Our tour of Algeria's virgin Sahara
starts in the red-walled desert town of Tamanrasset
, deep in the Hoggar region, and ends in the Tassili
, bordering Niger to the south.
A beguiling array of landscapes awaits discovery as we traverse these remote Saharan expanses on foot and by jeep: towering dunes of sand, sheer-sided canyons and dense forests of rock. We will admire the region's palm-groves and wadis and track down its lonely gueltas
, the desert lakes and water-holes that sustain the Sahara's nomads.
We will also seek out the tarout, the endemic Saharan cypress trees that are over 2,000 years old.
he Tassili - "plateau of the rivers" in Arabic - is an open-air treasure-trove of more than 15,000 rock carvings and cave paintings that depict pre-historic crocodiles and cattle, giraffes and Giraffes. We also will follow in the footsteps of a French hermit, share our food with the legendary Tuareg and camp out under the Saharan stars. For much more information on holidays and vacations in the Algerian Sahara, please visit our Sahara in Focus pages.
Arrive at Tamanrasset airport and transfer to auberge outside Tamanrasset.
Tamanrasset (including red mud-brick houses, hermitage of de Foucault, souk) then by 4x4 northwards along rocky tracks towards heights of Atakor (massive volcanic field) and across mountains of Iharen and Akar-Akar to guelta of Afilal (pink lauriers) past jagged peaks of Taguerguiste and Tizouyag. Continue to Assekrem, climbing on foot to mountain summit to witness one of Sahara's most beautiful sunsets. Overnight in refuge at Assekrem.
Climb by foot to top of plateau to admire rising sun then depart by 4x4 into rocky massif of Atakor and on to col of Tehé-n'Taretime and gueltas of Issakarassene and and Eguef-Melene. Continue to remote Tuareg village of Hirafok then further into desert to camp in remote spot between Hirafok and Ideles (rock paintings and carvings).
By foot to farming village of Ideles (visit to blacksmith's) at foot of Taderaz passing oued Telouhet with verdant vegetation (acacias and ethels). Cross plain of Amadror (centre of ancient salt trade with Niger) then to dunes of Tihodaine. Camp overnight amidst sand dunes.
Into Tassili (where most of time will be spent on foot) heading north into massif of Adrar and across plateau of Fadnoun with visits to rock paintings (including famous gazelle) and gueltas of Dider. Camp overnight in desert.
Head towards col of Tiradjeli then descend towards plane of erg Admer and on to village and oued of Zaouatalaz (Fort Gardel). Continue towards dunes of erg Adme for overnight in desert in region of oued Essendilene.
By foot across ochre dunes to Essendilene (verdant canyon with dense vegetation, crystal waters, towering cliffs, dry waterfalls) then by 4x4 to Tikoubaouine (huge towers of rock, dunes, neolithic vestiges). Camp overnight in desert.
By foot towards Tikoubaouine along huge dunes of Admer past Timeras and oued Assassou then on to Djanet (palm oasis, museum, 16th century ksar, workshops, local market) and back out into Sahara towards Tararart (cave paintings) for last night in desert.
Transfer to Djanet airport for return flight.