The Hoggar & Tassili
We were in Algeria and the Hoggar back in winter 1976, driving from the UK via Morocco and down the route of the Trans-Sahara Highway. (Not then complete, so some interesting sections in our VW van!) Having climbed various peaks in the Hoggar and added a new route on the Tezoulags, we retuned via Constantine (intriguing place), Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy to meet friends in Switzerland for skiing.
Feb 2003 - our article on the Hoggar in HIGH. 2004 Algeria has been experiencing problems with internal politics and 'terrorism' but mostly (if not totally) in the north. It seems to be OK to visit the Hoggar, flying in from Algiers. Here is a message from an experienced desert traveller and climber:
Jan 2002, we received this info from Mirella Tenderini: Algeria was wonderful. We had not been there since 1992 and just wanted to introduce a group of young friends to the desert showing them some of the most spectacular places we know. It was wonderful, also because there was nobody around. Incredible. Not a single car, not a caravan, not a person during 9 days drive and 4 days trekking, and in Tamanrasset we were the only Europeans around.
Our trip started in Tamanrasset where we hired two 4WD Toyotas with drivers and a guide from an agency we know since the 80s when we went often there to climb the mountains in the Hoggar, Tefedest and Tesnou.
We drove through the most beautiful spots of the Tassili of the Hoggar down to the Tenere along the border of Niger, then headed North through the beautiful Erg Kilian and the Monts Gautier to Djanet, ending with a strenuous trekking on the summit of the Tassili N'Ajjers, near the Libyan border.
Another Italian friend of ours, Mario Verin was in the desert north west of the Hoggar (towards Morocco) around this time, finding more interesting domes to climb.
Some useful contacts provided by Mirella Tenderini, Jan 2002:
The one we have known for many years and who arranged satisfactorily for documents and logistics for our latest trip is Moussa Boutegui Agence BOIS PETRIFIE B.P. 402 TAMANRASSET, Algerie tel. (+213 29) 342868/346650/342866 fax +213 29 342312 mobile phone +213 61649064
There is no internet provider in Tamanrasset, and the agency cannot be reached via e.mail. Also, the telephone lines to Tamanrasset and Djanet do not always work, which makes contacts very complicated. There is a national agency (the equivalent of the Egyptian MISR) with main office in Alger, which is reliable and easier to contact: ONAT 126 bis A. rue Didouche Mourad ALGER, Algerie tel. +213 21 742985 / 744448 fax +213 21 747049 / 747120 e.mail Belkacemi@onat-dz.com
2009 We just received the following info, which may be useful: I am Lakhdar ben Sebgag, young local guide, Saharien sud Algerie. I speak English and French very well. The Algerien desert is safe now. Tel:00213772198652, www.guide-sahara.com
Top: El Golea on the way to the Hoggar.
Bottom: Constantine with its dramatic city centre gorge.