Al Metlaoui Travel Guide

  • Al Metlaoui
    by barryg23
  • Al Metlaoui
    by DAO
  • "Photo for tip"
    by Robert_Hun

Al Metlaoui Things to Do

  • Lezard Rouge - Seldja

    It was all very British getting back on the train. Everybody went to their own place even in the standing sections. The journey continued as far as Seldja, which is only 16km from Metlaoui. It had taken us over an hour, including stops, to get there. The journey back was along the same route. We had only one stop, to pick up the people at the...

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  • Lezard Rouge - Second Stop

    So on we went. We went through a few more tunnels. I'd have liked if the stops between them had been longer as the gaps were very preety but they just whizzed past. We followed the river for quite a distance through a very scenic section. I would imagine the views from the top were amazing. Our next stop was between two tunnels in a large open...

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  • Lezard Rouge - First Stop

    When we emerged from the tunnel the train stopped and everyone climbed down to take pictures. There was such a rush to get off the train that one of the Italians beside us went a little too fast and almost broke his camera. I had seen this view on VT or elsewhere before but it was still very special. The scenery was great though not any better than...

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  • Lezard Rouge - The Departure

    Finally at about 10.25 we were off. The train crawled out of the station for the first few hundred metres and the scenery here wasn't too impressive. all the guys working waved as we left as did the locals whom we passed on the streets. The train has been going 5 days a week for the last 10 years or so or so but they still seemed to find it quite a...

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  • Oued Metlaoui

    Water in Oued Metlaoui is not crystal clear as it carries phosphate from the quarries and sand. Along its bank, the bushes do not grow better than everywhere else, though they have plenty of fertilizer [phosphate is a fertilizer}. May be they have too much !

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  • Oued Seldja

    Oued Seldja is running through this gorge. Instead of taking the Red Lizzard, you can walk to visit the gorge but it is always very hot, even in March... Anyway, there was a group that did the trip one way and came back with the Red Lizzard.

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  • The cliffs are high

    On both sides, the cliffs are high. A few shrubs are growing, enough to feed a whole flock of local sheep ! The sheep found in the desert are tall and slim, almost looking like goats. They graze on thorny weeds, and sometimes on old news papers when they find one ! I am not kidding ! I must look in my files if I can find an old dia of a sheep...

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  • Breathtaking view

    As now the Red Lizzard is only for tourists, it makes a stop at every beautiful place worth a picture. After it has began to climb towards Moularès phosphate mines, the first stop is in front of a gap in the mountain that makes a breathtaking view towards the plain we left a few minutes ago.

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  • We are in the Sahara

    We are in the Sahara !Where is the sand ?This is the northern part of the Sahara. The desert is by far not covered everywhere by sand as many people think ! The mountain parts of the desert are always very spectacular. This one has the advantage to be easily reached by everyone.

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Al Metlaoui Restaurants

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Updated Nov 13, 2004

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    Restaurant Ellafi serves good local dishes. There is plenty to eat. For example we had a salad and a couscous and could hardly eat everything ! The owner is very friendly and speaks a perfect French. The meal costs only 5 euros/person. They serve beer.

    Favorite Dish: The couscous is very good.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Food and Dining

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Al Metlaoui Transportation

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    by barryg23 Updated Aug 13, 2006

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    The Lezard Rouge is a restored version of the train used by the last Bey (ruler in Ottoman period) in the 19th century. Some of the seats in the carriages are the original 19th century leather seats though you'll have to arrive early to get these. The train travels at 19th century speeds as well and it takes almost 2 hours including stops for the 32km journey. It costs 20 Dinar per person, quite expensive in my view, and the only Tunisians you'll see on board are the staff. There are 5 trips a week at 10am on Tuesday and Thursday and 10.30 on Sunday, Monday and Friday. We booked tickets in advance by calling the number below and most people we spoke to had done the same though I reckon you could show up on the day and buy a ticket then. Ticket sales by phone are not in English. French or Arabic only.

    Ruth at the Lezard Rouge Inside the carriages The Bey's Seats

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Al Metlaoui Warnings and Dangers

  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    by barryg23 Written Aug 13, 2006

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    The train was supposed to leave at 10am and it was already full by about 9.45 but more and more tourists kept arriving in their tour groups. By 10.15 people were getting impatient but we were delayed waiting for another tour group who didn't arrive until 10.25. I'm guessing their tour leader must have phoned ahead and asked for a delayed start.

    We had chosen to stand at one of the entrances to the carriages and unlickily we rere right near the entrance to the station so most of the latecomers came on our carriage right where we were standing.

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