El Kef Travel Guide

  • The view back to town
    The view back to town
    by Orchid
  • Kasbah entrance
    Kasbah entrance
    by Orchid
  • The guardian of the Kasbah
    The guardian of the Kasbah
    by Orchid

El Kef Things to Do

  • Visit the Kasbah

    At the top of the town, the castle-like Kasbah, with its crenelated battlements stands guard over the town.There are shady cypress trees near the gate, so if it is closed, sit, wait and catch the breezes. The guardian will turn up soon.Apparently begun by the Byzantines in the 6th century, using roman building materials, the fort was added to by...

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  • Roman Baths & springs

    The reason why the town is here in the first place is due to these springs which can be found right in its centre. The springs supplied water to the nearby Roman baths which feature a hexagonal hall as well as the cisterns.

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  • Church of St Peter

    This very early church was first built as far back as the 4th century and has been restored since. It was built on the sire of a Pagan temple during Roman times and features a large naive, two side aisles and an apse which was added in Byzantine times, even though I couldn't get inside.

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  • Al-Ghriba Synagogue

    I think this is the synagogue but I wasn't too sure. Anyway, Le Kef had a thriving Jewish community and this building is all that remains of their culture even though it lies in the middle of the former Jewish quarter. I couldn't get inside but you be able to find someone who has the key if you ask around.

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  • Grand Fort

    The Grand Fort lies just behind the Petit Fort and was first built by Mohammed Pasha in 1679 before being enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was used until recently as a barracks by both the French and Tunisians and even today is used to house a large TV/radio ariel, given its dominance over the surrounding area.

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  • Petit Fort

    The Petit Fort (Small Fort) was built in 1601 and was the first part of the Kasbah to be built. It commands the best views over the town if you walk along its upper part and is protected by four corner towers.

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  • Views from the Kasbah

    The views from the Kasbah are stunning as you get to see virtually the whole town plus a view over the grainfields in the distance.

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  • Kasbah

    The Turkish Kasbah in Le Kef was built by Mohammed Bey of Algiers in 1679 on Byzantine foundations, using stone from ancient buildings. Much altered in subsequent centuries, it was used until recently as a barracks by both the French and Tunisians. The Kasbah contains two forts - a small one built in 1601 and a larger one built in 1679 but there...

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  • Great Mosque

    In front of the Kasbah is the former Great Mosque, Djemaa el Kebir, built in the 8th century on the site of an earlier building thought to have been a Basilique. The Basilique may have been built in the 4th century as some sort of storage depot for precious items such as silver and grain. It was turned into a church by the Byzantines before...

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  • Zouia of Sidi Abdallah Boumakhlouf

    This gleaming white buildings was built at the beginning of the 17th century and features cupolas and a 19th century octagonal minaret. It was named after the town's Fez-born patron saint who, along with his family, is buried here. Unfortunately, I couldn't get inside as there was some kind of celebration going on outside.

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  • Old French Barracks

    The Kasbah was used, until recently, as a barracks by the French and their buildings are still in evidence lying just to the north of the Kasbah itself. The barracks were then used by the Tunisian army who were based here until 1992. You get a good view of them if you climb up on the Grand Forts roof.

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  • Roman Cisterns

    If you exit out of the town's only surviving gate, you'll come across remnants of the vast underground Roman cisterns each measuring 11m/36ft by 6m/20ft.

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  • Old Town walls

    The old town walls stretch roughly for a kilometre along the rocky slope to the north of the town and incorporate the Kasbah which commands a dominate presence over the town. The towns only surviving gate, out of the original five built, is the Bab Ghedive which gives access to Christian and Muslim cemeteries and some underground Roman cisterns.

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  • Musee des Arts et Traditions Populaires

    This museum is located near the northern end of the town near the wall and is housed in the Zaouia of Sidi ben Aissa which was built in 1784. The exhibits include traditional costumes, brides dresses and jewellery including some heavy silver necklesses weighing 1.5-2kg!, a Berber nomads tent, everyday objects, domestic pottery, woven fabrics and...

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  • Museum of Popular Arts

    This is another museum which is as worthwhile for the building itself as it is for any particular exhibit. Housed in an eighteenth century zaouia, its cool harmonious interiors and courtyards are an excellent example of islamic architecture's handling of space.

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  • Sidi Bou Makhlouf Mosque

    Although non-muslims can't enter, Sidi Bou Makhlouf is one of the most impressive small mosques in Tunisia, painted a glaring white with two unusual domes. Right next to the mosque is Le Kef's best cafe, also named Sid Bou Makhlouf, which has the best atmosphere, traditional decor inside, and seats in the pleasant square outside during the day....

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  • Walk around town

    Once you've seen the sights listed above, spend the rest of your time exploring the stairways and alleyways of the old town. You can't really get lost, as Le Kef is only a small town; from any point, head downwards and sooner or later you'll find yourself at the bottom on Avenue Bourguiba. Things to look out for include a brick church dating from...

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  • Remains of Sicca Veneria

    Le kef is an ancient town, standing on the site of the Carthaginian city Sicca. When the Romans arrived, they kept the name Sicca and added Veneria, presumaly because it was quite a major centre in a spectacular position. Little remains nowadays, although you can see a few traces of Sicca Veneria down by the Hotel La Source. On rue la Source,...

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El Kef Restaurants

  • I'd call it a bar, frankly.

    This restaurant is on the ground floor of the eponymous hotel; And, as I've said above, I'd call it a bar. Odd, since the hotel also has a bar attached. Four or five tables of men drinking beer and watching football on a wide-screen TV. I did see the odd plate of food being served, but not that many. Not that there was any overt drunkeness or bad...

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  • Barely passable food

    After walking around the town for a while during the afternoon and not really finding anywhere that looked all that good to eat at, I found this place near to where I was staying that looked OK from the outside. The food is very cheap and I had lambs liver and a coke for TD7 with some kind of beans as an appitiser. There's also a good looking...

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  • Great lamb chops!

    Laminex tables, photocopied menus, and lovely thick tender lamb chops.Do not order the roast chicken - stick to the lamb chops Grilled lamb chops

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El Kef Nightlife

  • friendly natives

    Yes I agree-not many tourists in le Kef-and that is part of the charm. What you will find there is some fabulous accommodation ,if you fancy a fabulous, though not expensive bed try www.dar-boumakhlouf.com.also the people are so friendly. The young man who I asked for directions who worked in sicca vineria not only phoned my accommodation, took me...

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  • Fairly raucous drinking spot

    Nightlife? Here in Le Kef? Good luck finding any! All there seems to be are a few dead end bars which seem to close early. Your only "real" option is to try the Hotel Sicca Veneria (where I spent the night) where there's a bar area with lots of large wooden tables and quite a few drunken locals watching TV. Warning, I wouldn't go in here if I was a...

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  • Cafe Sidi Bou Makhlouf and others

    Nightlife in Le Kef, like in much of Tunisia, revolves around the many cafes. The nicest during the daytime is definitely Cafe Sidi Bou Makhlouf, by the mosque of the same name, high up in the old town, and at night it also a very nice place to sip coffee or smoke a chicha. You can watch the sunset, then move inside (if it is cold...it was in...

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El Kef Transportation

  • Getting anywhere but to Tunis!

    We found getting here really easy - catch the train from Tunis to Jendouba, out of the station and a quick trip to the bus station and a bus was waiting to take us to El Kef. Easy also to get to Terbersouk (for Dougga) - lots of daily bussesGetting to Sousse was a liittle more complicated. We had been told that a bus was due to leave at noon,...

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  • Louages to and from Le Kef

    The louage and bus stations lie close to each other down in the new town. Just head downhill on one of the roads from Place de l"independence, and you'll find it. Coming from the louage station, head uphill until you reach a junction, then turn right and follow the road to get to Place de l"Independence, which isn't really a square at all, but more...

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  • El Kef Hotels

    0 Hotels in El Kef

El Kef Local Customs

  • aliante1981's Profile Photo

    by aliante1981 Written Jan 6, 2004

    Many Asian and African countries, including Egypt, are predominantly Muslim, so the religious sites you are most likely to encounter, are, predictably, mosques. This is a brief tip of advice, written from the point of view of a non-Muslim, female traveler (yours truly!!!):

    - Do dress modestly, covering arms, legs, shoulders and the like, no frivolous dressing will be allowed. Hire the modest dress if needed;

    - Check whether you are allowed into the mosque at all, since most of them admit you only into the courtyard, and some do not admit non-Muslims at all. However, in several countries you may be able to visit the interiors of many mosques;

    - Respect the boundaries laid and do not attempt to enter further (I saw such a thing once, and it did arouse ill-feeling);

    - If possible try to avoid going even to the courtyard on Friday afternoon, since I remember this is the most important praying time of the week;

    - If you are curious, feel free to ask questions (though not of people hurrying to pray) and most likely you will be answered: I’ve always found people proud of their culture and heritage and ready to explain it;

    - Do not criticize things we in Europe and in the West might (such as separate praying space for men and women), for such are the customs of the land and mosques are the least appropriate places for such topics.

    This advice is based only on common sense, but it allowed me to see something of the mosques and learn loads of interesting info on Muslim countries, their religion, and culture. Really helped me when we had a general education class on religions at University:))

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El Kef What to Pack

  • aliante1981's Profile Photo

    by aliante1981 Written Jan 3, 2004

    Miscellaneous: Travels to places like Tunisia involves a lot of fighting the heat, especially if you, like me (I am still surprised as to why I did that), go there right in the middle of the summer. Hereýs a list of useful items to take:

    - Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide head covering and some shade. For women, they are also a proof of modesty, welcomed when visiting old churches and mosques. Scarves and the like covering shoulders and arms can keep the sun off during treks. A cloth hat or scarf can be soaked to help keep the head cool.

    - "Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached. The beach toy to take with you!

    - Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Tunisia, people tend to prefer sticking with their own favourite brand (the skin, too, ýgets usedý to it), and thereýs not guarantee youýll find it on the spot. So take your own, if you have preferences!

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El Kef Favorites

  • Man with the key

    When you arrive at the Kasbah, you may have to find the guy who has the key so as to let you in and when you find him, he'll show you around and give you a guided tour in French only! Give him a tip afterwards, won't you!

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  • Historical notes: Overview

    Today El Kef looks really peaceful, and even sleepy. To the point that it is extremely difficult to imagine that it had an eventful history - but so it was. The headquarters of the national movement of Algeria, a large Jewish community until the 1950's, a major centre of sexual cults in pre-Islamic times and the exile for ancient Carthaginian...

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  • Tourists Are a Curiosity

    We traveling folk think that a curiosity is something native to a place that we come to look at. Nope! There are some places where a tourists is a curiosity, and a party of some foreign ones even more so. El Kef is like that, though this might stop soon as the number of people coming grows. Your status of such curiosity will mean that people will...

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Explore Deeper into El Kef
Couscous Royale
Restaurants
Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions
Things to Do
Kasbah
Things to Do
Sample the views
Things to Do
Take a Walk Around the Town!
Things to Do
Doors & Windows
Favorites
Map of El Kef

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