In Love with the African Coastline

Le parc archéologique de Tipaza

I am from Tipaza, born and bred, and can attest to the fact that it’s a very unique city. It is steeped in history and attracts many tourists because of the Roman ruins that can be found everywhere. Most of its warm-hearted and good-natured citizens live a simple but honorable life working in the fields. It is a safe city for outsiders to boot.

Every year, I invite a friend of mine to spend summer vacation in my city with me and my family. A very dear friend of mine came to visit me this year. His name is Omar alHalbi, and he is a Syrian athlete whom I met at the Grand Cycling Tour of Algeria some years ago. When I invited him, he thanked me warmly for the opportunity I was offering to learn more about Tipaza, its surrounding flora and fauna, and its people, because as he told me, he had fallen in love with the city when he had first stayed in it during the tour. Unfortunately, he could only vacation with us for two weeks, since he is a professional rider and is very busy training for the several international cycling races in which he has to compete as his country’s representative.

On the first day of his stay, I took him to visit the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, which lies not too far away from the city of Tipaza. It’s where Cleopatra Selene II and her husband, Juba II, are buried. The monument is located amidst a forest in the region of Sidi Rached, which is known for its breathtaking mountainous landscapes. The air there is pure and helps clear the mind. After reveling in raw nature for a while, we decided to descend to the beach. The coastline around these parts entices visitors from all over the world to swim in its crystal clear waters, which shimmer turquoise in the sunlight.

Before we started our downward climb, Omar pointed a finger at the beach that had already caught his eye from our location. That was where he felt like going to, so there we headed. We got into the car and drove to the Corniche of Chenoua, which is girdled by mountains teeming with trees and boasts golden sand beaches. Its green and yellow landscapes can hardly be found anywhere else in the world, making the Corniche of Chenoua an excellent place to spend time by the sea and just be in clover.

The next day, we visited the Ruins of Roman Tipasa, which lie facing the big blue sea and stretch over a vast area. I wanted Omar to learn how our Roman ancestors used to organize themselves in order to cope with the struggles of everyday life back then. It was amazing to see their residences and public buildings still standing today after all the centuries that have past. We are fortunate that the structures allow us to catch a glimpse of the Roman way of life. In fact, we found the beauty of their sanctuaries with mosaic-tiled floors to be especially striking.

Before returning home, I recalled that my sister had warned me not to let Omar leave without getting a taste of some of the crops that grow in the region. In order to have him try fruit picked directly from a tree, I took him to meet a friend of mine who owns a piece of land. As was to be expected given how fertile the soil is in this neck of the woods, the fresh fruit tasted like manna from Heaven.

Visibly blissed out, Omar told me, “Tipaza is not just any city. It is certainly the whole package.”

“I know,” I said. “Considering it has an exceptionally rich heritage of historic buildings, scrumptious regional products, and magnificent sun-drenched beaches, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the hottest tourist destinations ever. Ancient culture, superb food, nice people—you name it! We’ve got it all!”

Much to his dismay, Omar alHalbi’s summer vacation quickly drew to an end, and he had to return home. I hope someone else will be able to visit me next year to discover this great city I call home.


Written by Islam Badji.

Choose your own adventure

To my mind, there is only one downside to having Heaven on earth:

a) There won’t be a hell of a lot you can do, because there will always be too much at stake and no need for change.

b) How do you appreciate it if you have nothing to compare it to?