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Anyone been to Algeria lately? Need comments, tips...

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Hi there! I have a friend who wants to go to Algeria with a couple of friends later this year. After looking at the travel advisories, I'm a bit skeptical--especially in regards to her safety. I understand that the situation has improved over the past couple of years, but I really wanted to get a first-hand opinion from someone who has been there recently.

Any and all comments welcome. Thank you!

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    Well, it’s not recent, but I was in Algeria 2 years ago. I would not recommend it as a tourist destination!

    I was in the Tindouf area near the Moroccan border with a humanitarian group visiting the Western Sahara refugees.

    Where do your friends want to go? The desert regions are brutally hot during the day, and freezing at night. No water – where we were it had not rained in 5 years. Even in Algiers there are no ATM’s. Public transportation is horrible or non existant.

    Do your friends speak French? What passport are they under? If US, how do they plan to get a visa?

    I was detained at the airport (it was really a military base) while trying to depart. I am under US passport, but I was traveling with a group of Germans so they let me go. Not really too scary –just a control issue, which is their right.

    The strangest part was when they searched our luggage. Several of us had taken sand from the Sahara in a baggie as a souvenir. They made us put it back. Hey, it’s their country.

    I doubt if you will get any recent Algerian reports on this board. Try the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. Many intrepid travelers there.

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