Algeria is bigger than Western Europe. North to south, Algeria covers nearly 18 degrees of latitude. At 60 nautical miles to the degree, that makes around 1240 statute miles or just about 2000km. In 2007 the UN-quoted population was 33.9 million. 

‘This is is not a guide or a pretty-picture book. It is a personal account with a strong message at the end. To get the feel of Algeria and the context of the book – and the Sahara – there is a little, first, on the non-wilderness. The places against which to compare the majesty of the remote areas. A visual skim through a few of the human bolt-holes, the towns and settlements. Then a glimpse of some of the people I was privileged to meet. And the transport, the weather, water, trees – the constituents, the tools that create, nurture and perfect the wonder of the wild places.

‘Some of the photographs are 30 years old but most of the images were gathered over an eight-year period in which I was able to make seven expeditions to remote regions in the Algerian Sahara. I travelled in solitude, awe, wonder and supreme contentment, spiritually and mentally uplifted, feeling sometimes like the first man on earth, utterly at peace. Here the planet, sufficiently stern to keep all but the most appreciative at bay. Here, for now, unspoiled by man’s casual degradation of his environment through the tyranny of excess, greed, acquisition and the mindless growth of population. And here, where less is so much more, a land hewn by wind, weather and the almost ungraspable sculpture of geomorphology and time itself.

‘The United States was the first country to establish nature reserves, but is not resting on its laurels. In March 2009 President Obama designated a further two million acres for protection. Algeria’s wilderness – unique and arguably even more majestic – must be similarly defined, protected and preserved.’