Saharascapes expedition

DATE TOUR 5 – 21 November 2024 * x2 SPACES OPEN
GENRE landscape
TOUR LEADERS Marsel van Oosten & Daniella Sibbing
TOUR START Algiers, Algeria
FEE 8,795 EURO per person *
DEPOSIT 1,500 EUR per person
SINGLE SUPPL. 750 EURO for a single room / tent
GROUP SIZE 6 to 9 guests
LEVEL all experience levels
FITNESS LEVEL Normal
MENTAL HEALTH Balanced, Flexible, Positive
WHAT ELSE? Sense of humor

* The schedule for domestic flights in November is not yet available. As a result, the tour date can still shift 1 day to either side.

TOUR DESCRIPTION
We visited Algeria 14 years ago to photograph the stunning rock formations and countless natural rock arches in Tassili n’Ajjer National Park. It was a scouting trip during which we covered as much ground as possible, logging all exciting locations for a future tour. Shortly after our visit, the Arab Spring (which turned out to be an Arab Winter) happened; the rest is history.

Our travels in the Sahara of North Africa are among our top 10 best wilderness experiences, so for the past 14 years, we have been eyeing the situation in Algeria, ready to go back. Well, we did just that. End of 2023, we returned from our second scouting tour in Algeria, which was even better than the first time.

When you think of the Sahara, you probably think of an endless sea of dunes. While many places in the Sahara look like that, it is much more diverse. Each region has its distinctive look. Most areas we love have a magical mix of sand and rocks. Since the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, erosion has shaped countless rock formations into the most incredible sculptures, from forests of rock pinnacles to giant monoliths and natural rock arches around every corner.

If you ever want to enjoy the experience of walking on the surface of another planet, this is as close as you will get. Unless you get abducted by aliens. Otherworldly would be the best way to describe many of the vistas on this tour.

To make it even better, we have decided to spend considerable time in a region that is extremely remote and very seldom visited by Western tourists. There are no roads, villages, or people — nothing but sand and rocks for as far as you can see. This will undoubtedly be the tour’s highlight, resulting in many genuinely original images.

This is a real adventure, and as such, it requires a positive, flexible, and adventurous mindset. You know us, so you understand that we will do our utmost to make everything as comfortable and efficient as possible. Still, we can’t change the fact that you will sleep on an air mattress, that there will be sand in all your bodily orifices, and that you will get a bottle of water to wash with. If you can handle that, you will be blown away by the experience.

TOUR CHARACTERISTICS
This is an expedition-style landscape photography tour. There are no hotels, no Airbnb, no shopping malls, no bars and restaurants, no wifi, and very few roads. We will use several 4×4 vehicles to get us from place to place, carrying all our luggage, food, drinking water, firewood, Nutella, and tents — yes, we will be camping under the stars. It’s not that we have another choice, but it’s perfect because we can set up camp right next to our shooting locations. And it’s also a lot of fun. Based on our recent visit and the sardine experience in our tent, we have decided to buy brand new tents for this tour with lots of space for you and your luggage.

The Algeria tour is not demanding regarding physical requirements, but we will sometimes walk or climb in the sand. Higher viewpoints are often better!

PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE SAHARA EXPERIENCE
This is a unique tour; we will take you to areas where Western tourists rarely visit. The photographs we will take on this tour are certified fresh and very different from the vast majority of Sahara images. This has always been our primary objective, so we are happy that we have succeeded once again in creating something original. Usually, this only lasts 1–2 years because that’s typically when our copypetitors start copying our new tours. Until then, make sure you beat them all! Be the avant-garde!

Being a landscape tour, we will get up before sunrise and walk to our shooting location. We camp as close to where we’re shooting, so it’s usually not much effort. When the light gets harsh, we return to camp for breakfast. After breakfast, we pack up camp and move to the following location. The drives are often quite scenic, so we will stop frequently for some shots and to stretch our legs. For lunch, we will find a shaded area so that we can rest afterward. We then continue to our afternoon shooting location where we will set up camp again. With little to no clouds and zero light pollution, the Sahara is great for night photography, so if the conditions are right, we will definitely play with the stars.

You don’t need any special photography gear for this tour — two bodies, a wide angle, medium wide angle, and a telezoom like a 70-200 will be fine. A tripod is mandatory.

Apart from the incredible photographic opportunities, this tour is also about the Sahara experience. We will spend most of our time far away from human civilization in a world of sand and rock formations. You will feel profoundly connected to the landscape, and not only because there will be sand in the most unimaginable places.

GETTING AROUND AND SETTING UP CAMP
We drive during the day, when the light is harsh, and set up camp where we want to photograph that afternoon & the next morning. The driving will be done in 4×4 vehicles, based on three guests per vehicle, with a very experienced driver to take you around.

This is a camping expedition. But fear not! After our scouting trip, we decided to upgrade the regular tents used on expeditions like this to so-called “3-second tents” for everyone, which expand by themselves and are much more significant. So setting up the tent will be an easy task but one you will need to do yourself. The extra space means you can keep your regular bag and your camera bag inside the tent.

We have added a second cook to our crew to prepare all our meals, and we will arrange for a generator/charger for our cameras and phones.

TOUR SCHEDULE
The tour starts in Algiers, where we will all arrive on the same flight from Paris with Air France. We have to arrange a special permit for all the photography equipment everyone is bringing in, so we must arrive as a group (and depart as a group).

After a night in the Hyatt hotel at the airport, we fly to the south to Djanet. This is the gateway to the Tadrart desert, where we’ll spend four nights. We’ll spend our first night close to some of the biggest arches you’ve ever seen, as well as beautiful dunes and rock formations.

From Djanet, we will travel two days to several undisclosed areas that are hardly ever visited by tourists. We will spend seven nights there.

From there, we’ll fly back to Algiers. Depending on the domestic flights to and from Djanet, the tour will be 16 or 17 days. For now, we have the tour starting on November 5th and ending on November 21st.

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO ALGERIA?
Some Islamic countries have a terrible reputation. Often, this is deserved, but just as frequently, it is not. The only thing to remember is that we would never set up a tour to a dangerous country. And even then, it’s all very relative. For instance, the US has a murder per capita rate of 6.38 per 100k people. Algeria’s rate is 1.77, less than Canada’s.

But what about terrorism? On the Global Terrorism Index, Algeria ranks #37, one place above Tanzania, while the US ranks #30, seven places higher.

We know — you didn’t expect that.

According to the US government, in January 2021, the Algerian Ministry of Defense declared that Algeria has “defeated” terrorism. Going for an evening stroll in downtown Memphis is much more dangerous than camping in the Algerian Sahara with no one around.

JOIN US TO THE ALGERIAN DESERT
We will only take 6 to 9 guests, so it will be an intimate group. If you’re adventurous, have a positive attitude, and are not afraid of sand in your ears, nose, and mouth and would like to join an epic expedition, please click the red button below for the first step!

INCLUDED IN THE TOUR FEE

  • 17 days in Algeria, including all transportation during the photo tour
  • All accommodation
  • All meals & drinks
  • Just 3 guests per vehicle
  • Tent and mattress
  • Photographic tips & tricks
  • Fun!

NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR FEE

  • International flights
  • Additional nights outside of the itinerary (at beginning or end of the tour)
  • Tips, gratuities, personal expenses
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).

For your information, we also have a link to our Terms & Conditions for you.