Most people explore the Algerian Sahara using a mixture of 4WD and trekking by foot, but for those in no hurry camel-trekking is the most environmentally responsible manner to explore the Sahara. Believe it or not, cycling is also a possibility.
There’s almost nowhere that you can’t reach in the Algerian Sahara in a 4WD and you’re almost certain to travel by 4WD at some point in your journey, even if it’s only to reach the trailhead from which you commence your trek on foot. The advantage of travelling in this way is that you will be able to range much wider than you can on foot or by camel (unless you have months to spend on the latter).
You will be able to reach a more varied range of sites and traverse a more representative sample of Saharan land- scapes, leaving the Algerian Sahara with a better appreciation of its scale. Travelling in this way does, however, come at a significant environmental cost (see the boxed text, p71, for details), which is something that you should take into account when deciding how best to travel in the Sahara. Even if you are a small group or a party of one, you should never travel into the Sahara without at least two vehicles (the guide or driver brings the other). For longer expeditions, an additional vehicle is always neces- sary for carrying food supplies, kitchen and camping equipment and your additional water and petrol.
The desire to walk in the hot Saharan sun may seem like a strange form of madness, but there’s no other way to reach and explore the fine rock art that is such a feature of the Tassili N’Ajjer National Park. Re- member, however, that this and other treks in the Algerian Sahara are almost always restricted to rocky mountain areas and no-one’s expecting you to walk amid the sands of the Grand Ergs. Sturdy hiking boots are essential.
Cycling in the Sahara seems about as likely as skiing. But think about it a little more and you’ll quickly come to the realisation that the arduous but infinitely rewarding trails of the Hoggar Mountains could be a mountain-biker’s paradise. Asking Algerian travel agencies about cycling tours is likely to inspire blank looks, and suitable two-wheeled transport is almost impossible to find in Algeria so you’ll need to bring your own bicycle or mountain bike and spare parts. For international tour companies offering advice and/or cycling tours to the Hoggar Mountains.