itineraries) are subject to change but the 2hr 15min flight to Djanet usually departs at about 23:00 meaning that we'll transfer directly to the guesthouse on arrival in Djanet in the early hours of Day 3.

Djanet Tenares Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Djanet - In Djarren - Moula Naga

Day 3 Djanet - In Djarren - Moula Naga

After breakfast, we'll drive south from Djanet along the last paved roads we'll see for a few days, before turning off-road to begin our desert adventure. Navigating the In Djarren circuit in comfortable 4WDs (max 3 clients per vehicle) and travelling between wadis and canyons, we'll stop for lunch in a picturesque spot to get our first taste of the amazing food our cook can rustle up in the desert, from grilled meats and salads to soups and couscous. In the afternoon we'll also get our first taste of the ancient rock art sites featuring engravings of giraffe and elephant. Arriving at the end of the day at Moula Naga, we'll enjoy an al fresco dinner before experiencing the tranquility of camping in beautiful isolation under the clear night sky.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Moula Naga – Tin Tekak

Day 4 Moula Naga – Tin Tekak

After breakfast, we plan to take a scenic walk with our guide across the desert while the rest of the local crew pack up the camp before picking us up in the 4WDs en route. With no phone or internet access we will have no choice but to completely immerse ourselves in our surroundings. Fortunately, we are in one of the most beautiful regions on the planet. On one of the most scenic days of the tour, we drive across the deep pristine red sand of Tadrart, over high dunes, looking for wild camels and marvelling at the picturesque rock formations. Stopping for a picnic lunch, we'll have the afternoon for further exploration or just for taking in the scenery. Later we'll discover more ancient rock art, much of which has been estimated to be 15,000 years old and whose depictions of deer, elephant, giraffe and even fish tell of a time when the whole area was much more fertile. We'll camp by a towering sand dune and take a walk (up the dune if you wish) to take in a sunset against a cinematic backdrop of dunes, orange sand, grey salty crust floors and jagged rocks, whilst the camp is set up. After some traditional Tuareg tea, there'll be time to relax until evening dinner around the campfire.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Tin Tekak – Tin Merzouga

Day 5 Tin Tekak – Tin Merzouga

Today we will take a morning walk through the spectacular scenery, hearing little but the hard salt formed by the annual rains here crunch beneath our feet. Once back in the 4WDs we'll experience how the scenery changes every few miles, stopping regularly for walks to see more rock art. Some of this art depicts battle scenes which experts believe shows the Berbers from the north on horseback conquering the pastoral farmers who used to live here, giving rise to the Tuareg nomads who now populate much of this area as well as parts of Libya, Mali and Mauritania. We will camp by the towering Tin Merzouga dune, the highest dune in this area. Those feeling brave can climb the dune for sunset, or just relax with a coffee or tea at the camp.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Tin Merzouga - Tassili de Monhor

Day 6 Tin Merzouga - Tassili de Monhor

After our usual morning walk we will head to Afazo canyon and the In Djarren wadi, discovering rock art and unusual formations such as the window with a view and the hedgehog. Along the way we may meet some of the people making a living in this harsh environment, such as goat herders and camel breeders. We leave the Tadrart to join the Tassili de Monhor in the afternoon, to discover vast corridors of stone and more rock art. We'll make our camp in the evening in splendid isolation amongst the peaceful dunes.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Tassili de Monhor - Djanet

Day 7 Tassili de Monhor - Djanet

Today we return to civilisation at Djanet (a drive of around 2-3  hrs) via Egharghar Wadi, stopping at the site of the Cow that Cries. The story behind this wonderfully moving rock art goes that a local farmer took his cows to the river to be watered, and upon seeing them crying, found it had dried up. This was the end of the fertile era for this part of the Sahara, and this ancient Picasso-esque piece of art has become especially poignant in these days of climate change and increasing desertification. After lunch we'll check in at our guesthouse for a well-earned shower, relaxing in a real bed and, for those who have missed the modern world, this should be a chance to catch up on messages and news via the internet.

Djanet Tenares Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Djanet - Timrass

Day 8 Djanet - Timrass

After breakfast we head into the desert once more for our final two nights. Driving one hour north of Djanet this time, we'll explore Timrass (meaning teeth), a dramatic area of rocks protruding from blonde sands. Here we'll discover more rock art including a mysterious 10,000 year old symbol, before camping in a picturesque spot for sunset amongst the dunes, hills and rock formations. Our cook will have stocked up on supplies and we may be lucky enough to try a classic Algerian couscous and stew dish tonight.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Timrass - Erg Admer

Day 9 Timrass - Erg Admer

After a morning walk we will explore the landscapes of Tekoubaouine and see more ancient rock art. Saving the best until last, the final night we will camp by the towering Erg Admer, amongst a sea of sand dunes. Enjoying a final dinner as our guides cook bread in the traditional Tuareg way, on hot coals under the sand, before the cook turns it into the local speciality Chakhchoukha. For those who can't get enough of the night sky, there'll be the chance to sleep outside and enjoy the clearest skies imaginable on this final unforgettable night.

Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Return to Djanet and fly to Algiers

Day 10 Return to Djanet and fly to Algiers

After breakfast and a last morning walk amongst the dramatic sand dunes, we'll drive the two hours back to the oasis town of Djanet, where we'll have lunch and time to explore the local market before transferring to the airport for our afternoon flight* to Algiers.
*Please note that flights schedules (and therefore today's itinerary) are subject to change but flights usually depart Djanet late afternoon.

Aurassi Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Tour ends in Algiers

Day 11 Tour ends in Algiers

The tour ends after breakfast.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Leave no trace

While camping in the wilds of the Sahara we aim to pursue a 'leave no trace' policy. This will include carrying out all non-biodegradable waste with us and removing as many traces of our campsites as we can so as to leave the areas in as pristine condition as possible for any subsequent visitors. While the tour-leader and local camp crew will obviously take the lead on this, the responsibility for preserving the natural desert environment will sit with everyone equally on the trip.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

We recognise the environmental issues and challenges around single-use plastic in many countries we visit and are actively working with our partners on the ground to reduce plastic waste on our tours and within the hotels and restaurants we visit. You can help to reduce your personal plastic waste by taking a refillable, filtered water bottle with you on your trip. Filtered water bottles can be refilled from water sources including your hotel room and restaurant taps, drinking fountains and refill stations. Every time you refill your bottle without the use of single-use plastic, you will be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. Filtered Water Bottles | Wild Frontiers (wildfrontierstravel.com)

Supplementary Information

Algeria Wild Camping

Algeria Wild Camping

The camping itself is fully supported – meaning that our dedicated camp crew will erect/take down tents – but as washing facilities will be extremely limited (think wet-wipes and a bowl of water) as will toilet facilities (think au nature behind a handy sand dune), this trip is only suitable for those who are comfortable with such a set-up. Camping tables and chairs will be provided making the camp as comfortable as is realistically possible in the middle of the desert but this is assuredly not a luxury camping experience akin to what may be able to be provided in other better established destinations.

Camp Cuisine

Camp Cuisine

Camp food will be prepared by our camp crew and will be nutritious and plentiful. Typically, meat will be available for the first couple of days after which tinned fish and salads will predominate. While not exactly ‘fine dining’ we expect you to be pleasantly surprised by the flavourful dishes that our camp crew are able to create!

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2816 London Gatwick (LGW) 13:50 Algiers HB Airport (ALG) 16:40
BA 2817 Algiers HB Airport (ALG) 20:05 London Gatwick (LGW) 23:00

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Algeria and as per current regulations, this is available as an e-visa for those spending at least two-thirds of their time in the south of the country (as this tour does).

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Algerian visas require authorisation from the Ministry of Algeria before they can be issued. This can be a little unpredictable in terms of timeframes so we strongly recommend that you apply as soon as possible (no earlier than 3 months prior to departure) once you receive your visa supporting documents from us. 

NB. It should also be noted that anyone with a passport showing evidence of having visited Israel (including having entered or left Jordan/Egypt from posts which are known to border Israel) are likely to be denied a visa for Algeria.


VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Algeria. For any clients transiting for more than 12 hours through an airport/country with a risk of yellow fever transmission you will require a yellow fever certificate.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Alternatively, you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries*. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your requirements.

*Please note bespoke, tailor-made itineraries need to be a minimum of 7 days and we can only offer them in countries where we have a tailor-made expert

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Daytime temperatures are likely to range from around 20-25C on the north coast, increasing to between 30-35C in the desert region. Night-time temperatures will feel cooler, especially in the desert where you’ll notice the change in temperature.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Please be aware that vegetarians can be catered for but the selection and variety can be very limited in places, especially in the Sahara region. People with specific dietary requirements should consider such limitations carefully and we suggest you discuss your needs with us before booking this tour.

Algeria has minimal tourist infrastructure and receives far fewer visitors than neighbouring countries like Morocco or Tunisia. As such service levels cannot be compared and logistically Algeria remains a ‘challenging’ destination, almost guaranteeing that things are unlikely to always go according to plan! However for us that is half the enjoyment of travelling in Algeria and anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. 

Whilst the tour itself is not physically demanding, you should be prepared for 6 nights of wild camping where facilities will be very limited. The camping itself is fully supported – meaning that our dedicated camp crew will prepare all meals and erect/take down tents – but as washing facilities will be extremely limited (think wet-wipes and a bowl of water) as will toilet facilities (think au nature behind a handy sand dune), this trip is only suitable for those who are comfortable with such a set-up. Please see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for more information.

It should be noted that English is not typically spoken by the Tuareg guides and drivers in the south. Whilst the tour-leader will assuredly speak English and will be on hand to translate where necessary, it should be understood that the crew in the south will act more as fixers, who are more likely to speak French and/or Arabic.

Flexibility and the nature of travel in Algeria: For security reasons it might be necessary to change this itinerary at very short notice, and clients must be flexible enough to deal with this and acknowledge that this is an inherent part of travel to Algeria. While we will always try & visit as much of the itinerary as possible, we reserve the right to omit any destination due to security concerns and offer an alternative in its place. You must also understand that tourist infrastructure and the levels of services will not match those offered in more regular tourist locations in North Africa. 

RECCE TOURS

As we all know, the world is a constantly changing place - destinations & routes that were once cutting-edge now regularly find themselves appearing in mainstream brochures. Coming up with truly original tour ideas is a constant challenge but at Wild Frontiers we are committed to offering you a real alternative to the mainstream and each year we run a handful of new and original adventures. These are our so-called Recce Tours and since the very beginning have proven incredibly popular with those of you who like to act as our “guinea pigs” and join us on these tours. Fantastic fun and highly rewarding, Recce Tours will assuredly not go 100% to plan and it is not uncommon for clients to take an active role in tweaking the itineraries along the way. More challenging than our normal tours, these will often require a greater degree of flexibility...they will not be for everyone.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip. On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all hotel/guesthouse nights of the tour; and all solo travellers - including those who have elected NOT to pay the single supplement - will be provided with a single-occupancy tent for all camping nights regardless.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A 10% deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2058 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.