Gouvernorat de Tozeur Favorites
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As we crossing the Chott El Gharsa from Tozeur to Chebika we came across some wild camels. It was a real privilige to see these graceful animals in the wild. We had passed signs earlier warning us to watch out for them crossing but I wasn't sure we'd get to see them. They were walking across the road and heading in the direction of a small village, El Oulia. It made for great pictures, especially when one of them stopped near the Tozeur-Tamerza road sign.
Nefta is about 15 minutes drive from Tozeur but it's a completely different town. It owes its name to the roman empire: in roman times it was in fact called Aggasel Nepte. However it was an important centre before the romans: it has a huge fresh water natural spring, so desert caravans used to stop here regularily. Local people used to call it the pearl of the Djerid.
La corbeille, a French name to designate the depression where the spring is located. it^s quite unreal.
Tamerza is both a modern (?) village and an old berber village (ksour). Forget the most recent part: leave the village and head towards, inside and past the palmeraie: perched on top of the rock, like a birds' nest, you'll find a large abandoned ochre ksour. It's peaceful, it's unspoilt, it's in ruin... but you can still admire the wonderful architecture and enjoy views over the palmeraie and a canyon.
Murat: a young and friendly guy who saw my friends and I walk about and decided to cut classes and be our guide. It wasn't his lucky day: three of us were teachers so while walking there we forced school lessons in him - the same lessons he thought he would cut - English and Maths. To be fair, he listened to us - not happily, but he did - but I doubt that he'll be cutting another class soon.
Chebika, part 1: an abandoned berber village squeezed between a salt lake (Chott el-Gharsa) and some barren and stunning mountains (Jebel En Negueb). Chebika, part 2: a mountain oasis where both waterfalls and springs bestow their water on palm groves.Chebika, part 3: the ancient Roman outpost "Ad Speculum", which was a both guard and observation post on the Tacape road, before the berbers settled in. Today nothing remains of the Roman times, and the Berber village is no longer inhabited but well preserved
Of all the ksours, Chebika turned out to be my favourite one. It's slightly more touristic than the others but the location is simply suberb. It's squeezed between a salt lake (the Chott el-Gharsa) and some barren and stunning mountains (the Jebel En Negueb).
Mides... the last berber outpost before Algeria, which is less than 1 kilometre away. They also call Mides the "Canyon Village" because it is built right over a small deep canyon - very scenic. The village itself is very tiny... not more than couple of dozen houses I would guess, and a white mosque. .
Being in the middle of nowhere - Tunisia. Mides is really out there.. the Sahara on one side, Algeria on the other... a striking canyon in between.. a handful of stone houses here and there... vertical edges everywhere. Nothing else... but it's a magical place to be.
As a teenager I used to listen to this sogn by Franco Battiato, an Italian songwriter, about the trains of Tozeur... the name had a mystical spell... For years I longed to go there, and when i eventually made it there, the trains had long gone. As a consolation, i went for my first short desert hike: amazing!
the most obvious highlight would be the particular architecture - really bizarre: ricks laid out in geometrical shapes to create decorations. My personal highlight was the Medina - my very first Medina - it looked like anything I would have expected - if i had only known what to expect.
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