Chris Scott provides Matthew Traver with some good advice on travelling the Sahara.

Matthew Traver » ExplorerWeb »

Mauritania: Good security for at least 400km east, inland from the Atlantic Coast. Provinces near the Mali border, such as Adrar, Tagant, Hodh El Gharbi and Hodh Ech Chargui, may be less safe.

Western Sahara: Travel and access along the N1 Atlantic Route, running down the Atlantic Coast, is easy and safe. Expect a few military checkpoints.

Tunisia: Avoid the Libyan border zones and the far south, which is a military area.

Algeria: “In Algeria, only a relatively small region –- the Tadrart mountain range, in the province of Illizi –- is open to off-highway travel,” says Scott.

Mali: North of Timbuktu is off-limits: It’s the Sahara’s hotspot for trafficking and terror-related activity.

Niger: The Aïr Mountains and the Ténéré Desert, which stretches beyond Agadez and into western Chad, are worth visiting.

Libya: North Africa’s most dangerous country.

Chad: The mountains of northern Chad’s Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region (a.k.a. BET) is a highlight of the Sahara and open to visitors.

Sudan: Traveling east of the Nile is not much of an issue. But the further west you go from the Nile (especially for the Darfur region), the more you require permits.

Egypt: Its western deserts are a highlight, particularly the Gilf region, which covers Uweinat to the south and the Great Sand Sea to the north. However, there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved in accessing the area, and you need to be prepared to dive through “a series of flaming hoops for several months and pay a lot of money to various entities,” says [Chris] Scott.

His parting words of wisdom for any would-be desert explorer: “[Go with a] GPS, maps, sat phone and a sound plan, which will almost certainly not pan out as expected. Risks are much less if you don’t travel alone. Fuel is distance; water is time; carry more than you need of both.”

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This page was last updated on 2020.08.07