Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Algeria

Africa Apr 19, 2021
Population: 43.05 million (2019)
Capital: Algiers
Languages: Arabic, French
Unit of currency: Algerian Dinar (DA)

Algeria's beauty surpasses its neighbours

Unlike most other North African countries, Algeria has yet to sell its soul to the god of tourism. This even if its attractions, the astonishing Roman cities, landscapes and oases of Saharan legend, actually surpass those of its more famous neighbours. And the Algerians themselves, being sophisticated, gregarious, eager to engage with the world, may be just most misunderstood people of North Africa.

You probably already know that some parts of the country are off limits and walking into your local travel agent and asking for tours to Algeria will still draw blank looks. But therein lies Algeria's charm. This is a largely safe, edgy destination that few people in the world know anything about. Now is the time to go, before that changes.

Image by manil_tebibel from Pixabay
The violent past

Algerians do not like talking about the past, which is hardly surprising when you consider that the country tore itself apart from 1994 until 2002 in a battle for the soul of Algeria. The political violence pitted islamic militants against everyone else.  Algeria was sealed off from the outside world, civilians were killed, every Algerian who could fled into exile and tourists stayed away in fear for their lives.


For most Algerians, the simple pleasures the rest of us take for granted, a coffee in a French-style sidewalk cafe in Algiers, travelling around their own country without fearing for their lives, feel like being able to breath again.

Memorable events and festivals

The Fête du Tapis, that takes place in March/April in Ghardaïa, is a carpet festival set in one of Algeria's best markets. It draws people from all over the country.

Tamanrasset's Le Tafsit, that takes place at the end of April, is a celebration of Tuareg culture, with camel races in Algeria's deep south.

Oran's Festival National de la Chanson du Rai d'Oran, in August, showcases home-grown rai, Orans's soundtrack and one of the best sounds in the world music.

Don't miss out
  • Exploring the Hoggar Mountains by 4WD on an epic Saharan expedition
  • Getting up close to the millennia old rock art in the Tassili N'Ajjer
  • Dune skiing in the Grand Erg Oriental, the world's largest sand sea
  • Searching for the spirit of Albert Camus in the Roman city of Djemila
  • Losing yourself in the labyrinth that is the Casbah of Algiers
Tassili N'Ajjer - Image by Raimund Andree from Pixabay
Djemila - Image by Djamel RAMDANI from Pixabay
autre angle de jardins d'essais d'el Hamma
Algiers - Photo by nasro azaizia / Unsplash
What are the Algerians on the street thinking?

Check out the country's most popular music genre - rai. Meaning, "state an opinion", rai music, with its danceable rhythms buoyed by synthesisers and drum machines, is the perennial soundtrack of Algerian life.  Rai's staples are betrayal and exile, lust and love - an earthy, bittersweet cocktail which made being a rai performer downright dangerous during the country's civil war when those rai superstars not killed by the Islamic conservatives were forced into exile.

With peace more or less restored, rai has travelled a long way: from 1930s Oran to the dancefloors of Paris, then back to recolonise its own country.

Random facts
  • Most of Western Europe would fit within Algeria's borders
  • Algiers is closer to Paris than it is to Tamanrasset
  • 90% of Algeria is engulfed by the Sahara Desert
  • Famous "Frenchmen" born in Algeria include: Albert Camus, Yves Saint Laurent and Zinedine Zidane.
Ending with the most bizarre sight

If the Unesco World Heritage, listed Tassili N'Ajjer Nation Park is the Louvre of Saharan rock art, then the carving known as 'La Vache qui Pleure' translated as 'The Cow that Cries' at Tagharghart is its Mona Lisa: an enigmatic masterpiece.


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