Antique Algeria… The Garden of the Sahara
April 28 to May 13, 2017
Algeria is a vast country of breathtaking scenery, well-preserved Roman ruins, pre-historic cave paintings and a strong Berber culture. Your journey will take you from the sweeping shoreline to the majestic mountains, through the huge wilderness of the Sahara desert into the palm-fringed oases. Some of the highlights include the Roman ruins of Timgad, the former Roman port of Caesarea, the oases towns of Ghardaia and Bou Saada, the gorge of Sisi Meid and the Kasbah of Algiers. This fascinating tour offers the adventurous traveler an alluring blend of art, history, culture and scenery, including the marvelous Moorish city of Tlemcen, voted recently as one of the best 41 places one should see in a lifetime...
I was impressed; our Algerian Guide had the answer to all our questions an knows his country well.
– Judy Danley
The Guide is really a wonderful person; I cannot imagine that any person would not be pleased to have him as their guide. He was always both competency and friendly. I was sorry to leave Algeria. Thank you
– Larry Leventhal
Tour Escort: Led by Mohamed Halouani, Lecturer and Roman Historian
Tour cost (Air and Land from NYC): $7,995.00 per person sharing in double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,200.00
Credit for not using our included airfare $800.00
Trip cost based on minimum of 6 participants and maximum of 14 participants
Your tour Includes:
- International air from JFK (NY) to Algiers, roundtrip coach class (based on Air France or Alitalia schedule and pricing).
- Algerian inter-country flights.
- All transfers with assistance and luggage porterage.
- Transportation by modern A/C motor coach.
- All mentioned accommodations in a combination of 5* hotels in most of the large cities and some 3* properties in a few of the smaller towns.
- All meals as listed with bottled water on touring days.
- All entrance fees to visited sites mentioned.
- Service of professional guides and lecturers.
- All gratuities to your guide, lecturers, porters, drivers, hotel restaurant staff, etc…
Your tour Does Not Include:
- Algerian Visa – $160.00 at time of printing plus mailing, and handling fees.
- Airfare to/from JFK to/from home airport or from other gateways.
- Airport taxes/fuel surcharges and security fees (estimated at around $485.00).
- Beverages with meals and meals not noted.
- Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.
- Items of a personal nature, i.e. souvenirs, laundry, phone calls, emails, etc.
- Dayroom or extra hotel nights necessitated by airline flight schedule changes.
- Travel protection insurance.
- Any currency fluctuation.
Remarks: The itinerary is subject to change depending on the schedule of internal flights within Algeria (can only be firmed up around 2 months before departure) and also the sequence of the program could change based on domestic flight schedule. Visa for Algeria takes about 2 weeks and we need to apply for it around 2 months before the trip and your passport must not include any Israeli stamps.
Your lecturer/guide Mr. Mohamed Halouani is a Tunisian native who transformed his profound passion for travel and history into a creative and diversified educational career, designing and carrying out multiple archaeological and cultural trips for institutions, such as The Detroit Institute of Art, the Textile Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, Cross Cultural Adventurers and many more organizations. After having received his degrees in English and Spanish, Mr. Halouani completed his European Master’s in linguistics and Hispanic studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He has extensive knowledge on Islamic architecture and Eastern decorative elements as well as Roman archaeology and history. A skilled multilingual interpreter, Mohamed has served as the head tour guide in Tunisia. He now resides in Paris and leads only certain select small groups to the three countries in North Africa that boast the highest concentration of Roman Ruins: Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some very long rides. A few times you may be delayed by the security personnel at some check points and this necessitates a tolerant and patient attitude.
Lodging Level: *** Superior – Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars)
View Tour Itinerary
Friday, April 28
Depart the US on your airline connecting via Europe, arriving the second day to Algeria.
Saturday, April 29
Arrive in Algiers, upon arrival meet and transfer to your hotel in the city center for check-in, free afternoon and overnight. Tonight no meals are included.
Sunday, April 30
After breakfast, start your full day tour in the capital city of Algiers, visit Place des Martyrs, the 17th century El Djedid Mosque, the Place of Emir Abdelkader (panoramic square with statue of the founder of the Algerian nation); the neo-Moorish Grande Poste, and the Bardo Museum (housed in Moorish-style villa) containing some of the masterpiece mosaics found in various archaeological sites of Algeria, then in the afternoon, stroll the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Casbah, which is the old walled city, a masterpiece of architecture, the Casbah remains one of the world’s most mythical labyrinths. It’s huddled houses tumbling down the hill-side before seemingly spilling over into the sea. You will have lunch in one of its private homes. If time allows, we’ll make a stop at the Cathedral of Notre Dame d’Afrique. Have a special farewell dinner bidding Algeria good bye before heading home or continuing to Libya with ample memories of this lovely country then return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L,D)
Monday, May 01
Algiers – Berber land (Kabyle)
Full day guided tour with van to the Kabyle region east of Algiers. The drive there is spectacular through the Berber mountains and the scattered towns and villages. Reach the famous small city of Beni Yenni made world famous for the surviving traditions of making silver jewelry. Today you are having a close up introduction to the Berber culture and lives. Back to Algiers. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, May 02
Algiers – Oran – Tlemcen
Early breakfast and transfer to the airport for your 07.00 AM flight to Oran, a city located on the Mediterranean in the west of Algeria and is the home of Rai music, Yves Saint Laurent and a strong Spanish population. Oran is a relaxed, dynamic and welcoming city. After you arrive, visit the Bey’s Palace, the 14th century fort of Merinid Sultan Abou Hassan, and some fine colonial architecture such as the majestic train station, the theatre and the Cathedra of Santa Cruz, Stop at the plateau of Murdjadjou for a panoramic view over the old port of Oran, and then proceed by road to Tlemcen (196.6km) and transfer to your Renaissance Hotel (one of the most beautiful properties in North Africa) for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, May 03
Tlemcen “the town of cherries” was once one of the most powerful cities in the Maghreb. Whole-day visit to Tlemcen, the Islamic capital of culture in 2011, and the tour includes a visit to the 13th century Mosque of Sidi Bel Hassan, the Great Mosque (one of North Africa’s most important Islamic buildings), the 13th century ruins of Mansourah (enormous ancient mosque), and the beautiful mausoleum of Sidi Boumediene (12th century Sufi leader). Afternoon walk into the old city, once home to thousands of Algerian Jews, now only a handful Jewish families inhabit it. We will learn about the long Judaic heritage of this educated and enlightened city. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Thursday, May 04
Tlemcen – Constantine
Morning departure to Oran by road, arriving for an early lunch, after which, transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Algiers then connect to Constantine. Upon arrival, drive to your hotel. (B,L,D)
Friday, May 05
Constantine – Tiddis – Constantine
Begin your day with Tiddis, a rarely-visited, Roman town, clinging in terraces to the side of an ochre mountain. It is one of Algeria’s most beautiful ancient sites, in spite of its miniature size, boasting all the trappings of a Roman town: paved streets, a temple of Mithras, a wonderful arch, cisterns and a minute forum. Then, drive back to Constantine. It is called the “City of bridges”, a dramatic city of precipitous cliffs and deep gorges and the lofty setting for one of Algeria’s most labyrinthine Casbahs. Visit the city’s excellent museum (noted in particular for its Roman mosaics and punic artefacts), the delightful Palace and gardens of Ahmed Bey, the Ottoman ruler, then the Monument of Sidi M’Cid (WW I Memorial), the Mosque of Emir Abdelkader, as well as the Opera House. Return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L,D)
Saturday, May 06
Timgad – Lambaesis
Drive to the late 3rd century royal tomb of Medracen, which housed the remains of the Numidian royalties, then continue to the well-preserved Roman town of Timgad (ancient Thamugadi) and deserving to be called “Pompei of Africa”; planned by Emperor Trajan around 100 AD. Spend the day exploring the colonnaded streets, temples, public buildings, villas and fine museum. Continue to the nearby city of Lambaesis, A Roman garrison town boasting a Temple of Aesculapius, a fine Capitolium, a set of baths, an Arch of Severus and, the highlight, the praetorium of the Third Augustan Legion. Return to Constantine for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, May 07
Head to Djemila: one of North Africa’s most monumental Roman sites. The wheel-rutted streets of ancient Cuicul, founded by Emperor Nerva Trajan in the 1st century to house his veterans, are lined with colonnades and a clutch of elaborate houses, Byzantine churches and ancient temples. Equally impressive is Djemila’s stunning museum, where every square inch of the immense walls is plastered with mosaics. Continue to Boussaada, the capital of Essaoura region, along the road you will notice dramatic changes in the topography of the country, bolder mountains, semi-arid, you are on your way to meet the semi-nomadic tribes. Dinner and overnight in your hotel in Boussaada. (B,L,D)
/B>Monday, May 08
Start this morning with the visit of the famous Dinet’s museum, once a French artist who established himself in Bou Saada and is even buried there, you will marvel his original collection of 19th century paintings, then visit his tomb. Continue towards the handicraft center of Bou Saada downtown, a very interesting shopping experience. In the afternoon drive toward the nearby huge and famous religious complex of El Hamel, a major center for Sufis. There, visit the majestic mausoleum of the patriarch Si Abulkacem, and the mosque and the medrassa. Back to your hotel. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, May 09
Bou Saada – Laghwat – Ghardaia
Today, your travel takes you through the Essaoura steppe, via the city oasis of Laghwat, in the Amour Range of the Saharan Atlas is an oasis on the north edge of the Sahara Desert. It is an important administrative and military center and marketplace and is known for rug and tapestry weaving. After lunch, continue to Ghardaia and transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, May 10
Ghardaia, one of the five Mozabite towns that occupy the M’Zab valley. The Mozabites are an Islamic sect that has retained its traditional dress and customs (similar to the Druze in the Levant). Explore the town, the market, the surrounding date palm and irrigation system. Afterwards, visit the traditional fortified village of Beni Isguen situated in a lush oasis. It was built in the 10th century and looks like modernity has passed it by and left it untouched. Explore its maze of alleys and narrow corridors and small mosques before returning to your hotel in Ghardaia for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Thursday, May 11
Ghardaia – Algiers
Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Algiers, upon arrival, have an orientation drive around Algiers then visit the Jardin D’essai botanical garden then drive to Notre Dame d’Afrique cathedral for visit and have lunch. In the afternoon, transfer to check-in at Hotel Al Aurassi. Balance of the day at leisure. (B,L,D)
Friday, May 12
Cherchell – Tipaza
You full day is a trip outside Algiers, first visiting Tombeau de la Chrétienne (Mausoleum of Mauritania), one of North Africa’s most enigmatic archaeological survivals; continue to the Roman town of Cherchell (88km) (visit its archaeology museum) and after your special lunch at a private home, continue to the World Heritage site of Tipasa (25.3km) on the Mediterranean coast. There, you will stroll its amphitheater, 4th century basilica, forum, and museum before returning to Algiers (70.5km) where you will have your last dinner. (B,L,D)
Saturday, May 13
Algiers to USA
Very early morning transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)
“We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed”