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Grand Erg Occidentale

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The endless dunes

Unlike what many people believe, most of Sahara is not soft sand dunes only broken by a thriving oasis with a little blue lake in the centre. It is rocks and pebbles for thousands and thousands of miles,- it doesn't make as good photos as the sand dunes, so therefore less attention.
When however, Sahara becomes real endless sand dunes, this is a specific natural phenomenon called erg. The Grand Erg Occidental is the second largest of the two dominating ergs of Algeria (there are several, altogether), and as there is no way any human life could be sustained here, no villages are found inside it, no roads crossing through it. The experience of it, will be from the fringe, most of the time from a distance, other times it will be feasible to make long enough walks into it, to really get feeling of solitude and inferiority compared to the powers of nature.
Of the cities that makes excursions into the erg possible, Taghit, Beni Abbes, Timimoun, and El-Golea are counted for being among the most beautiful oases of Algeria.

Eat and Sleep
This is a problem, check for the city you use as a base camp.

Buses and taxis run frequently between cities. But you should be careful about trying to get off it isolated places, planning to jump on another bus or taxi later on.

By Tore Kjeilen