Plateau of Tassili n'Ajjer

Plateau of Tassili n'Ajjer, 7 days

In the Central Sahara, in the south-eastern corner of Algeria, rises the massive Tassili n'Ajjer plateau, long closed to visitors. Despite its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and despite the fact that the area contains one of the world's largest concentrations of rock paintings and drawings dating back thousands of years. The Plateau is now open and this remote corner of the Sahara is now more accessible thanks to easier visa process, but you or your group will still have the Sahara almost entirely to yourselves. Desert tourism in Algeria is not mass tourism – at least not yet.

With expert Tuareg guides, you will see the Plateau of Tassili n'Ajjer, its hundreds of rock paintings and experience the genuine friendliness and hospitality of the Saharan people. If you travel in summer, you will also experience the heat!

It is possible to tailor the trip to the length of your holiday (315 days), but in this proposal we visit the Tassili n'Ajjer plateau for seven days. The trip is almost entirely walking based due to the fact that cars have no access to the plateau!

Day 1

Arrival by air in the desert tourism hub of Algeria, Djanet, in the south-eastern corner of the country. The Libyan border is close by, but it is nonetheless very peaceful in here. Many flights land late in the evening/night, so if you wish, we can take you to your first night in a hotel at the 3-star La Grotte des Ambassadeurs or similar. If, on the other hand, you want to continue directly from the flight to the desert, that's also possible.

Off-road vehicles are packed for our trip. Tents, food, drinks and other necessities are included. There will also be a satellite phone for emergencies, as the phones will not have coverage on the plateau because only occasional herders pass through the area. There are no permanent villages. We head off-road for the first 20 km or so until we reach the Tafalalt Pass and the edge of the plateau. From here we continue our journey on foot with donkeys, mules or camels carrying our luggage, food, drinks and so on.

Day 2

The Plateau is part of the Tassili n'Ajjer mountain range and the national park that includes it. The national park is known in particular for its picturesque rock formations, such as the natural arches, and for its prehistoric rock paintings and rock engravings. On this trip we will see the latter in particular.

The Plateau of Tassili n'Ajjer is about 500-700 metres above the surrounding area, i.e. about 1500-1700 metres above sea level, which is why we start our ascent there via the Tekbal-Ounfas Pass. The ascent across the rocky pass requires stamina and strength, which is provided by meals prepared by Tuareg chefs.

Day 3

We wake up, pack our tents, have breakfast, then head to the site known as Titeras n'Elias, where we see rock paintings dating back to the "horse age", from around 1000 BC to the year 0. The images include people riding in horse-drawn carriages.

Via In Itinene we finally reach the area known as Sefar, an excellent concentration of ancient rock carvings. In particular, large-scale images of people and various worship-related images are depicted. People are depicted dancing, riding giraffes and even giving birth. These date from around 80006000 BC.

Days 45

We will see more ancient rock paintings in the Sefar area, before heading to Tin Tazarift. There are also paintings from the same era, but also from the following "pastoral period", i.e. from around 5500-2000 BC. We see, for example, a crouching woman nursing her child, a father and child herding cows, and even an aardvark.

We will also visit the Tin Aboteka, with paintings from different periods, including an animal-headed male figure of the "pastoral period" and a pregnant woman, and a lion with a curly tail, dating from the "camel age", 200 BC to the present day.

Day 6

We pass through Wan-Atouham, Timezazen, Issawalafan and Tineren. We see more rock paintings and caves. At the end of the day, we arrive in Tamrit. Tamrit is also famous for its paintings, dated to the "pastoral period", depicting for example a hunting scene.

Day 7

Today we descend from the plateau along the Tafalalt Pass back to about 1,000 metres above sea level. The last 20 kilometres or so back to the town of Djanet will be covered by off-road vehicles. In the evening we will take you either to your hotel or to the airport.

General information about the tour

Price: inquire with us

The price of the trip includes:

  • Tent, mattress, blankets and pillow
  • All transfers (including airport transfers)
  • Flights AlgiersDjanetAlgiers
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Own cook and all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Bottle water
  • Visa invitation letter
  • Hotel nights if you wish, or at least a shower before your return flight

Not included in the price:

  • Own sleeping bag
  • International flights
  • Visa (Visa on arrival for Sahara is free at Algiers airport)
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal expenses, such as souvenirs and tips

NOTE: The final price depends on whether there are one, two or 13 participants.The trip is mainly on foot over rough terrain and involves some climbing, so participants should be at least moderately fit. We recommend packing light and choosing a soft suitcase. You should bring good, sturdy shoes, such as hiking boots, a headgear, sunglasses, sunscreen, wet wipes, a torch and a powerbank, or preferably several if you like to take lots of photos. Warm clothing is also necessary in the evenings and at night in winter and well into spring.