Algeria is a country in North Africa which is definitely worth a visit. The Mediterranean Sea is to the east and Tunisia to the northeast. Algeria also borders Morocco to the west, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali to the southwest. Libya lies on its eastern border, along with Niger in the southeast.
Algeria has been through several empires and dynasties. Berbers are the indigenous people. After North Africa’s conquest by the Arab, the nation’s inhabitants became Arabized. Since then, most people identify as Arabs rather than Berbers. Both Turks and Andalusians also make up a large part of the population.
THINGS TO DO
Be sure to visit the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites located here. These include such famous sites as the following: Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, Tipasa, Djémila, Timgad, M’Zab Valley, and the Casbah of Algiers. The Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range is the only natural world heritage site.
Algeria remains undiscovered yet. There are several places to go to, but the first choice is Timgad. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Timgad is a Roman ruin which has over 200 mosaics, Great Baths, Theatre, and Fort. The entrance fee is DA200.
Djemila is the second, and it is also a Roman ruin. This little Roman town has an old street lined with markets, and you can breeze through the site in half a day. The entrance fee here is just DA80. Do have a look at the temple, theater, and prison.
Hippone or also called the Hippo Regius is in Annaba. It was once a water-front Roman city with olive trees and villas. Now the water has retreated several hundred meters, and you can see the Basilica de Saint Augustine looming over the city. It is open till 7 in the evening during summer. And the entry fee is DA60.
Tipasa Archaeological Park is also the same as the Roman sites and opens at 9 AM. A Tour of the site will give you a glimpse of the remains of the town Tipaza once was. The shell of an amphitheater, basilicas, Tombs and Great baths set among the gorgeous shoreline make it worth a visit.
There is another museum called Cherchell in Cherchell. The best thing about this museum is its collection of mosaics has a scene of Odysseus. You need to check before visiting the museum as it was under renovation.
WHEN TO GO
Algeria is in the Saharan region which makes the summer heat unbearable. Daytime temperature reaches 45-50 degree Celsius. But during the night time, it becomes as low as 5 degree Celsius.
As you will do all the sightseeing g during the morning, we advise you dodge traveling in summer and visit during winter. Visit before April, because after that the temperature starts becoming uncomfortable.
The official currency is Dinar. The approximate exchange rate is DZD112 for US$1. There aren’t a lot of facilities to exchange currency in Algeria. You can do it in the branches of the national bank and some major hotels. Credit cards are accepted only in urban areas. Also, paying in cash is preferable. There are only two or three ATMs available in Algiers, and they are unreliable.
ELECTRICITY AND PLUG TYPE
The electric sockets in the country are of types C and F, as in Europe. The standard voltage is 230V.
RENTING Vs TAXI, BUS, TRAIN
It is not advised to use public transport, except for licensed taxis. Car rental is available at the airport and in most towns. Also, the hotel can arrange this for you. However, driving in Algeria is not for the fainthearted. Also, it is not advisable driving in the desert.
The predominant religion of Algeria is Islam. 99% of the population claim to practice it. The official language of the country is Modern Standard Arabic. However, the majority of the population uses Algerian Arabic in everyday life. The Berber language has been known only as a “national language” until 2016 when it was recognized as a second official language. Although French has no official status, it is also widely used in all spheres of life. In fact, Algeria is the second largest country by the number of French-speakers.
For years, Algeria struggled with a stagnant tourism industry. There simply weren’t enough facilities to support a high volume of interest. However, in 2004 it began to flourish. A broad tourism development strategy paid off. Construction began on high-standard hotels, and visitors have been pouring in ever since.
WHAT TO WEAR
As Algeria is a Muslim country, you need to dress conservatively. By that we mean – no crop tops or off shoulder dresses. You can wear t-shirts with full sleeves and wear ankle length dresses.
The cities are much more liberal, and you can pass wearing long sleeves, but in the villages, you also need to put on a head scarf. The winter temperatures are surprisingly low, so you need warm clothing and waterproof clothing if you are visiting in autumn. Rain might be rare, but you ought to be prepared.
FREE Wi-Fi AND SIM CARDS
Most of the airports in Algeria have Free Wi-Fi services. So, you will have no problem sending an “ I reached “ email or message to your loved ones. Hotels in Algeria also provide Free Wi-Fi services. Make sure you ask them the password so that you can use the free services.
Onesimcard is a service that helps you stay connected as soon as you reach the airport. You can buy sim cards at the airport. But it is better if you already have a Onesimcard with you on you unlocked GSM phone. The call rates are okay, but the internet charges are whooping. You are lucky if your hotel provides you Free Wi-Fi.
The Algerian cuisine has a French and Greek touch to it. You will see Baklava in your menu a lot- this Balkan dish is a treat made of Almond cakes dipped in honey.
Mechoui is a smoky lamb which is grilled. Couscous is also a main dish and is served with meat and potatoes.
Even though Algeria is a Muslim country, it produces high-quality wine and beer. Getting hold of it in cafes or restaurant is hard. Do not ask a local about a wine shop because they can get deeply offended. Find it for yourself or buy one at the airport.
All the major cities are connected by air service to Algiers. Air Algerie provides flights to and fro Algiers to and major city. If the cities are at a small distance, then it is better to take a taxi rather than book an air ticket. Let the driver not fool you- pay only 30 DA /Km.
If you book a standard room, then it may cost you $50/night. And if you survive on kebab only your cost on food will just be $5 a day but if you want something more than keeping $15 aside. A car and a driver a day in Algeria cost you $70, but it is a good way to do the sightseeing. So $140/ day is an expanded version of cost in Algeria.
HOW MANY DAYS TO VISIT ALGERIA
An eight-day trip is more than enough to visit the important sites in Algeria. Many people make a combined trip of Algiers, Annaba, Oran. You can visit Timimoun, Bachar and other nearby places but you need to extend your time here a little.
In the last years, the road conditions of Algeria improved leaps and bounds. New highways are now constructed instead of the old marod roads. But the driving norms here are different than the western countries. So, it is better you let a local driver behind the wheel.
RIGHT OR LEFT DRIVING
The Algerians drive on the right-hand side of the road, unlike the other Eastern countries. You need an international driving permit as well as your driver’s license (from home country). Driving age in Algeria is only 17 years, and the speed limit is 80 KM/H for beginners.
HOW TO REACH
Visa is mandatory for citizens of all countries except for ones coming from Yemen, Mauritania, Libya, Malaysia, Seychelles, Tunisia, and Morocco. The cheapest way of reaching Algiers from the US, is to fly via London or Paris. Those who fly from the UK can fly via Madrid or Barcelona to cut the charges.
WHERE TO STAY
There are luxurious rooms which might cost $200/ day and there are also rooms for budget travelers which cost $45v / day. You can book your stay online. There are also houses and cottages for rent during the summer season. You can book these deals through a tour agency or a friend.
HOW SAFE IS ALGERIA
Terrorism is rampant in Southern Algeria, so do not travel to southern parts at any cost. Do not drive on minor roads after dark. You can take flights to the main cities and avoid driving in the dark altogether.
The drinking water is also not safe. So you can buy bottled water which cost only 30 DA. Eating at restaurants will not guarantee good food. So, pack some medicines for food poisoning.
Though it has a vast history to behold, its beautiful hotels also make traveling to Algeria a memorable experience. Explore both ancient and modern history of this marvelous country!
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July 12, 2016 12:00 am Leave your thoughts