Tindouf (Arabic: تندوف) is a town in the Saharan Algeria, near the border with Western Sahara. Due to a large Sahrawi population living in the refugee camps surrounding the town, Tindouf is as close as most can get to a geniune (and a politicized) Sahrawi culture, since the "Free Zone" of Western Sahara led by Polisario remains inaccessible behind a border barrier and large minefields, which seperate it from the Moroccan-occupied parts of the territory.


Tindouf is home to 160,000 people, out of which only 60,000 are native Algerians, the rest being Sahrawis inhabiting the camps (more than twice or even three times the whole population of the Free Zone of Western Sahara). These camps, and the larger Tindouf area, constitute the base of Polisario, a nationalist Sahrawi organization that has been fighting for an independent Western Sahara (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, in their official parlance) for decades, with tacit approval from Algeria.

Get in

  Tindouf Airport (IATA: TIN) lies about 10 km northwest of the town. It is served by domestic flights of the national carrier Air Algérie from main centres of northern Algeria such as Algiers, Oran, and Constantine.

There are some reports that driving all the way to Tindouf (once in a lifetime experience!) involves crossing several checkpoints of the Algerian military, where you will almost certainly be stopped, and asked for a document permitting you to travel in the region.


If you are considering to visit the refugee camps, either go there during one of the events below, when the organizers will arrange trips or get in touch with the Polisario, who are unofficially in charge of the camps.


Spanish actress Verónica Forqué flying the flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic during the 2007 edition of the festival

Possibly the easiest way to visit the region is to attend one of the above events. The fees are per participant and include registration, a return flight from Europe (out of and into Madrid, in both cases), Algerian visa, local transportation, accommodation with Sahrawi families, and most other daily necessities (meals and drinks).

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 04, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.