A Visit to the Bottom of the Algerian Sahara
Algeria has not often rhymed with tourism because terrorism and violence come more easily to mind when evoking this country which was overwhelmed by years of civil war. Its coastlines, archaeological remains and mountain ranges, as well as the ethnographic richness and sublime immensity of the surrounding desert make Algeria a country that could easily compete with its Moroccan and Tunisian neighbors, whose tourism constitutes an important part of their income. Recently, Algeria promotes tourism (for economic reasons) and starts to offer much more than a vacation to attract tourists from all over the world.
To discover Algeria, the best way is to go to the south of the country. Two destinations: Tamanrasset, the largest city in the Sahara, an old meeting point for caravans, or Djanet, which brings together several small villages around an oasis in the heart of the Tassili National Park, an ideal starting point for discovery of the rock sites in the region.
It is during the Assihar that one must visit the city. During these cultural encounters, Tamanrasset takes on festive airs and processions of folk groups march through the streets under the sound of the Tuareg traditional music. In addition to the riders of horses or camels from all over Algeria who are in a whirlwind of dust competing each other and the victors carried by the crowd and become the heroes of the day. It is also at this time of the year that Tuareg marriages take place; these ceremonies lasting several days are a unique opportunity to discover the Tuareg world from the inside.
It is a real pleasure to walk the streets and markets of towns and villages, under the curious gaze of the inhabitants, to discover a bit of the daily life of the Tuaregs and their workshops dotted with hundreds of objects. In the Hoggar, there are neither dunes nor sand, but rocks of all sizes and shapes. These basaltic organs made of solidified magma and which, millions of years ago, formed the heart of volcanoes, are today a stop for convoys of 4 x 4 (type of cars) and the emblematic image of one of the most beautiful deserts of the world. Any visit to the Hoggar must include an excursion to the summit of the Assekrem to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunsets on the African continent.
The small oasis of Djanet, several hours away from the desert, is a base for exploring the Tassili region. This volcanic plateau, wrinkled by the beds of rivers drained for thousands of years, is home to one of the splendors of the region: fascinating paintings and rock engravings grouped into an open-air museum. The UNESCO World Heritage Site includes 15,000 prehistoric drawings and engravings.
In the loneliness of the desert, the nights are calm and cool and are rhythmated by the tea. Among the most famous sites are: the Tafedest massif, the Immidir, the Ahnet, the Tit-Aguenar-Silet engravings and paintings sites, the Tassili and Hoggar, and so on. You can live this experience and ambition of visiting the desert and discover , on foot or by vehicle, mountain biking ; an unexpected and fascinating world and leave a feeling of happiness in your heart and awesome memories in the head. Let yourself be inspired by the beauty, magic and diversity of the South Algerian desert. Above all, you will taste Taguella (even bake it) which serves as bread to the Tuaregs, drink tea and spend the night under the typical Tuareg tent, the hakit, a rudimentary structure made up of poles, ropes and a roof in goatskin, during your Saharan journey once at least.
A Visit to the Bottom of the Algerian Sahara (written by ARAB Sabrina)