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North Africa (Tunisia, Libya (Sold Out), Algeria & Mauritania)

October 14 to November 09, 2018

Tunisia: Few countries on earth match the historical, cultural, and natural splendor of Tunisia. Begin and end in the capital city of Tunis with its wondrous medina (ancient city) and fascinating souqs (markets). Travel onward to ancient Carthage, one of the most important cities in the ancient Roman Empire. Afterward, head south to the sacred Islamic site of Kairouan,

Libya (Sold Out): a country of stark contrasts, offering visitors an opportunity to view, not only some of the greatest Roman and Greek cities in the world, but also the magnificent views of the Sahara desert. On Libya’s western Mediterranean coast, stand the breathtaking Roman city of Leptis Magna. Your adventure will take you to the ancient caravan city of Ghadames, a World Heritage Site.

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 town of Bou Saada and the Kasbah of Algiers. This fascinating tour offers the adventurous traveler an alluring blend of art, history, culture and scenery, including the marvelous city of Constantine, the city of gorges and bridges.

Mauritania: Mauritania boasts many wonders of nature as well as ancient cities. In the middle Ages, it was the seat of the Almoravid movement that spread Islam throughout North Africa. Today the seventh holiest city of Islam, Chinguitty, is located in the north of the country. Also in the north is Ouad Esne, an oasis settlement concealed by waves of golden sand dunes. It is home to an ancient mosque that contains 3,000 manuscripts, justifying its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

So come on join us on this amazing journey spanning 4 countries or select the segments that you may prefer combining few of them.

Tour cost (Land ONLY) in double        single suppl.

Tunisia                          $1,700.00        $240.00

Libya                             $1,550.00        $140.00

Algeria                           $4,995.00        $950.00

Mauritania                     $3,595.00        $400.00

 Each Trip segment is based on minimum of 4 participants and maximum of 12 participants

Led by Lecturer/guide/historian Mohamed Halouani

Your tour does not include

  • International airfare or any flights between countries (about $200-$300 per segment).
  • Items of a personal nature (laundry, phone calls, emails, excess luggage, etc.)
  • Visa fees for Libya (on arrival $100 approx.), Algeria (obtainable in USA for approx. $160) and Mauritania (obtainable on arrival for $130).
  • Meals not listed and beverages with all meals
  • Travel protection insurance (Highly recommended)
  • Transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled tour dates and
  • Dayroom or overnights necessitated by changes in airline schedules

Your tour includes

  • Hotel accommodations in First Class and deluxe hotels (except some 1-2* hotels and a camp night in Mauritania)
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary: B-breakfast, L-lunch and D-dinner
  • Daily bottled mineral water on the vehicles during touring
  • Tipping to guide, driver, porters, hotel and restaurant staff throughout Tour
  • All tours as per itinerary including guidance and entrance fees
  • Transfers/transportation by air-conditioned motor-coach and 4 wheel drive vehicles
  • All local taxes and service charges on included items.

Trip Grade: 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 to Luxury - Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars) and some are Luxury: Regular style- usually large- hotels, typical western standard with ample venues, and full amenities. (4 or 5 stars)

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.

Security notes concerning Libya: Currently the area of Western Libya (around Tripoli) is calm and under control and we will operate this tour as long as the situation remains favorable for travel.

Photographs of Mauritania by Kaylee Dall, www.kayleejay.com

View Tour Itinerary

Sunday, Oct 14
USA to Tunis

Depart USA on board your flight to Europe connecting to Tunis.

Monday, Oct 15

Upon arrival at Tunis airport, you will be met and transferred to Tunisia Palace hotel, or similar for check in, dinner and overnight (D)

Tuesday, Oct 16
Bardo Museum

Today, you will visit the Bardo National Museum, one of the best archaeological museums of the Mediterranean, located in an old 18th century palace that once belonged to the Beys, former Turkish rulers of Tunisia. The Bardo Museum is particularly known for its beautiful collection of Roman-Byzantine mosaics, the world’s largest. Afterwards drive to Carthage with the famous roman and Carthaginian ruins, the Punic harbors, the roman villas and the fabulous archaeological museum, also visit the picturesque village of sidi-bou-saïd and stroll in the white and blue streets. Back to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Oct 17
Kairouan -El Jem

Today, you head towards the center of Tunisia; starting with Kairouan, visit the Islamic monuments, the Grand Mosque, the mausoleum of the Barber and the Medina. After lunch, drive towards El Jem and marvel the unique roman amphitheater and the fascinating collection of mosaics at the museum. Afterwards return to your hotel in Tunis for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Oct 18
Oudna - Zaghouan

After breakfast, drive south of Tunis to Oudna/Uthina, recently excavated with a fine amphitheater and multi-story temple. Continue to the rosy-hued Roman town of Thuburbo Majus. Here you will see the forum, palestra, and peristyle houses with well-preserved mosaics. Afterwards head to Zaghouan, with its monumental nymphaeum at the source of the 90-km aqueduct that supplied Carthage with water from its terminus at the La Malga cisterns. Return to your hotel in Tunis for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Friday, Oct 19
Medina of Tunis

Today, you will visit the different neighborhood of the medina with its Islamic monuments, mosques, medrassas, you will meet an architect and a journalist, which will enlighten you about the development of the Tunisian society and arts. Return to your hotel in Tunis for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Oct 20
Tunis - Libya or USA

After breakfast transfer to the airport for either your flight to the US “arriving the next day” or to Libya “arriving the same day”, OR for those who are coming from the US, upon arrival meet and transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Sunday, Oct 21
Libya “Leptis Magna”

Visit the jewel of Libya, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Leptis Magna. Founded by Phoenician merchants in the first millennium BC it is one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity. Begin at the entrance of the main street with the Arch of Septimius Severus, built to celebrate the arrival of the great Emperor. Explore Hadrian’s Bath and the Palestra, a place for sporting events and games. Continue to the Street of the Colonnades and the Nymphaeum, a semicircular construction containing a pool and fountain surrounded by walls. Tour the Severus Forum and the adjoining Basilica before heading to the harbor, once the natural mouth of Leptis Valley. In the northern corner of the old forum are the remains of tiles from the time of the Emperor Augustus 30 BC - 14 AD. Visit the Museum and the Amphitheater built in the period of Nero around 56 AD. Stop at Villa Sillin (if open) to see the exquisite mosaics. Return to Tripoli for your overnight (B,L,D)

Monday, Oct 22
Tripoli - Janzour - Gharyan

In the morning, sightseeing in Libya’s capital city, known as the “White Bride of the Mediterranean”, in the morning head to visit the wonderful National Museum with its stunning Roman and Greek displays, next, visit the walled Old Town which encloses, arguably, the most charming medina in all of North Africa. Explore the warren of streets and alleyways, including the bustling souks, each devoted to a different trade, the historic house of the 18th century governor Karamanli, and the 19th century Gorgi Mosque, and the sole surviving building of Roman Oea, the 2nd century Arch of Marcus Aurelius. Afterwards, head west from Tripoli along the coastal road to visit the painted Punic tombs at Janzour. Continue to Gharyān, also spelled Garyān, or Garian, town, in the Tripolitania region of northwestern Libya. It lies at the foot of the plateau Jabal Nafusah, 50 miles (80 km) south of Tripoli, and was a major centre of Italian colonization in the early 1910s. After the Turko-Italian war (1911–12) and the defeat of Turkey, the Gebel, Berber, and Fezzanese peoples in Libya continued to fight but could not stem the Italian advance. Gharyān fell to the Italians in December 1912 but was recaptured in a counterattack by local peoples in July 1913. Return to Tripoli. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Oct 23
Libya - Algiers or US

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back to the US or to Tunis connecting afterwards to Algiers “arriving the same day”, OR for those who are coming from the US, upon arrival meet and transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. (B)

Wednesday, Oct 24

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. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Oct 25
Algiers - Constantine

Fly to Constantine, the "City of bridges". Upon arrival, take a walk in the city; it is 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. Transfer to Marriott hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Friday, Oct 26
Constantine - Timgad - Lambaesis-Constantine

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)

Saturday, Oct 27
Constantine - Djemila - Bou Saada

Head to Djemila, one of North Africa's most monumental 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 Bou Saada, “place of happiness and the happy city”, is also the first Saharan oasis, a region occupied for a long time by the nomadic population of the Ouled Nails, which raises many herds and is known for its handicrafts. The French painter "orientalist" Etienne Dinet (1884), seduced by the landscapes and the types of the south lived there and buried in this city. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Oct 28
Bou Saada

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 and after lunch, you will drive toward the huge and famous religious complex of El Hamel, near Bou Saada, still a big center for Sufis, where you can visit the majestic mausoleum of the patriarch Si Abulkacem, then visit the mosque and the medrassa. Back to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Monday, Oct 29
Bou Saada – Algiers

Today, your travel takes you through the Essaoura steppe to Algiers. Upon arrival, visit the French Botanical Jardin d’essai. After lunch, transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. Enjoy the afternoon free at leisure. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Oct 30
Algiers – Tizi Ouzou – Beni Yenni Berber land (Kabyle) - Algiers

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 for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Oct 31
Algiers–Cherchell – Tipaza - Algiers

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)

Thursday, Nov 01
Algiers to Mauritania or USA

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back to the US or to Mauritania “arriving the same day”, OR for those who are coming from the US, upon arrival meet and transfer to Al Waha hotel or similar for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Friday, Nov 02
Nouakchott - Atar

After breakfast, Depart for Atar, the capital of Adrar region, the best tourist region in Mauritania, discover the nomad camps on your way. Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Nov 03
Atar – Chinguetti

After breakfast; drive to Chinguetti the seventh holy city of Islam declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Enjoy your tour in its libraries and quarters and its oases. Chinguetti mean “Good horse”, this city would be buried by large waves of quicksand; some sources establish the foundation of Chinguetti to (1261). It was on the caravan route linking northern Sudan to North-Africa. This road was the main access to the gold and other products from the Sudan. The ancient city was a centre of religious and cultural influence from which scientists Mauritanian spread Islam and the Arab-Muslim culture in the entire West Africa. Chinguetti was a cultural centre where they studied, among other subjects, theology, poetry, philosophy and law .The Minaret of Chinguetti (topped by the symbolic ostrich egg) has become the symbol of Mauritania called until recently “Bilad Chinguett”. Transfer to Auberge hotel for dinner and overnight (B,L,D)

Sunday, Nov 04
Chinguetti - Guelb - Errichat – Ouadane - Chinguetti

After breakfast, depart to Guelb Errichat; Africa’s Eye via Ouadane with a stop at the old city of Ouadane, which was one of the main caravanning centres in West Africa. After lunch, continue to Guelb Errichat, an impressive crater, which originated from a meteorite that Theodore Monod has been looking for many years. Back to your hotel in Chinguetti for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Monday, Nov 05
Chinguetti - Atar

Departure towards the high plateau to reach the pass of Amogjar with its impressive canyon and its Mesa range of mountains where the famous French movie Fort Saganne has been shot, starring Gerard Depardieu. After lunch, head to visit the rock paintings discovered by the French naturalist Theodore Monod, then drive towards Atar. Upon arrival transfer to Al Waha hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Nov 06
Atar – Terjit - White Valley – Azoughi - Atar

Today cross the White Valley area to reach Terjit the most beautiful oasis in Mauritania, where an oasis with thermal springs and marvellous pools awaits us for bathing. This greenery oases is nestled in a hollow of the valley, very appreciated by tourists for its beauty and freshness; opportunity to swim in the desert. Then we explore the remains of Azougui, the ancient capital of the Almoravids. The Almoravids were warrior monks Muslims who went to the conquest of Morocco, Spain and sub-Saharan Africa from the eleventh century. A fortress was built amid 20 000 palm trees. The city-wall is still standing; through the maze of rocks you can find rests of the mosque. Sparsely populated the year it was assaulted by Mauritanians returning to their homeland during the Guetna (the date harvest). Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Nov 07
Atar - Iwik

After breakfast, drive west to the ocean across the desert till you reach the sea-shore village of Iwik, occupied by the Imraghen fishermen, an ethnic Berber tribe specializing in fishing. Spend the rest of the day in the village, meet the fishermen and marvel the sunset on the Atlantic Ocean. Check in your Iwik tented Camp. Food is great out there. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Nov 08
Iwik - Nouakchott

Today we return to Nouakchott, following the coastline, seeing huge quantities of birds by the shore and many fishing tribes, you will stop to meet them. After lunch, drive onwards to Nouakchott. Arrive in Nouakchott. Check in your hotel. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Friday, Nov 09
Nouakchott - USA

After breakfast, head to visit the outstanding National Museum with its ethnographical and anthropological exhibit. Lunch in town. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Day-use with dinner till transfer to the airport in the evening for your flight back to the US. (B,L,D)

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed