FAQsWe're so busy at the moment (and let's be honest: nothing happens quickly in Algeria!) that perhaps the easiest way to answer any questions is to email us at email@example.com.
We are gradually updating these pages, though, so do come back for further advice about travel to Algeria.
What can I expect in Algeria?In terms of sightseeing in this vast country, our A to Z of Algeria gives a pretty good overview. There is the Mediterranean coast, the Roman ruins, the Berber and Arabic dynasties, the Sahara desert, the mountains, the French legacy.
In terms of what life is like in Algeria, well, it's not the so-called "Third World" - far from it! There are similarities between Algeria and Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia but one of the main differences is that there are virtually no foreign tourists in Algeria (with the the exception of some French visitors).
This means, for better and for worse, that the tourist infrastructure is poor - luxury hotels are rare (and costly) and officialdom is a pain... but this dearth of foreigners also means that you can see some of the world's finest ancient monuments, or traverse the Sahara, without seeing a soul. And when you do meet a soul, he or she will be delighted that you have travelled so far to see their homeland.
It's a privilege to be in Algeria - but it's not always easy. You have to have an open-mind, a love of adventure, a desire to break down barriers, a willingness to accept that things will not go to plan.
Most important of all, we hope our guests will have a penchant for cultural exchange - and will return to the UK, the States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, India, China, wherever their homeland is, with a different view of our homeland, this slice of the Muslim world that has suffered so much but that has so much to offer.
Is is safe to travel to Algeria?Update January 2016 Algeria is still untouched by the "Arab Spring". Some parts of the country are out-of-bounds for security reasons (or because of some official whim) but none of our tours has been cancelled, and everything is running smoothly (relatively-speaking, that is).
Update April 2013 Algeria has been untouched by the so-called "Arab Spring" - for reasons good and bad! Following the trouble in the petrol plant in the far south of the country, some regions of the deep south are currently closed to tourists. This is a highly fluid situation, depending - as ever in Algeria (so it seems) - on the day of the week! None of Expert Algeria's tours has been or will be cancelled, although in some cases we have had to adapt circuits. Reacting to situations on the ground is an Algerian speciality (this is how many of us have to live our lives in the developing world) and, although we are aware that these uncertainties can cause consternation amongst our European partners, it does mean that we're always able to pull a rabbit out of the hat to keep our clients happy! As ever, if you're unsure about anything, we recommend that you contact us.
Update February 18, 2011 & Update October 5, 2012 As we write this, the unrest that has been taking place in large parts of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya has not spread to any large extent in Algeria. None of our tours has been cancelled though, as ever, if we thought any of our guests could be in danger, we would immediately advise them. Please feel free to contact us for further information, as we are aware that it can be hard to find "concrete" news of Algeria in the English-speaking press.
No, certainly not, because we are all terrorists and have two heads and eat babies for breakfast, just as all white Americans are part of the Klu Klux Klan, all Irish people members of the IRA, and all...
Have a look at this Guardian article and talk to a reputable travel agent. Don't take too much notice of what you read on various internet fora and message boards, and remember that your government can offer you advice (which normally sounds terribly scary and off-putting). We are aware that some Europeans and North Americans might be a little wary... but, there again, we're a little wary when we go to Europe!
In terms of street crime, levels in Algeria are very, very low.
And terrorism? Algeria is a country that has suffered enormously in the past but the worst days are far, far behind us. Expert Algeria would not dream of going to areas where we thought our clients (or ourselves!) might be in danger. Any travel, of course, involves risk - think of what has happened in (for example) London, New York and Madrid over the past few years.
Do I need a visa?That depends on your nationality. Find your nearest Algerian Embassy via, say, Google, and see what they say. Typically, yes, you will need a visa and a lettre d'invitation. As regards the latter, we follow the law: we only issue them to people who are using our services as we are legally (and morally, in our opinion) responsible for you during your stay.
What can I read on Algeria?This section is going to expand and expand over time as it's one of our major interests! Below is an entirely ad hoc, off-the-top-of-our-heads selection... and here's what the Lonley Planet recommends.
Yasmina is a woman's name, but the author is a man whose real name is Moulessehoul. Once an officer in the Algerian army, Moulessehoul adopted a woman's pseudonym to avoid military censorship. Despite the publication of many successful novels in Algeria, Moulessehoul only revealed his true identity in 2001 after leaving the army and going into exile and seclusion in France. Anonymity was the only way for him to survive and avoid censorship during the Algerian Civil War.
Amongst Moulessehoul's most famous novels are: Swallows of Kabul, Attentat and Ecrivain. Ce que le jour doit à la nuit is, perhaps, his magnum opus, with these lines saying so much about the difference between Algeria and the English-speaking world:
"We're not lazy. We just take the time to live. But that's not the case with people from the West. For, them, time is money. For us, time has no price. A glass of tea is enough for our happiness, whilst no amount of happiness is enough for them. Toute la différence est là, mon garçon".
Assia Djebar was born in Cherchell, near Tipasa (so beloved by Camus); her most famous work is probably Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement. More to follow.
More to follow.
More to follow.
More to follow.
Sansal's novels include: Harraga, Le village de l'Allemand ou le journal des frères Schiller (published in in the UK as An Unfinished Business), Poste restante.