Capital Algiers

Population Approximately 25 million Preliminary note on Algeria

The inclusion of Algeria when current advice is to avoid visiting the country may appear contradictory. There are good reasons for its inclusion.

1. This book is designed not only for planned visits, but for emergencies in the event of breakdown or severe weather: the latter becoming a more common occurrence in the Mediterranean, even in summer. Algeria has a long coastline providing the most direct route from the Straits of Gibraltar to many destinations in the Mediterranean. No publication on North Africa would be complete without this stretch being covered. Even with the long bureaucratic clearing procedures, a visit may be preferable to staying at sea in some circumstances.

2. Algeria offers some of the most beautiful anchorages and interesting places to visit. It is hoped that the political situation will change, even within the lifetime of this pilot, and that Algeria will again be opened up for the yachting community in much the same way as Turkey was suddenly opened up in the early 1980's following a political change from military rule.

Please see warning note on page 112 for more information on visiting.


Algeria is the second largest country in Africa and half the size of Europe. 85% of its territory lies in the Sahara Desert and the majority of its population lives in the green and fertile land bordering the Mediterranean. Two mountain ranges run parallel to the coast: the Tell Atlas which is a continuation of the Moroccan Middle Atlas and the Sahara Atlas which marks the transition into desert. Before the recent civil war, Algeria had the highest per capita income of all the Maghreb countries. Although the Algerian Mediterranean coastline holds great potential for tourism, it remains undeveloped, apart from a very small number of coastal towns which were once frequented by French Society tourists.

The current troubles, a result of an experiment in démocratisation, mean that at present (Summer 2004) Algeria is difficult, though not impossible, to visit.

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