Saharan Trail Tour 12 days / 11 nights Algeria
Algies, Bechar, Taghit, Timimoun, Ghardaia
Arrive at Algiers international airport. A big bustling whitewashed city with the Mediterranean out front and Atlas mountains behind, Algiers is an exciting destination and gateway to Algeria. Here, Berber-Arabic-Franco modernization clashes with old world charm, giving it a strong sense of identity and passion, a truly unique city. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of day free & easy. Overnight in Algiers.
Transfer to airport for your flight to Bechar. Transfer to Taghit by road (1hr). This small 1,000 year old village has some of the most spectacular Sahara scenery with sand dunes towering and threatening to swallow it. Rest of day free & easy. Optional: Camel trek (1hr or 2hrs) - fee not included in price. Overnight in Taghit.
Tour of Taghit: Climb the towering sand dunes of the Great Western Ergs to catch the magnificent view with an endless sand sea stretching to the east and oasis, river and palm groves to the west. Explore the winding alleyways of the 9th century ksar (fortified stronghold) built from mud, stone and palm trunks. Visit 10,000year old prehistoric rock engravings. Overnight in Taghit.
Free & easy in Taghit. Things you can do:
- Climb the rocky ridge (easy ascend) facing Taghit up to an old abandoned French military base. This provides stupendous view of the village and the towering dunes.
- Wander around the oasis with its date palms. November is date harvesting season and you may catch some local doing it the traditional way – barefoot up the tree.
- Take a look at the local morning market
- Sip mint tea under a traditional tent overlooking the dunes
- Have some adventure with the ATV (all-terrain-vehicle) or dune-skiing – fee not included in price Overnight in Taghit.
Journey south to Timimoun by road (7hrs). Timimoun is an enchanting place with distinctive red mud buildings studded with wooden spikes, populated by the Haratines, Zenete Berbers, Chaamba Arabs and Black Africans, and surrounded by ancient villages.Overnight in Timimoun.
Tour of Timimoun and surroundings: Tour of Timimoun includes the evocative spiked marabouts, Hotel l’Oasis Rouge and themarket. Tour of the Circuit de Sebkha (Gourara Circuit), a 75km loop, skimming the flat red salt lake, clusters of oasis villages,fougaras (traditional water system), deep red caves, and 12th century ksars (fortified towns). Picnic lunch in the palm groves. End the day watching the sun set over the sea of dunes of the Great Western Ergs. Experience the simple desert life in one of Sahara’s most beautiful oasis town. Overnight in Timimoun.
Free & easy in Timimoun. Things you can do:
- Stroll around town and the morning market
- Take an excursion to Petit Tassili, desert rock formations partly resembling TassiliN’Ajjer – fee not included in price
Overnight in Timimoun.
Journey to Ghardaia (7hrs). Ghardaia is a fascinating spiritual pentapolis built on hills in the M’zab valley 1,000 years ago by a Muslim Ibadi sect called the Mozabites. Rightfully a UNESCO World Heritage cultural site, it is on the northern edge of the Sahara, extremely rich and authentic in history, culture, tradition, architecture and religion. Much of the 1,000year old customs have been preserved and continue to be practiced, including the beguiling one eyed women and men’s baggy pants.
En route, stop by at El-Golea. Visit the Saint-Joseph church set among sand and palms, and Father Charles de Foucauld’stomb(a playboy adventurer turned Saharan priest of incredible sacrifice and devotion). Overnight in Ghardaia.
Day 9 & 10
Two day tour of Melika, Ghardaia, BeniIsguen and El-Atteuf: Visit the mystical tomb of SidiAissa and the cemetery of Melikawith views of the 5 cities built on hills in the M’zab valley, explore Ghardaia’s old town narrow alleys to learn the practical life of the Mozabites, soak in the serene palm groves of BeniIsguen and their traditional evening market auction, and experience the simple mystical SidiBrahim mosque of El-Atteuf. Traditional music performance with dinner (one night – for deluxe option only, minimum 4 persons required). Overnight in Ghardaia.
* The Mozabites observe a daily siesta between 1pm – 4pm. There will be no tour during this time. Tour recommences after 4pm.
Journey back to Algiers. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of day free & easy. Overnight in Algiers.
Free & easy until transfer to Algiers airport to catch your flight. End of tour.
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