Algeria Travel Notes

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Canadian Embassy

Australia does not have government representation in Algeria; all consular assistance is provided by the Canadian Embassy

18, Mustapha Khalef Street
Ben Aknoun, Algiers
Algeria

Tel +213 0770 08 30 00
Fax +213 0770 08 30 70
www.canadainternational.gc.ca

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers:
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Algeria is on Greenwich Mean Time +1 hour making them 9 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. When Australia is on daylight saving time Algeria is 10 hours behind AEST. Algeria does not observe daylight savings. To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Algeria uses 220-240 volts. Plugs are of the two-round-pronged European type.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

The Algirian official currency is the Dinar (DZD/AD), which is made up of 100 centimes.
Coins are available in 1 dinar; 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 centimes
Notes are available in 1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50 dinar

 

Credit Cards and ATMs

Access to ATMs is extremely limited and only in Algiers. They should not be relied on at all when travelling throughout Algeria.

Please note that using a credit card in foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Cash

Foreign currency is not accepted in most shops, however if you are planning on a larger purchase (eg. a rug) then US dollars are preferred. You cannot purchase Algerian Dinar prior to arrival in Algiers.  Currency can be exchanged at the airport and larger hotels (Euro and US dollars). Do not change money in the street; it is not safe. Please make sure you take smaller denominations and new notes.
Traveller’s cheques are NO LONGER accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in Algeria and coverage is generally good. There may be limited access in the mountainous areas. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank, because calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is widespread and generally works well throughout the country. However, it is not always available and it may not work in remote areas. Many hotels and cafés offer access; in some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have web access while travelling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafés throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Algeria

Offices  08.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 – 17.00 Saturday to Wednesday.
Banks   08.00 – 15.00 Saturday to Wednesday.
Shops   09.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 19.00 Saturday to Thursday. A limited amount of shops open on a Friday. Opening hours will vary in smaller towns.

Personal Safety
  • We recommend you drink only bottled water. Tap water is not recommended.
  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance). Keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel where you are staying. This can be of great assisstance if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate; otherwise  you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room.
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. You should avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a raincoat or a waterproof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest:

  • Day pack- The site visits often involve walking on cobbled streets and uneven ground, up numerous steps and may be of extended duration. You will want to have your hands free to hold rails or steady yourself as applicable and we recommend you carry a day pack for your ancillary items: camera, torch, waterproof, sunhat, sun cream, bottled water (provided), sunglasses, etc.
  • comfortable walking shoes are very important (Hiking boots not required).  Sandals and open shoes are only suitable for evenings.
  • sunglasses (there can be considerable glare), sunscreen and a hat (a must).
  • alarm clock or phone alarm.
  • travel torch – this is essential!
  • folding umbrella and/or waterproof, windproof jacket.
  • fleece or pullover:  It can be cold in the mornings / evenings and you do travel to medium altitude where the temperatures  vary.
  • toilet paper, wet wipes and  hand sanitiser (see note below – Toilets).
  • camera:  Please take all necessary equipment/spares with you as there are limited options to purchase additional supplies while on tour.
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites.
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required).
  • any reading material; English books are not readily available.
  • a travel jug.

Toilets:   Once you have left your hotel, the toilets will be a mixture of squat & European style, with NO toilet paper supplied.  There is also no soap provided.

Travelling with Medication

  • Talk to your doctor or a travel medicine specialist and discuss both the prescription and over-the-counter medicines that you will need to take with you; take only those required for personal use.
  • Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting to ensure the medicine is legal there.
  • Carry a letter from your doctor with your prescription medicines. The letter should include the name of the medicine, how much you are taking or sending, and state that the medicine is for your personal use.
  • All medicines should be kept in their original container displaying your name and dosage requirements. They should be carried in hand luggage to prevent their loss.

Because a prescription from your doctor here cannot be filled overseas, and familiar over-the-counter medicines may not be available in foreign countries, it is also important to carry an adequate supply for the entire trip, plus some extra in case of travel disruption or delay. Some medications, such as those containing Codeine 30mg or strong painkillers, even when obtained on a legal prescription in Australia, should not be transported across international boundaries unless they are accompanied by a customs clearance from the country concerned. You must apply to the appropriate consulate or embassy for this.

Etiquette
  • No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone; they may try to obtain money from you.
  • Handshaking is the normal form of greeting.
  • Women tend to be less retiring than in nearby Muslim countries, and can usually dress in normal western-style clothing (especially in the capital), although female visitors should avoid wearing short skirts (they must be below the knee) and shorts. The M’Zab valley is far more conservative that other areas and travellers will have to be mindful of this.
  • Due to the nature of the terrain covered on this tour you will find it most comfortable to wear trousers during the day. This also applies to managing toilet facilities where squat toilets are common.
  • Men should wear long trousers only.
  • Tipping is expected in large city restaurants, coffee shops, taxis etc – the expected amount is 10%.

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress code, women may be required to wear a head and shoulder covering (i.e. a scarf) at religious sites. T-shirts are permitted apparel, however they must cover your shoulders (no singlet-type T-shirts). Men cannot wear shorts and must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Useful websites

Algerian Tourist Board
www.algeria.com/
www.worldtravelguide.net/algeria

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com or www.weather-finder.com 

The climate in Algeria differs according to region.

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Algiers 12/20 11/19 11/19 15/23 19/26 25/31 27/34 26/33 23/31 20/30 14/22 11/19
Constantine 5/17 5/17 5/17 12/25  17/29 22/33  26/37 23/35 19/31 16/28  8/20 6/15
Ghardaia 10/18 10/20 12/23 19/30 24/34 28/38 31/39 30/38 27/36 22/31 13/21 10/16
Timimoun 12/20 14/23 16/26 24/34 28/37 32/41 34/44 33/42 31/40 26/33 17/24 12/18
Tlemsen 10/21 9/20 8/20 12/24  17/28 23/33  25/36 24/36 21/33 17/30 12/22 9/19