Location: The Chaamba Bedouin live in the central area of Algeria, in the regions known as El Golea and El Oued. These regions lie on the northern edge of the African Sahara Desert.
Social Systems: The Bedouin fall into two basic social classes. One class is known as the "true" Bedouin, and they live as nomadic shepherds. The other group has embraced farming and is known as the fellahin. The fellahin lead a more settled life on the edge of the desert. In contrast, the "true" Bedouin have been known for raiding any caravans that cross their paths while journeying across barren deserts. They move into the desert during the rainy winter seasons and back to the desert's edge during the hot, dry summers.
Most of the Chaamba Bedouin are of the fellahin type and live in the fertile regions bordering the desert. They speak Badawi, or as it is more commonly called, Bedouin Arabic. In general, the Bedouin have a relatively harsh existence. Those who live as nomads have no permanent homes, but live in portable, black tents made from woven, goat hair. The tents are divided by a decorative partition called a gata. Half of the tent is for the women, children, cooking utensils, and storage. The other half contains a fireplace and is used for entertaining. The women do most of the work, while the men socialize and make plans for the group.
Dairy products are the main food source for the Bedouin. Milk from camels and goats is made into yogurt and a type of butter called ghee. Most of their meals consist of a bowl of milk, yogurt, or rice covered with ghee. Round loaves of unleavened bread are also served when available. Dates, which can be found in desert oases, are eaten for dessert. Meat is only served on special occasions such as marriage feasts, ceremonial events, or when guests are present.
To endure the extreme heat of the desert, the Bedouin wear lightweight, light-colour clothing. It is very loose-fitting, allowing for the circulation of air. It is designed to cover the entire body except the face, hands, and feet.
Although the Bedouin once considered it degrading to have manual labour jobs, this has changed somewhat in recent years. Due to the need for better health conditions, more money, and better living conditions, some have accepted wage-paying jobs. However, most of them still despise this type of work.
Religion: Almost 100% of the Bedouin in Algeria are Malikite Muslims.