What about Algeria?
Algeria has been off the map for mainstream tourists for around 20 years, after a fairly destructive civil war during the 1990′s rendered it off-limits. Though peace was restored by 2003, it took some time for the scars in Algerian society to heal and now most of the country is safe for travellers to return.
Algeria has not experienced the major tourist development and commercialisation that neighbouring countries have undergone in recent decades – it’s like Morocco was before hoards of visitors wanted to follow in the footsteps of Hendrix and the Rolling Stones – and the way Algerians remain unaffected by the presence of tourists is particularly refreshing.
With the huge amount of attractions and experiences the country has to offer, it’s easy to imagine that soon there will be dinner parties around the world where guests will talk (boast?) about being the first to go there. Algeria has the potential to be the next Sri Lanka or – dare we say it? – the next Myanmar. Two other countries that were also closed to most travellers for 20 years or so, but now they are two of Intrepid’s hottest destinations.
Algeria is the biggest country in Africa and sits at the crossroads of history, where empires and trade routes have existed for thousands of years. Consequently the country has lots to show for it and presents an impressive variety of attractions for travellers. It has spectacular cities such as Algiers – its whitewashed French colonial edifice facing the Mediterranean on a curved bay – and Constantine, referred to by Alexandre Dumas as a “flying island”, its fantastical centre perched atop sheer cliffs overlooking a dramatic gorge and linked to the world by a series of incredible bridges.
Algeria has no less than seven UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, three of which are well-preserved Roman cities nestled in the fertile hills of the north. In Europe, sites like this would be overrun by hordes of tourists, but here they remain relatively deserted.
In the middle of the country are a series of oasis towns nibbling at the fringe of the Sahara, their ancient mud-brick ksars set against the backdrop of massive sand dunes are a photographer’s delight. The people of these marginal settlements appear to have stepped from the pages of a National Geographic.
Ancient carvings, terrace restaurants, Roman ruins, Berber architecture, intricate embroideries, stunning mountains, windswept dunes and dramatic gorges – we are excited to offer a most comprehensive tour of Algeria in 2014 and share with you the hidden secrets of this intriguing region!