Hiking tours


Sahara Algeria Hiking Tour

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  • Location: Algeria
  • Duration: 9 Days/8 Nights (*depending on flight times)
  • Departing from: Paris airport on Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Paris airport on Day 9 (*or on Day 8, depending on flight times)
  • Departures 2022: Private departures only. Please contact us for more information.
  • Price 2022: Price upon request.
  • Departures 2023: Private departures only. Please contact us for more information.
  • Price 2023: Price upon request.
  • Departures 2024: Private departures only. Please contact us for more information.
  • Price 2024: Price upon request.

The Sahara is one of the largest and most beautiful deserts in the world. On this trip you will explore a small part of it, the Tadrart mountain range. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982, it is part of the National Park of “Tassilli des n’ajjers” (Plateau of Chasms), a mix of canyons and stone forests that make up this prehistoric landscape. Located in southeastern Algeria near Niger and Lybia, this “tassili” is only 250 km long and 50 km wide, but it harbours an outstanding landscape of the central Sahara.  The Tadrart is also home to one of the most important collections of prehistoric cave art in the world, offering a permanent open-air art exhibition on rocks and in caves.  There are some 10-15,000 rock paintings that depict hunting scenes with elephant, giraffes, lions, and both human and spiritual beings. Come and witness what this 9,000-year-old civilisation tells us about human history in this part of the world.

Southern Algeria is the heart of Touareg territory. This nomadic tribe numbers some one million people, scattered throughout various parts of the Sahara. The men wear an indigo-coloured fabric which stains their skin and has earned them the name of “Blue People of the Desert.” They will be our guides during our 4×4 and trekking tour. They will drive us through an ever-changing landscape, from fantastic volcanic mountains to rolling sand dunes and deep canyons, and from beautiful sunrises to flamboyant sunsets.  We camp each night under the Saharan sky and share simple food with our local guides and hosts.
The tour begins and ends in Paris, then once we are in the desert we sleep out under the stars.

Sahara Hike Algeria Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation (7 nights sleeping out under the stars! There are no tents but camping mattresses are provided.)
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • Luggage: Bags are transferred by 4×4 starting with pick-up from/to Tamanrasset airport
  • Special events: Unrivalled outdoor experience in the Sahara Desert
  • Transport: Two 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers
  • Active days: 7 days of guided hiking
  • Guides: At least 1 Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people (2 guides accompany larger departures) plus a local Touareg hiking guide, a cook, and two drivers.  Our local Touareg guides set up camp and prepare all of our meals.
  • Max group size: Tours are capped at 14 pax


Booking: Please e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract or simply click on the BOOK NOW button or the 'Contact Us' tab. Thanks!

Sahara Algeria Hiking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide, Virginie, at the Paris “Charles de Gaulle” airport and depart for a 3-hour flight to Djanet (a former military airbase in the middle of the desert). There you will be met by your Touareg guides, who will load your gear into the 4×4 and then set off on a 3-hour drive. The first 30 minutes is on a paved road, then we turn onto a track which leads into the Tadrart National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere preserve. We stop for lunch in the shade of a hardy acacia tree and then have another transfer to the start of our first hike. A two-hour hike over a ridge leads us down to the campsite which the boys have set up for us in the lee of an enormous limestone escarpment. Dinner by campfire light.

Days 2 – 8

A typical day: You open your eyes and wake to a clear, pale blue sky. There is no tent to obscure your views as you turn your head and take in the dramatic landscape of immense rock pillars that seem to grow out of the surrounding undulating dunes. The air is fresh, there is a slight breeze as you get out of your sleeping bag.  You have a half-litre of water with which to wash, so you wander off to find some privacy and do your ablutions. Instead of making like a bear in the woods, I guess you make like a jackal in the desert. Everyone eventually reconvenes around the breakfast fire where our cook Haled has stoked the fire and made some tea or coffee. Breakfast is toast, cereal and fruit. We then pack up our bedrolls and prepare for our morning hike. The air is quickly getting warmer so you change out of your fleece and into a T-shirt. Grab your backpack, water and camera, and follow Mohamed out of camp as he leads you on a morning of discovery. The desert is vast, but it is certainly not empty. Wadis (dried lake beds), rock caves, escarpments, and deep-water supplies lie hidden amongst the limestone rocks. Ancient paintings and engravings only appear when revealed by your guide. After a couple of hours of hiking, we arrive at the lunch stop that the cook and drivers have set up. They always manage to find a shady spot. The fire is going again and a welcome cup of tea is offered. Lunch can be salad, fruit, cheese, couscous, etc. After lunch we always enjoy a siesta. Some people fall asleep, others take the time to read a book or update their journal.

Depending on the day, we may have an hour transfer to the beginning of our late afternoon hike. Sundown is about 7 p.m. so the heat of the day is waning, and the light is magical as it plays off the soaring dunes whose colours range impossibly from gray to gold, to yellow, to orange. We often hike in bare feet up the dunes, the south faces are hot to warm while the north-facing sand is positively cold to the touch! We wind our way to the new campsite where we have time for a quick wash and a change into warm clothes. As the sun sets the temperature drops quickly. Soon we are all sporting long trousers, fleeces, and woolen hats, surmounted by headlamps. We gather around the fire where our Touareg guides prepare the meal while chatting amongst themselves. Dinner is always delicious, partly because the day’s exercise combined with the cool night air gives one a good appetite. We enjoy a small glass of the impeccably prepared and delicious tea that our Touareg hosts offer us after the meal. Now it is time for riddles and stories around the campfire, or music! The Touaregs are fabulous musicians. Moulay brings his 12-string lute with him and plays to himself and anyone else who wants to listen.  The other boys invariably lay down a percussion beat by clapping or beating on an upturned pot or empty water tank. Their melodic songs may well act as a lullaby. When it is time for bed you can find a good spot close to the fire or in the lee of the sheltering rocks, or you can wander out into the desert and plunk your mattress down and enjoy an unobstructed view of the heavens. And what a view it is. You have never seen so many stars in your life. You close your eyes and go to sleep, nestled in your warm sleeping bag.

Your Guides

Besides the stunning beauty of the desert landscapes, what really makes this trip so special are the local guides. The Touareg are a nomadic people who for centuries traded using camel caravans. Your guides continue to live as nomads, only now using 4x4s to ply the desert. They have a marvelous way about them. They love a good story or joke, do everything in the time it takes, with patience and efficiency. When they cross paths with another caravan smiles break out all around. Being with them around the campfire, hearing their stories, sharing their recipes, and listening to them sing, you get a glimpse into a totally different world. Everything is different, but the basics remain the same. Friendship and family are paramount. But I am getting carried away! They also look after us and lead us unerringly through the desert for a week with good humour and patience.

Mohamed, our hiking guide, knows the land like the back of his hand. He leads us to 10,000-year-old cave drawings and engravings from a time when the Tadrart was a temperate climate teeming with wildlife. Elephants, tigers, crocodiles, and giraffe were painted and engraved on the rock walls by the Touareg’s ancient ancestors.

Departure – Day 8 or 9 (*depending on flight times)

Emerge from the desert. Stop at the hammam in Djanet for a wash before boarding your flight back to Paris (or, spend the night and fly out tomorrow morning).

Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour, we make discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes bad, like a trail has been washed away. Therefore, we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding wonderful new elements or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured; we always aim to provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary before departure.




Activity Level 3 out of 5 = Moderate:
In general: This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers, and a little challenging but do-able for not-so-fit hikers.
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent climbs and descents, often over rocky terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents. 
Actual hiking time: between 2-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 8 - 12 km (5 - 7 mi). Max distance is 16 km (10 mi).
Surfaces: Trails consisting of mostly compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and on occasion rocky and uneven trails. 
Footing: Good, but on occasion you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: Rolling terrain with some challenging climbs up the dunes. Daily activity usually between 2 - 2.5 hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon. Some days have a shorter option. Max distance 16 kms (10 mi.).  Note: we will be accompanied by at least 2 Toyota Land Cruisers and drivers who move camp for us each day and transfer our luggage. They also set up a lunch site and then the final campsite in the evening. This also allows you the possibility of taking a morning or afternoon off to relax.
Hiking Poles: Recommended but not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.  
Compared to the Cinque Terre: These tours are easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit first time “hikers” who enjoy hiking and who have good balance and who are coordinated. 
Moderate Tours: Tuscany Chianti, Dordogne Hike, Sicily Hike, Lake Como Hike, and Corsica
As a point of reference, what is a 1 out of 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Walks would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside walks would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.
As a point of reference, what is a 5 out of 5 Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.

Getting There: the trip starts in Paris at the “Charles de Gaulle” airport, where you will meet your guide for your flight to Djanet, in Algeria. Paris Roissy (“Charles de Gaulle”) and Paris Orly share a website (“Aeroports de Paris”) with useful information on schedules, ground transportation, etc.

Air: most intercontinental flights arrive at this airport, while others may go to Orly.

Rail or Bus: Charles de Gaulle airport is easily reached by train and bus from downtown Paris or other points in France. See their website for more details.

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends back at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, after a group flight back from Djanet, Algeria.

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

5 out of 5
Ratings based on 1 Verified Review

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by S Lane
Posted Feb 03, 2015

Our week in the Sahara was an amazing experience. There is so much more to see than just sand - incredible rock formations, billowing sand dunes, flat expanses of sand where you can see mirages, historical cave paintings and engravings, the whole of the night sky twinkling with stars when you lay down in your sleeping bag, groups of camels. Our Toureg guides were very friendly and looked after us really well, the tea ceremony was always a highlight of the day, seeing it prepared as well as drinking it. So many wonderful photographs and memories, we would love to go back and do it all again.

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Our week in the Sahara was an amazing experience. There is so much more to see than just sand - incredible rock formations, billowing sand dunes, flat expanses of sand where you can see mirages, historical cave paintings and engravings, the whole of the night sky twinkling with stars when you lay down in your sleeping bag, groups of camels. Our Toureg guides were very friendly and looked after us really well, the tea ceremony was always a highlight of the day, seeing it prepared as well as drinking it. So many wonderful photographs and memories, we would love to go back and do it all again.
by S Lane

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