Tunisia Off The Beaten Path
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Off The Beaten Path
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
Chott el-Djerid is a 1,930-square-mile (5,000-square-kilometer) salt flat located in southern Tunisia near the Algerian border. (chott is Arabic for "salt flat"). It was formed when an ancient saltwater lake evaporated, leaving a perfectly flat lake bed covered with a layer of salt.For about two months of the year, shallow water from intermittent rains covers the surface of the lake bed. For the other ten months, it is dry. According to local legend, it is possible to cross the chott on foot, although should anyone stray from the recommended path, he would sink into the thick mud, or quicksand, lying just under the crust of salt and perish. There is a story from the fourteenth century about 1,000 camels and their attendants who died when they sunk into the quicksand.Nowadays, a causeway crosses the chott from Kebili to Tozeur. Along the way are small souvenir stalls where visitors can...
Day 1: Your driver will pick you up from your Tozeur hotel in the morning. From there you will drive to Nefta, a near-by oasis with a stunning palmeraie. After looking at the beautiful view of this oasis from above, you will continue on to the dunes of Rejim Maatoug, just 25km from the Algerian border. Mid-morning will see you at El Faouar, before you continue your journey to Douz for lunch. From Douz you will drive to Ksar Ghilane and have your first taste of the endless expanse of desert. If you’re lucky, you will end your day with traditional song and dance at Campement El Biben, where you will sleep for the night.Day 2: After a relaxing breakfast at the Campement, you will have the opportunity to go for a swim at the natural hot springs of Ksar Ghilane, or perhaps hire a quad bike or go for a horse ride in the Sahara. Then you will journey by camel into the Sahara where you will...
Chemtou: looking for golden . . . stones :-)))
Ici brille le rocher doré des Numides (Stace, IAD)Chemtou is a real off the beaten path. It is not easy to reach if you are travelling by public transport soo after visiting 467833458833 archaeological sites in Tunisia there was no need to go there. In fact what attracted me of this site was not its archaeological interest but its origins which are also the source of the most beautiful ancient buildings around Tunisia and in the ancient world: the marble of Chemtou. Simitthus has Numidian origins and since then it was known by its marble which had a nice mix of orange, red, yellow and pink colours. It became a roman settlement during the reign of Augustus (27BC) and thanks again to the marble soon became a wealthy city. It spread around the mountain, with the free men living to the west, and the prisoners who worked the quarries to the east. All Roman functions were established here and...
Ask a trustworthy local
Tunisia is a very lovely country and people are really generous, but snares are all over. If you wanna have an unusual trip, try to ask a local that looks reliable. Mastering bookish English is a sign that the person offering to help you is really dependable. A good education and a high English fluency and accuracy are signs of a higher level of education and that the person you are dealing with is a student or an unemployed graduate trying to make a living.Unlicenced guides are in the majority and they usually know better places and hidden corners that may be of real interest.I personally have worked as one during my university years at one of the English departments.
Beni Mtir:Alsacian village on Tunisia mountains
My guidebook describes Beni M’tir as an Alsacian village in the middle of Khroumirie Mountains. I have never been in Alsace but the feeling that I had when I jumped off the bus is that I was not in Tunisia! Beni M’tir was built by the French workers of the first hydroelectric dam in Tunisia. Originally from Alsace, they tried to build their new houses following the same style in order not to feel homeless. Especially beautiful (and unique in Tunisia) the market square(picture 2).Oh! You can go to Beni M’tir by bus from Ain Draham. The road to go there, in the middle of the mountains, is very beautiful. There are only two daily buses, by 7:00 a.m. and at 12:30 a.m. This last one is also the last bus to go back to Ain Draham so after 1:00 p.m. you will be blocked there. To leave this blessed place I had to share a taxi until the smiling village of Fernana and from there took a louage until...
Takrouna: overlooking the world
Takrouna is one of the few Berber villages that you will find on the Dorsale Mountains. Maybe this name sounds familiar to someone: at Takrouna took place one of the 2WW definitive battles where the New Zealanders made the Germans leave their position, on 12th April 1943. Apart from this it is said that Takrouna offers the best sunset in Tunisia. My visit to Takrouna was a little disappointing: almost abandoned, the few families that still remain there have transformed their houses in touristy restaurants and gift shops. Only some streets (picture 3) and the zawyia keep their original charm. But its location, on the top of a rock is very impressive(picture 2) and the views from there are superb: the Mediterranean Sea on the east and Zaghouan Mountains on the west. If you are staying in Hammamet, Takrouna is a nice idea for a day tripDirections: Central East of TunisiaDorsale Mountains;...
Port au Prince
This is the perfect place for a relaxing day trip from Tunis. An unknown place in Tunisia, even for most of the locals, it is on the Cap Bon area, at 20 Km from Soliman, and you can reach it only by car. The name of Port au Prince comes from a French prince who was kidnapped here (well, this is what people told me :-) ). Nowadays this is one of the few remaining “plage sauvages” in Tunisia. Calm, almost empty, some fishermen will be your only company. And it is nice because you have all the green tonalities at only few meters from the sea . . . (pictures 2 and 3) Ah! There are also the “griffes de sorcière”!! I “discovered” these yellow, orange and pink flowers, the ficoïdes, for the first time here (picture 4) :-). Finally, the only think that I know from that fortress at the end of the first picture is that Bourguiba’s wife used it to do some private parties with her friends. Nowadays...
Hammam Lif: this is the real Tunis
Hammam Lif is an interesting place that deserves more than my short visit. We are still in Tunis, in the “banlieue sud” and unlike their banlieue nord neigbours, good standing people but also posh and sometimes hypocrites, the Hammam Lif inhabitants have accepted their reality and they always smile. Hammam Lif means in Arabic “the baths’ nose” and for many years, but especially during the XIX th century it was a very known spa centre reputedly good for clearing the sinuses. Here we have a special micro clime, not humid because even if it is a place by the sea it is protected by Bou Kornine, the two humps mountain that you can see from everywhere in Tunis. Hammam Lif’s history is quite recent: no ancient medina but a perfectly squared suburb with beautiful examples of Italian colonial architecture (picture 2) and palm trees. Even if some houses would need a general lifting you still can...
Old Roman ruins
Instead of heading to Tunis, and the thousands of tourists wandering around there every day, why not head to El Jem, between Sousse and Sfax, and wander around the old Roman colosseum - the largest one in North Africa, and a UNESCO World heritage site - for a while. It's in incredibly good condition, and while the town itself is a bit of a dust-bowl, the museum - with a history of the area (see next tip) - and the colosseum combined make it a worthwhile few hours. There are 4 trains a day from Sousse, though on the way back, if you take the AEX train (very smart and new), you have to take a taxi into Sousse from the station.
Maktar: border roman city
Maktar village (200km from Tunis) is from another planet!. Situated on the top of a hill at 1000 m, time has stopped there. All men wear long tunics ended with a hood like jedi knights (are you sure that starwars was not shot here?!) and looked at me like if i was an alien! I had never had this unkind feeling visiting a place so I went directly to the roman remains, which were the purpose of my visit. On the contrary ancient Mactaris is very interesting. A border village, the reason of its existance was clearly for military purposes. Maybe from punic origins, it was later under the hands of Carthaginians, then Numidians (who used id as a stronghold against Cartago) and later romans (IIth century bC) who converted Mactaris in a prosperous city. Vandals and Byzantines left their mark as well and the city changed from one people to another one until the XIth century, when it was destroyed...
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Reviews and photos of Tunisia off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Tunisia sightseeing.