Skip to main content
CNN.com
Search
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
Travel News
Budget Travel Online Real Deals Hotels & Lodging Airfare Strategies Road Trips

The Sahara: Dry but never boring

By Chris Scott
Budget Travel
Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

(Budget Travel Onlineexternal link) -- A wilderness of sun-baked plateaus, palm-fringed oases, and mesmerizing sand seas, the Sahara measures nearly 3.5 million square miles, and reaches into 10 countries. Of those, Niger and Libya arguably offer the most impressive scenery, while Morocco is attractive because of convenient flights, great cities like Marrakech, and the fact that U.S. citizens staying less than three months don't need visas.

To Morocco and beyond

Royal Air Maroc flies from Washington, D.C., and New York City to Marrakech starting at around $860 (800/344-6726, royalairmaroc.comexternal link). There are also daily direct flights from most major European cities, including London via low-fare EasyJet. Adventure Center offers many tours of Morocco, including Sahara Camel Trek (15 days from $970 per person) and Saharan Sands Family Holiday (eight days from $817), both of which come with camel rides and camping in the dunes of the Sahara (800/228-8747, adventurecenter.comexternal link).

Adventure Center runs several tours of the Libyan Sahara starting at $1,640 for 12 days. But entry rules for Libya have changed several times in recent years. Some Americans have followed the complex visa process only to have their visas cancelled on arrival for no apparent reason. Visiting now might be too risky.

Visas for Niger can be arranged through a tour operator or the embassy in D.C. (202/483-4224, nigerembassyusa.orgexternal link). Tours there, however, are pricy: Tucson-based Nomade Sahara Expedition has a 15-day, see-it-all Air-Tenere-Djado itinerary for $4,800 per person for two, or $3,600 if six are traveling together (520/572-9724, saharaexpedition.com). A charter flight from Paris is often the cheapest way to get to Niger; inquire with your tour operator about the details.

What to pack for a desert excursion

Tour operators make it easy by listing exactly what participants should bring, including a sweater -- the desert is cold at night. No special gear is required. Tents and cooking equipment are provided by guides, as are meals, which start with bread baked under embers in the hot sand. To protect yourself from the sun and wind, you could bring a hat and kerchief. Better yet, plan on buying a Tuareg turban, or cheche, when you arrive. It will really do the trick and makes for a fun souvenir; your guide can show you how to tie it.

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


© 2006. Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

Follow Related Topics

Search TopicE-mail Alerts

story.camels.jpg

Adventure Center runs a number of tours of the Sahara.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Career Builder.com
Quick Job Search
  More Options
International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more