An Algerian Pilgrimage

Posted On September 22, 2010 

Tamanrasset is the most southerly Saharan oasis in the Algerian region.

The clerk in this spot is a nice fellow who wouldn’t pause to smile at you with welcoming service. . Tamanrasset is the gateway to the desolate splendor of the Hoggar Mountains. This is an incredible moonscape of the rocky pines that raise even more than ten thousand feet above sea level. This all happens at the site of the hermitage where Pere Charles de Fauc, who was the French mystic and explorer. This person spent the last years of his life.

Tamanrasset Algeria

When you go all the way there it is all worthwhile. The sybaritic habits of these tourists who come here and at the end, they treat the trip like an adventure or even a pilgrimage. And this all could be rough.

The flight that is here in tam leaves at about five thirty in the morning. This is because the fare is the cheapest and there are always many ways by which you could have a reservation made. This round trip is almost two thousand miles and it would cost you about one hundred and seventy dollars.

The night porter who works at Aletti hotel in Algiers has no difficulty finding a taxi just shortly after four in the morning. Before the departure its almost dawn and at the departure lounge, the Algiers housary boumediene airport is full of young soldiers who carry kit bags and there are many executive in western suits and white robes. The travelers are all carrying boxes and bundles of all shapes. All of these are struggling to board planes all into the desert. The place just exudes confusion and this seems to increase as dawn approaches.  The earnestly playful, spread they praying mats right in front of the departure gates.

Once you on top, the airport and all the chaos are something that is well forgotten. And when the Boeing 737 starts moving along the run way on the way to Tam, you will notice the fertile coastal strip giving way to the snow streaked peaks of the Atlas Mountains.  Once this happens you get the orange haze of the desert.

The plane puts down every hour so that every oasis like Oulga and Beni Timourine, the desert world presses in closer. The soldier and businessmen in the passenger cabin are usually replaced with women who are heavily veiled and the tribesmen in the desert have turbans that tower like dollops of whipped cream.

The plane circles over the brown humps of the Hoggar mountains. These rise from the Saharan sand and get the half submerged bones of a huge colossal monster.  After all this the plane then lands on a small air strip which is on Tamanrasset Algeria. This is a city that is populated by around two thousand people.

This is place where people come to work as the pay is quite higher, but people don’t come here to live.  It is mostly a way station for people to go somewhere. The last stop point for people who are making the popular trek right across the expanse of the Sahara.

The sun is fierce and the air is pretty dry. All this stands high on the sandy plateau. He ringed by the many jagged mountains.  You get a passenger bus for about two and a half dollar. This old buss carried passenger for quite a few miles along the desert road.  The bus takes you all the way into the tree shaded streets with camels who tethered in the parking lots.  The bus finally leaves its passengers at the Tam Tahat which is the only hotel here. This place is a modern building which is constructed in the style of an old Arab fort. These are buildings that are almost on the edge of the Tamanrasset with sand dunes that are connected to its walls.

When the exterior of that is quite well done, then the Tam Tahat is almost proof that the modern American style hotels and house are not really transferred to the southern part of the Sahara desert. This is because there are tantalizing signs in the lobby that point the way to the swimming pool. This place was not built earlier as the water always seemed to be inadequate. The hotel bathrooms run almost dry by around nine in the evening.

This big hotel has big airy rooms with high ceilings and a few windows. These remain quite cool during most of the day.  The dining room is quite spacious and the chairs here are quite comfortable.

There are clean white clothes on the table. The guestroom is quite small and it has balconies with concrete sun breaks that keep the entire place pretty cool. There are shades which don’t even require air conditioning. These rooms though have needed some maintenance. Some of the lights here don’t work. The toilet seats here are also broken and sometimes they don’t even exist. There are wash basins which are cracked and stained as well.  The food here is simple and still adequate. the dining room  which serves lunch and dinner which includes salad , roast meat, fruits and wine costing about twenty dollars each per person. The rooms with balconies are for about forty dollars per night. This includes a double bath and an impressive view of the camel dormitory. The ships of the desert are moored for the night.

This hotel does not take credit cards and that is why paying them can be a problem since the hotels do not take credit cards.  They also refuse to take travelers checks.  There is a bank close by though. So if you run out of money. The hotel staff speaks French but not English.

There are many oases up north. Like the ghardaia, the ouragla and the touggourt which are old and these are often centers where the Islamic culture.


Check back here to find out more about the lovely land of Tamanrasset.

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