Qasr Ghilan Travel Guide

  • Qasr Ghilan
    by Enzyme_X
  • Qasr Ghilan
    by Enzyme_X
  • Qasr Ghilan
    by Enzyme_X

Qasr Ghilan Things to Do

  • Caravans of camels.

    There are dozens of camels, waiting for the tourists. The price from the camp to the fort is about 15 Tunisian dinars.

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  • Getting back to the camp.

    The moment when we started our return to the camp, after the sunset with a soft wind and the moon appearing in such a peaceful place was one of my fondest memories of Tunis.

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  • The Watchtower.

    This Old watchtower is located in the midle of the Pansea Camp, it was reciently restored ( i couldn´t get any history of the tower). It´s a four story construction well decorated and with a great viewpoint at the top, and with some of the best views i´ve seen to the immense Sea of Sand of Ksar Ghilane.

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  • Watchtower. Views.

    One of the most beautiful moments of my stay in Ksar Ghilane, was when we climbed into the old watchtower (now restored) to see the sunset and the train of camels bringing back the tourists to the camp.

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  • Camel Riding.

    The Camel Riding is the main activity in Ksar Ghilane, the place is wonderful, and the ride over the camel with such stunning views and the silence of the desert is something special, of course there are hundreds of tourists but in some way they disappear in such immensity.

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  • Berber Child.

    Berber is the majority of populaton in North Africa in terms of race (the Arabization of the Berber culture swept away the language and the identity) and represents 60% of the population of Tunisia. They often live in the mountains or in small settlements, and some of them are nomads. We met this friendly small boy with his desert fox in Ksar...

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  • Camels.

    There are dozens of camels ready to ride the tourists into the vast inmensity of the Sea of Sand, the camel is a cute animal but sometimes they try to bite you or at least they try to spit you when they are angry.

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  • Gran Oriental Erg.

    The second largest Sea of Sand in the Sahara (the other one is the Occidental Erg in Algeria), the Grand Oriental Erg starts in Algeria, continues into Tunis and ends in Lybia. Ksar Ghilane is located in the southern shore of the Erg. When you think about the endless sea of sand dunes, you are thinking about an Erg; because mostly of the Saharan...

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  • Photoghraphy

    In addition to what has been written about Ksar Ghilan, photgraphy lovers might enjoy the different contrasts to take great pictures in a quite milieu. Make sure that you take advantage of the Tower in the 5 star hotel to take panoramic pictures. Shooting with a zoom is a bliss. Highly recommended for friends and love birds. Have a question do not...

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  • Wild palm trees

    Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you will find between a couple of dunes a dozen of palm trees. Why are they growing in that particular place ? It is a mystery. Of course, they are growing here because they have found some underground water, but the question is why is there underground water here?

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  • The stone is carved by the ropes !

    Look at these edges of the Bir Soltan well. What do you see ? Thirsty people passing by this place have for centuries thrown a bucket into the well and waited for terrible minutes to know whether the well was wet or dry ! Life or death ! Now you understand why it was so important to get water ! Look at how deep the ropes have carved the edge of the...

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  • Not really a sand wind !

    In the desert, there is always wind and even when there is not what is called a sand wind (the sky would look whitish-yellowish), the rim of the dunes can "smoke" sand as it does on this photography (enlarge !) and gusts of sand fly across the track.

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  • No track

    In some parts, there is no track besides ours and we have to zigzag between the barkhanes. Of course a good detailed map and a compass are a need. If you take care, this is not dangerous. However, there is a real risk to loose the way. This is why a good supply of water and of gas is an absolute need.

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  • Hidden village

    If you do not enlarge the photo, you will think that this is another shot of sand and dunes. If you enlarge it, you will see that there is a village. The houses, made of reed and palms, are half hidden among the barkhanes. When you drive along in this countryside, you can easily miss it.

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  • Ksar Ghilane, an oasis with tall...

    At first, when you arrive in the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, it has not the classical look of an oasis, with palm trees being the only trees. Ksar Ghilane has many tall tamarisks (called saf-saf) that give it a very special look. Its vegetation is abundant.

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  • A more sandy landscape

    Here, the soil is more sandy and less stony. The shrubs are higher and here are the camels, roaming freely and feeding. Their owner have sometimes to walk several kilometers before they find them, when they need them.

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  • A gravel and sand landscape

    On this photo, the undulating landscape is mostly sand and gravel mixed. The countryside is dry but there is a (relatively) abundant vegetation of shrubs that make a perfect feed for camels, goats or sheeps. The track can be seen on the right of the picture.

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  • Hotel Pansea Tower

    This remote outpost is hard to find, in more ways than one. In one of the quirks of Arabic transliteration, Ksar Ghilane can be spelled in different ways. Qasr, Qsar, Ksar and Kasr can combine with Ghilane, Ghilan, Gilan, or Gilane. In any event, this Ksar (meaning fort) can be found at the end of a four to six hour trek by four wheel drive...

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  • Wind, wind, wind !

    What is the most characteristics of the Sahara is its wind. It is almost permanently windy, not only at ground level but also at higher altitudes. When there is some moisture in the sky that can give this type of aspect.

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  • Erg and Reg

    Most of the Sahara is not sandy but rocky. It is called "reg", while the sandy parts are called "erg". However, every possible intermediates exists and there are rocky ergs as well as sandy ergs. This photography shows a rather rocky erg.

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  • Trimmed palm leaves

    In order to prevent sand from invading the track, locals trim together palm leaves to build vegetal barriers. Sand will accumulate behind and from time to time, they have to build new ones. It is done in the same way than in the mountains, the barriers that prevent the formation of snowdrifts.

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Qasr Ghilan Restaurants

  • A fire in the desert

    In the evening, we usually lit a small fire though we were not able to cook on this fire as the locals did, but that was enough to warm up a little (nights can be cold in the desert in March) and to grill a few slices of the excellent bread that we had bought in the last bakery.

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  • Desert food !

    The menus were not very varied and we always used as much as possible local food. In the evening, we usually cooked rice (not local !) and prepared local hard boiled eggs. At noon, we made a salad with the rice, the hard-boiled eggs and very tasty local tomatoes, possibly added with locally grown fresh onions.

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  • Qasr Ghilan Hotels

    0 Hotels in Qasr Ghilan

Qasr Ghilan Transportation

  • 4 wd´s cars.

    You can reach Ksar Ghilane by organized tour in 4 wd´s cars (as i did) or in your own private car. It´s a hard four hours drive from Tozeur, driving through a road sometimes covered with sand.

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  • No road signs !

    While the quality of the trail did not make any problem, orientation did. Road signs were very scarce and almost absent. It is amazing to see that there are so many tracks in the desert and sometimes, even with a good, detailed map (1/200,000), it is difficult to choose the best one.

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  • no trail !

    We took a shortcut from Ksar Ghilane to Bir Soltane. As it was on a short distance (20 kilometers) and we had detailed maps, it was perfectly safe to drive outside any trail and that gives a very special feeling to be completely responsible of our way !

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Qasr Ghilan Shopping

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Written Mar 20, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Where is the next shop ? Ahead, on the right, on the left, who knows ! When the land is flat, the only place from where you can have a wider view is to get on top of the Landrover !

    Actually, I am kidding, climbing on the Landrover was to take a photography !

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Desert
    • Road Trip

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Qasr Ghilan Local Customs

  • More puppets

    The puppet industry must have been learned at school as ten kilometers later, another little girl was on the side of the track with half a dozen puppets, more elaborate. We began to wonder if she was actually the one that made them !

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  • Hand made puppets

    Sometimes, you will also meet young girls keeping a flock of sheeps and goats. These two had made puppets with colored rags and sold them to visitors. I suppose that it could take several day before they sold any !

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  • Water against sour milk

    This shepherd waved at us holding a bottle to get some water. We filled his bottle and as a thank you, he offered us some sour milk he carried in a guerba, (a goatskin). The taste was pleasant; tasting almost like a Yogourt.

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Qasr Ghilan What to Pack

  • A "guerba"

    The local way of keeping water is in a “guerba”. It is a goat skin that’s has been sewed and made tight with vegetal gum. The skin let some water permeates, which evaporates and cools the content. Thus the water of the guerba is always cool but taste like goat but who cares !

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  • Water !

    In the desert, water is an absolute need. Depending of the temperature, the wind, etc… each person needs from 6 to 8 liters of water. It is always safer to have a lot more water than what is reasonably needed. We had two 13 liters jerricans set in the front of the car and a 100 liters supple tank inside. That allowed to give water to those who...

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Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Qasr Ghilan
Four lanes trail !
Transportation
Good trail
Transportation
Say hello !
Local Customs
A small oasis
Things to Do
Is this the track ?
Things to Do
Donkeys waiting after what ?
Things to Do
Here, water is more important than money !
Things to Do
Bir Soltane, a well and nothing else !
Things to Do
Herd of camels
Things to Do
Desert plants
Things to Do
Ripple marks
Things to Do
Barkhanes
Things to Do
The "Grand Erg Oriental"
Things to Do
Monument de la colonne Leclerc
Things to Do
Wide channels for water distribution.
Things to Do
Water, plenty of water !
Things to Do
Where is Ksar Ghilane ?
Things to Do
Map of Qasr Ghilan

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