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Tunis to Djerba, sharing the desert

Tunis to Djerba, sharing the desert – 13-day Land Rover trip

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The charms of the Medinas of Tunis and El Kef, the magic of the desert and the mountain oases, the dunes and the Berber troglodyte villages, and then the sea, as far as the eye can see.  

13days/12nights

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See Tunis and lose yourself in El Kef; with your guide you will understand the complexity of the architecture of the Arab medinas and encounter everyday craftsmen and magicians. On this trip, you will be welcomed at the most beautiful and charming guest houses and hotels and live like characters from The Tales of the Arabian Nights. Then head south for Tamerza, Midès and Chebika, the holy trinity for those wanting an introduction to mountain oases before indulging in stargazing in a high-end camp in the middle of the desert. Then you will stay in an authentic troglodyte dwelling and live to the beat of the Berber ksars, or fortified villages, between Matmata and Tataouine. The trip is crystallised in Djerba: ecumenical cultures, a dialogue of religions and tolerance, craftsmanship and contemporary art in Djerbahood and then relaxation, if you wish, on this legendary island. An enchanting trip encountering inhabitants and their traditions, captivating landscapes to be explored aboard your Land Rover.

DAY 1

Private transfer upon arrival at the airport and stay 2 nights in the Medina of Tunis in a historic 17th century residence, “Dar Ben Gacem”.

DAY 2

After half a day exploring Tunis, follow our enthusiastic historian, author and urban architect to explore the secret establishments in the Medina and also the Art Nouveau Tunis. Enter the doors of 17th century palaces, roam the narrow, winding streets and discover the Tunis of days gone by. You can also take the pulse of the modern Tunis in the Central Market, a series of covered halls where all the locals come together to do their shopping amid the joyful shouts of the greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers, cheesemongers, and other traders.

DAY 3 & 4

Depart Tunis for the town of El Kef to the north-west and stay 2 nights at “Dar Chennoufi”. A family farm converted into a charming residence situated in the kingdom of Jughurta, “Dar Chennoufi” welcomes its guests in a friendly and authentic atmosphere in the middle of a six-hectare olive grove.

With our historian guide, you will visit the Medina of El Kef, one of the most secret and authentic in the country. As a crossroads of civilisations, it will amaze you with its authenticity and its gentle way of life. Standing side-by-side are the monuments that are heirs to the peoples who have created the town throughout history:  mosques, synagogue, zaouïas (Islamic religious schools), Christian basilica, Roman baths, 17th century fortress built on top of the ancient fortress, etc.  You can also explore the natural site known as La Table de Jugurtha.

DAY 5

Depart El Kef for Tozeur and stay 2 nights at “Dar Saida Beya”, a traditional residence in the heart of the Medina of Tozeur and a short distance from the palm grove.

DAY 6

Explore the mountain oases at the end of the Atlas mountain range – Chebika, Tamerza and Midès – and enjoy a rustic picnic at one of them (à la carte).

The mountain oases are true havens of coolness in the heart of the arid landscapes of this region. They contain fresh water springs which nurture a specific range of fauna and flora.  The sleepy Berber village of Tamerza, the lush bower of Chebika and the canyon of Midès, which was the setting for the film “The English Patient”, will certainly transport you to another world.

DAY 7

Explore Nefta and its palm grove and one of the filming locations for Star Wars at Ong Jmel.

Transfer to a camp in the middle of the desert set up specially for the occasion for an authentic evening and overnight stay in the Grand Erg Oriental. A unique atmosphere with all the necessary comforts.

DAY 8

Depart for the region of Matmata, known for its troglodyte dwellings. On the way, you can admire the desert landscapes of the Chott el Jerid salt plain, and visit the towns of Douz and Chenini and the hill-top Berber village of Tamezret and its museum of Berber arts and traditions, whose curator will be your host.

Stay a single night in a troglodyte guest house called “Trait d’Union”.

DAY 9

Depart for Tataouine, a town in the middle of nowhere famous for having once been home to a French penal colony, and stay at the Hotel Sangho.

On the way, the landscape becomes more undulating. You will explore the hill-top Berber villages of Toujane and Douiret; in Tataouine, you can visit the Memory of the Earth Museum, dedicated to the dinosaurs that populated this area 140 million years ago.

DAY 10

Depart for the island of Djerba and stay 2 nights at “Dar Bibine”. This accommodation is a magnificently renovated house combining traditional Djerban architecture and sleek design.

DAY 11

Full day tour of Djerba, the island with two faces.

The island of Djerba, made famous since ancient times by Homer in The Odyssey, is a multifaceted island which reveals itself gently. Its east coast has benefited from considerable tourism development along the sandy beaches that stretch from Houmt Souk to Midoun, while its west coast remains preserved and authentic.  The centre of the island, meanwhile, beats to the rhythm of its inhabitants. The Djerba we invite you to discover here is an island of history, culture and traditions. Go on a tour of the island, exploring its defensive positions, or borjs, built between the 13th and 16th centuries, its traditional dwellings, or menzels, and its museum of popular arts and traditions. In between visiting two sites, enjoy some seafood in one of the small restaurants popular with the locals and allow yourself time to have a break and swim in the crystal waters.  The sea is always within reach! (à la carte)

DAY 12

A day filled with art, accompanied by the painter Zied (à la carte). Immerse yourself in a world of watercolours and sketches and let your imagination run free. Explore the charming village of Erriadh which is home to the Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, and visit Djerbahood, its open-air museum of urban art. There are around a hundred paintings by international artists depicting the architecture of Erriadh.

Evidence of the coexistence of the communities on the island of Djerba, the Ghriba attracts thousands of pilgrims in May each year.  This is an opportunity for the Jews on the island, who represent one of the last communities in the Arab world, to attend numerous joyful celebrations.

DAY 13

Private transfer to the airport and return flight.

 Budget :

  •  13days/12nights – flights not included
  • Transfer for each stage by Land Rover with chauffeur.
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation and half-board at “Dar Chennoufi” and the “Trait d’Union” and under canvas in the camp in the middle of the desert.
  • Accompanied tour of the Medinas of Tunis and of El Kef.
  • Excursion to La Table de Jugurtha and to Ong Jmel.
  • Visit to the Memory of the Earth Museum in Tataouine.
  • Exploring the Tunisian landscapes by Land Rover off the beaten track
  • the Medina of Tunis with its winding streets
  • the natural site of La Table de Jugurtha
  • sleeping under the stars in the middle of the desert
  • the island of Djerba, and much more.

Picnic in a mountain oasis

In Tamerza or Midès, you can picnic in the middle of a mountain oasis. The gentle lapping of the spring water, mergoum carpets on the ground and a freshly prepared artisan wicker basket deliciously garnished with seasonal fruits and home-made sandwiches with traditional tabouna bread made from fine semolina baked in a wood-fire oven.  The day continues with a guided walk in the Midès canyon and a visit to the mountain oases: magnificent landscapes to explore.

Dinner: the flavours of “Dar Bibine”

Tunisian cuisine contains the blend of peoples that constitute its history: from Berber semolina to Jewish tagines, Andalusian pastries delicately flavoured with flower water and subtly spiced Spanish stews. We invite you to discover this reinvented and refined cuisine at a meal at “Dar Bibine”.

Travel journal in Erriadh

A day filled with art, accompanied by the painter Zied. Immerse yourself in a world of watercolours and sketches and let your imagination run free. Explore the charming village of Erriadh which is home to the Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, and visit Djerbahood, its open-air museum of urban art. There are around a hundred paintings by international artists depicting the architecture of Erriadh.

Evidence of the coexistence of the communities on the island of Djerba, the Ghriba attracts thousands of pilgrims in May each year.  This is an opportunity for the Jews on the island, who represent one of the last communities living in the Arab world, to attend numerous joyful celebrations.

Full day tour of Djerba, the island with two faces.

The island of Djerba, made famous since ancient times by Homer in The Odyssey, is a multifaceted island which reveals itself gently. Its east coast has benefited from considerable tourism development along the sandy beaches that stretch from Houmt Souk to Midoun, while its west coast remains preserved and authentic.  The centre of the island, meanwhile, beats to the rhythm of its inhabitants. The Djerba we invite you to discover here is an island of history, culture and traditions. Go on a tour of the island, exploring its defensive positions, or borjs, built between the 13th and 16th centuries, its traditional dwellings, or menzels, and its museum of popular arts and traditions. In between visiting two sites, enjoy some seafood in one of the small restaurants popular with the locals and allow yourself time to have a break and swim in the crystal waters.  The sea is always within reach!

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