Bookmark and Share

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Open LookLex Encyclopaedia

Open the online Arabic language course

Points of Arrival

Algiers has relatively good connections with boat to Europe. Spanish sea ports include Alicante (2 sailings/month in summer) and Palma (4 sailings/month in summer, 1 sailing/month in winter), while the only port in France is Marseilles (1 sailing/day in summer, 3 sailings/week in winter). None of these are any cheap. One person one way should expect to pay US$200, but there is a small discount (around 10%) for return tickets. Bringing a car one way will cost around US$250.
There are better connections with air planes. Algiers has one of the best international connections of North Africa, and several large cities in Europe are connected, as well as a number of African capitals. There are no direct connections to other continents. Algiers airport has many domestic destinations.
As there is a lot of traffic, Algiers is an easy port to the rest of the country. Actually, there have been reports of people managing to get to visit Algeria, by simply heading for Algiers by plane, hoping that things will arrange themselves along the route. This is not advisable, however, and we do not know much of any details here.
And when you eventually come here, you can start exploring the exciting city of Algiers.

It is only Marseilles in France that has ferries serving Annaba, and these are as sparse as 1 sailing/week in summer, and only 1 sailing every other week in winter. One person one way should expect to pay US$200, but there is a small discount (around 10%) for return tickets. Bringing a car one way will cost around US$250.
Annaba has international air flights to French cities like Lyons, Marseilles, and Paris. Do not count on getting very discounted prices from an average of US$180.

If you're setting out from Marseilles, you can reach Bejaia directly by ferry. In summer there are 2 sailings/week, and 1 sailing/week in winter. One person one way should expect to pay US$200, but there is a small discount (around 10%) for return tickets. Bringing a car one way will cost around US$250.

Bni Ounif
This border point is at the present closed to all traffic. If, and when, it reopens, it is a problematic border crossing point, very unprofessional, and not a place to cause misunderstandings. It will take hours passing the tents of the border guards that are situated here, in a spot that most be one of the most beautiful border posts,- meandering roads in between palm trees, and with dark mauve mountains rising up from both sides.
Figuig on Moroccan side has realtively good services in terms of banks, while Bni Ounif is very basic, while you will find what you need to get started travelling.

Borj Mokhtar
Getting to Algeria from Mali is quite a job, there is no public transportation whatsoever, and only few vehicles drive north from the Mali city of Gao, and the 1,300 km to Adrar in Algeria. You should ask around in Gao for what trucks are driving north, and then negociate a price for the journey, going rates appear to be around US$100 including meals. If the border is open, and if Mali authorities allow you to go this route, Borj Mokhtar, not really a town, is the first you'll see of Algeria. Borj Mokhtar has an air strip, and you can advance seriously by taking a plane to Adrar, but these leave only once in a while.
Note that crossing the border, involves paying taxes and then in major foreign currencies, like Euros or US dollars. Also note that if you are setting out on the journey in your own vehicle, there is something like 500 km between every place to get gaz, food and water. Also note that this region has been tormented by upheavals from the Tuareg side, strongest in Niger, but we get so rarely reports out of the region, that we recommend you to check all this well in advance.
Coming from Mali, the first place that seem to exist even without the help of military presence, is Reggane (650 km from Borj Mokhtar), a place that has nothing to offer. From Reggane you head north to Adrar (125 km), or take the route to the east, where you will end up in In Salah after 250 km.

The villages of Djanet are as much as 300 km away from the proper border, and as far as we know there are no border towns out here, on neither side. The Libyan city of Ghat is about 100 km away from the border point. There are taxis serving the travellers on the Algerian side, and probably the same on Libyan side.
This border point is reported to be open, and considering where you are in the world, quite straightforward. This, however, is the place to have all papers stamped and ready,- do not count on easy processing of visas from the officials. Entering Algeria, be ready to pay the entrance tax,- so bring plenty of money in major foreign currencies.

This is the second most popular border post between Algeria and Tunisia, and the only one for the southern regions of Tunisia. The communications down here are not as elegant as for Souq Ahras, and you should not be too surprised if you find yourself walking a couple of kilometres between the Algerian and the Tunisian border posts. There are only taxis coming up to the border post on either side, none cross it. But you might turn lucky, and get a ride with somebody's car.
On Tunisian side, Nefta (25 km) is the place that has direct connections with the border, while it is El-Oued (100 km) on Algerian side that offers the equivalent.

In Guezzam
There are reports on this border still being closed, which means that the situation is unchanged for the 4th year. The main reason for this is that there in Niger has been serious upheavals, and the border has been closed by the Algerian authorities in order to prevent importing the same sentiments to Algeria. The upheavals are from Tuareg side, a people that has large numbers in southern Algeria as well.
At the Algerian side, there are air flight between In Guezzam and Tamanrasset, as well as a weekly bus.
At the Niger side of the border there are public communications between Arlit (200 km south of the border town of Assamakka) and the principal city of Agadez. The road from Arlit to Assamakka is piste, unsurfaced, but OK even for normal cars, though this route makes most sense if setting out in a 4WD.

Oran has good ferry connections to Europe, and there are boats serving Marseilles (5 sailings/week in summer, 2 sailings/week in winter) and Sète (3 sailings/week in summer only) in France, as well as Alicante (2 sailings/week summer only) in Spain. One person one way should expect to pay around US$200, but there is a small discount (around 10%) for return tickets. Bringing a car one way will cost around US$250.
There are air flights to Oran from European cities like Geneva and Zürich, Switzerland; Lyons, Marseilles, Paris and Toulouse, France. Air flights also from Morocco: Casablanca and Fez.

Souq Ahras
Here the borders are wide open, as long as your papers are valid for visiting the two countries. Between Annaba and Tunis in Tunisia there is a direct bus connection, that takes 8½ hours. The cost, one way, is around US$20. Both Annaba and Constantine have regular taxi drives, at US$23 and 30, both serving Tunis. Taxis are clearly faster than the bus, and you will save a couple of hours, but prices are normally a bit higher (do not be afraid of higher prices for tourists). Trains run between Algiers-Constantine-Annaba and Tunis. Train is slightly faster than bus, and more or less the same price.
If you are going by your own transportation, note that there are several border posts between the two countries, but we do not know exactly how conditions are for most of these: Some border posts that are indicated on the map, could be closed, and some might not give very efficient service.

At the present time, even getting near Tindouf, which lies 50 km north of the actual border between Mauritania and Algeria, is out of the question. Morocco, along with these two countries have made a zone with a variable radius of 200 to 600 km, inaccessible to foreigners, and heavily restricted even for nationals.
The reason for this situation is political, and connected to the politically unresolved conflict of Western Sahara, that was occupied by Morocco (and Mauritania, who left their part in 1979) in 1975. The army of Western Sahara, called Polisario was for many years backed by Algeria, and have had their base in Tindouf. While there are no more fightings, the three countries are still far from agreeing on regulations on Western Sahara, and there will probably be years before travelling between Mauritania and Algeria can be done overland.

While there are no towns or cities on the Algerian side of the border, Tlemcen is the administrative centre for this border crossing, located between the principal cities of Tlemcen in Algeria and Oujda in Morocco. At the present (Feb. 1997) this border crossing, one out of two between the two countries, is closed, but this could change anytime. There is public transportation to the border from either direction, but you will have to get off your bus, pass the border walking, and get a bus or a taxi on the other side. Formalities here can take a couple of hours, and you will have to pass both countries' control.
If you were coming from Morocco, you could change your route from Tlemcen, and instead head up north to Marsa Ben Mehidi (70 km), at the junction 6 km in from the border point. This point on, you could also set out on the road going south to Ain Sefra (320 km), but this will neither save you time or kilometres compared to following the main road to Tlemcen (80 km), and take the good roads south from here to Ain Sefra.

By Tore Kjeilen