Algeria is one of the most fascinating countries in North Africa, combining a cultural legacy that stretches back millennia along with some of the world’s most dramatic desert scenery. Once colonised by the Romans, the Turks and the French, the country has emerged from the troubles of the 1990’s to reveal itself as a destination of unrivalled scope and grandeur. Amongst the vast sands of the Sahara it is home to some of the most beguiling oasis towns in the region; dominated by ancient Ksars or fortified strongholds, the mud brick villages still hold on to traditions that have endured among the desert sands for centuries. It can also boast a number of world heritage sites such as the spectacular ancient site of Djemila and the old Roman port of Tipaza, while its bustling capital, Algiers, offers the traditional Casbah experience counterbalanced by a wonderfully engaging mix of Ottoman grandeur, colonial chic and modern vibrancy.
Day 01: Arrive Algiers
Arrive Algiers, meet-assist at airport & transfer to hotel.
Aternoon in the Algerian tour of the city. Overlooking the waters of the Mediterranean, Algiers began life as a Phoenician trading post, but it was the 10th century Berbers under Bologhine ibn Ziri who began the city’s rise to prosperity. Over time it fell to the Almohades, the Ottomans and the French, before a bloody struggle for independence finally saw the Algerians wrestle control from their colonial overlords in the early 1960’s. Much of the historic heart of the city dates back to Ottoman times and includes the impressive facade of the Ketchaoua Mosque. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Algiers – Djemila – Constantine
Today we drive east out of the hustle and bustle of the capital to the impressive ancient Roman city of Djemila, a UNESCO World Heritage site considered one of the finest in North Africa. The wheel-rutted streets of ancient Cuicul, founded by Nerva to house his subjects, are lined with elaborate houses, a forum, basilica, triumphal arches and temples. It is a fascinating example of Roman town planning adapted to suit its mountain location. Equally impressive is Djemila’s stunning museum, where every square inch of the immense walls are plastered with mosaics. After wandering around this charming site we’ll continue our journey east to Constantine or ‘Cirta’ with its dramatic setting amongst precipitous cliffs and deep gorges. The French writer Alexandre Dumas called it ‘a fantastic city, something like Gulliver’s flying island. Founded 2,000 years ago, a plateau surrounded by deep ravines was a great place to build because the city could be easily defended. Since then Constantine has outgrown the plateau and spilled over into the adjoining areas, connected to the old city by seven high bridges, hence the title ‘City of Bridges’.
Day 03: Constantine – Algiers
Constantine boasts an excellent museum, noted in particular for its Roman mosaics, as well as the delightful Palace of Ahmed Bey and a number of impressive mosques. Today we’ll wander around the city and take in the traditional casbah with its local market and experience the architectural triumphs of the city’s bridges. From here we’ll transfer to the airport in time for our flight back to the capital city, Algiers for the evening.
Day 04: Algiers – Timimoun
After an early breakfast we’ll drive to Algiers airport in time to catch the morning flight to Timimoun, our gateway to the Sahara! On arrival we’ll transfer to our hotel in this small town noted for some of the most spectacular scenery around the Grand Erg Occidental. Wonderfully photogenic, we’ll head out for lunch and from there walk around the town with its ancient ksars (fortified dwellings), admiring Sudanese influenced architecture as well as visiting the market place and handicraft shops. We’ll also visit the palmeraie where we’ll learn about the ancient irrigation system used there known as ‘fouggara’. Beyond the town the haunting sand dune landscapes of the Grand Erg Occidental provide a stunning backdrop for our first night in the Sahara Desert region.
Day 05: In & Around Timimoun
This morning, before the temperature starts rising, we’ll visit some of the immediate area around Timimoun. Depending upon local conditions (ie weather and the authorities!) we will visit various sites such as the deep red caves and the abandoned village of Tindjillet, before escaping the heat and heading back to Timimoun for lunch. The rest of the day will be free for you to relax at the hotel or wonder around the town at your leisure.
Day 06: Timimoun – Beni Abbes – Taghit
After an early breakfast we’ll drive north-west to the ‘Pearl of the Saoura’ or the ‘white oasis’ town of Beni Abbes (though the buildings here are gradually turning an orangey-brown colour!) The town has a beautiful setting where the oasis ends and the sand dunes rise majestically into the distance. Time permitting we should get a chance to look around the ksar and visit the Sahara Museum, housing an intriguing collection of artefacts and questionable taxidermy! We’ll also learn about Father Charles de Foucauld – a French monk who lived here as a hermit back in 1905 – and visit the site where he constructed his hermitage not far from the town. From here we’ll continue on to Taghit for the night. Today we will be covering a distance of approximately 500kms, so please be prepared for a long day
Day 07: Taghit – Bechar – Oran
Taghit is a small oasis town located on the western edge of the Grand Erg Occidental. The dunes here tower over the eastern edge of the town, and the views as you come over the hill towards the old Ksar are simply magnificent. The town is dominated by red mud architecture along narrow winding streets making for some fantastic photo opportunities. This morning we’ll get the chance to look around the small town, before taking an early lunch and driving to Bechar, in time to catch a late afternoon flight to Algeria’s second largest city, Oran, and a late dinner.
Day 08: In Oran
After breakfast we’ll head out on a guided tour of Oran, the original home of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and novelist Albert Camus. Oran has a significant Spanish flavour to it after more than two centuries of occupation before the French took over in the 19th century. We’ll visit the major sites such as Place du 1er Novembre, Santa Cruz fort and chapel, La Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur and Bey’s Palace.
Day 09: Oran – Tipaza – Algiers
This morning we’ll drive east to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tipaza on the Mediterranean coast. Considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in North Africa, this old 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. From here we’ll drive east towards Algiers, and time permitting visit the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania on the way. 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. Returning to Algiers by the early evening we’ll check into our hotel before heading out for dinner.
Day 10: In Algiers
Today we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the old part of the capital, focussing upon the historic Kasbah, one of the most impressive in all of North Africa. This UNESCO World Heritage site was described by Le Corbusier as “a masterpiece of architecture and town planning” and we’re sure you will agree after wandering around its labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, made up of tiny shops, museums and market traders. From here we’ll visit the imposing Maqam Echahid (Martyrs Monument) and the National Museum of El Mujahid to learn some more about the Algerian war of independence. Tonight we’ll head out into the city for a farewell dinner.
Day 11: Tour Finishes In Algiers
The tour ends this morning. Those on the suggested group flights will transfer to the airport in time for the early afternoon departure.
|Algeria||01||Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel|
|Constantin||01||Constantine Marriott Hotel|
|Algeria||01||Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel|
|Timimoun||02||Hotel Ksar Massine|
|Oran||02||Sheraton Oran Hotel|
|Algeria||02||Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel|
– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 10 Nights accommodation
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– Local English-speaking guide
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance fees to monuments as per mentioned in the program.
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.
– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.
– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.