I'm looking to spend the month of September going Italy-Malta-Tunisia-Algeria-Morocco-Spain, with North Africa being the main focus of the trip and Spain and Italy being the entry and exit points. There's a lot I want to see but I have a lot to narrow down. Also, I don't speak French or Arabic. If anybody has any recommendations on the following, I'd really appreciate it:
1.) Does anybody have a reliable source on the security situation in Tunisia and Algeria? It's hard distinguishing what's hyped and what's real. I know state department warnings are always overly conservative.
2.) What is the best place to see/experience the Sahara? Tamanrasset, Algeria looks stunning, but may not be feasible given my timeline. Is Douz, Tunisia a better bet? What about the Moroccan side?
3.) Any good stops worthwhile in Calabria and Sicily in Italy?
4.) What are the best beaches in Tunisia?
5.) Any recommendations on hiking in the Atlas Mountains?
6.) What are your favorite places in Morocco?
7.) If I'm pressed for time, which country should I skip?
8.) Any other general advice?
Thanks you guys!
Where are you from mate? I really think you need to re-evaluate, a month for 6 or 7 countries is ludacris. The distances youre looking at covering are vast. Pick 6 or 7 places, much more realistic.
1.) It's generally safe just don't go near Mount Chaambi or the libyan tunisian border.
2.) Yep Douz is a good bet. Morocco is an another good bet.
3.) Sicilia as a whole is stunting
4.) Hammamet, Sousse, Marsa (tunis),Monastir,Mahdia..etc
5.) just bring your gear and you're set
7.) Algeria since it's the biggest country in africa
8.) just stay safe and don't be ashamed to ask for help from the locals
Yes, 1 month is way too short for a trip like this! You could easily spend a month in any one of those countries.
There are also a few points that will hinder your proposed trip:
- the border between Morocco and Algeria has been closed for decades. You can fly between Algiers and Casablanca, or you can take a couple of ferries via Spain, but there's no overland travel.
- there may also be issues crossing the border between Tunisia and Algeria.
- Malta is not connected to Tunisia, except by plane.
- Algerian visas are tricky to get and need a bit of planning. Depending on your nationality, you may need to submit an itinerary for the whole trip and prove you have accommodation booked for each night.
- Government warnings affect your insurance cover. It doesn't matter if you perceive the threat to be overblown or not, travelling to an area your government advises against all travel to means most normal travel insurance policies are invalid.
I would look at combining 2 countries maximum. Spain and Morocco, Spain and Algeria, or Italy and Tunisia (but check your government warnings for Tunisia), otherwise you'll spend most of your time getting from one place to another and very little time seeing anything.
I've been to all three of the North African countries, and while I enjoyed each of them, Algeria is definitely my favourite, despite the challenges of getting in. My government travel advice states that much of the north is safe, while the south and east along Tunisia's border is a "red zone" which they advise against all travel to, and isolated areas in the north west (the Kabylie area). To visit the south including Tamanrasset and anywhere south of Ghardaia, you can't travel alone and have to go with a guide/escort, whereas the north is much more relaxed.
With a bit of planning, you can arrange a trip entering Algeria by ferry from Spain (Almeria to either Ghazaouet or Oran in the far west), then travel overland to Algiers, taking a ferry to France or a flight to Italy or Tunisia.
The main Algerian cities are worth exploring - I spent a few days each in Algiers, Oran and Tlemcen, as well as a couple of days in a desert region to the south of Tlemcen. A huge plus is that there are so few foreign tourists, so there's none of the hassle that Tunisia and Morocco are famous for. Because of the lack of tourists, it's also a bit more challenging to travel around Algeria, just because of the lack of information available. In Morocco and Tunisia, you'll meet plenty of people able to chat in English, but if you go to Algeria, try to learn at least some basic French.
The easiest place at the moment to experience the Sahara would probably be in Morocco, around Merzouga, a town famous for its dunes.
Best beach in Tunisia? I haven't visited them all, but there are some nice remote ones in the north east. If you prefer a town with a beach, then I'd suggest Mahdia or Bizerte...less touristy and built up than the major resorts, and both have nice old towns to explore too. Algeria and Morocco have good beaches too.
Thank you all, you guys have been incredibly helpful.
And yeah, I'm an American, so forgive me if my plans are a bit ambitious. It's a region that's not easy for us to travel to. It's like when I meet Australians in the states and they're going from Chicago to LA to New York to Miami and then to Croatia or something like that.
Yeah, I've read about the Morocco-Algerian border, that's so odd. Apparently there was a study done that said the GDP's of both countries would be close to double what they are now had they been open.
The trip is coming about because my family is taking a trip to Italy, so I get a free flight to Rome out of it, and then I'll go south once their done.
So it's looking like my best bet would be to put a pin in Algeria, go another time, and fly from Tunis to Marrakech. Hopefully, I'll have more than a month, but it's tricky to say right now. Douz is the one I'm getting the most mixed info on whether it's practical for me to go right now or not. And who knows where the world will be in seven months with that dude we gave power (sorry, I tried to stop it).
But again, thank you all. Merzouga, Chefchouen, Mahdia, and Bizerte are all new suggestions to me and from a basic Google Image search, all make me really excited to check them out.