Douz, camels on the desert
Early morning in Chebika Oasis
Douz, camels on the desert
Early morning in Chebika Oasis
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Would you like to explore Tunisia a bit further, ride on a camel, see the Sahara Desert, have fun during jeep safari, discover some interesting places, monuments and historical sites?
If the answer is yes, than “Sahara Explorer” - two day organised excursion to the desert, could be a great adventure for you.
Over time, Sahara Explorer excursion became a popular way of exploring Tunisia’s south - especially among European tourists while on holidays in Tunisian sunny coastal resorts of or .
As almost everything in life, also excursions have their limitations, so you have to compromise some certain aspects of your trip.
However, if you are not too demanding and are looking for relatively easy way of exploring Tunisia you may enjoy this trip as we did.
During our last visit to Tunisia, we took part in “Sahara Explorer” trip and really enjoyed it.
For the exact itinerary of your trip, please speak to your excursion provider or travel agent.
Our adventure started in Port El Kantaoui where an air conditioned coach picked us from the hotel early in the morning.
Once we joined fellow travellers in the coach, we went to neighbouring city of Sousse, to collect the remaining couple of tourists.
In about ten minutes of waiting, we were finally ready to commence our adventure.
Our first stop was in charming town of where our coach stopped just fifty metres away from impressive, world’s third largest Roman amphitheatre.
Our English speaking tour guide guided us through the amphitheatre and told us lots of very interesting historical facts and stories.
Once we decided that we have heard enough stories, we decided to take the opportunity to explore the amphitheatre on our own and take a couple of photos.
After a relatively short visit to the amphitheatre, our journey continued to the village of where we visited one of the traditional, underground Berber houses.
Once we fully explored Berber dwellings, we were taken for a lunch to the local restaurant in the village.
Among other local specialities, for the first time we had an opportunity to taste camel meat ... hmm, yummy!
Well, ok, after consideration this would not be our first choice, if we were spoiled for choice and could choose something different. However, since we were on the desert, we cannot complain.
After lunch, our journey continued to which is known as “The Gateway of the Sahara Desert”.
In Douz we had an opportunity to put on a traditional Bedouin dress and ride a camel on picturesque sand dunes on the Sahara Desert.
If for some reason you are unable or choose not to ride a camel, you will most likely have an option to follow your fellow travellers on a horse carriage.
After a relatively short camel ride, we were pleased to find a shelter in an air-conditioned coach and continue our journey to the next location - very interesting .
During our visit to the salt lake, we enjoyed the view, and the immense open space. We also enjoyed picturesque Atlas Mountains in the distance.
Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to see the famous mirages shimmering on the horizon.
Our last stop was in fine hotel with great swimming pool on the outskirts of Kebili.
Considering the fact that the hotel was located almost on the desert - a swimming pool could have been considered as a luxury.
It was a very pleasant the end of day one.
Early in the morning, after a relatively quick breakfast, we were ready to continue our journey to famous oases of Chebika and Tamerza.
Our first stop was in Tozeur. In Tozeur, we switched our comfortable air-conditioned coach to 4x4 land cruisers and were taken throughout the desert to the waterfalls in picturesque, mountain oases of Chebika and Tamerza (the setting of the Oscar winning movie “The English Patient”).
After visiting oases, we returned to Tozeur to enjoy a horse carriage ride throughout lovely oasis of Tozeur.
The oasis, which if full of palm trees and other tropical plants, gives a very pleasant shelter from the scorching sun.
We rejoined our coach and went to Gafsa for a lunch in a local restaurant (this time it was not a camel) and continued our journey to visit the Great Mosque in Kairouan – the 4th holiest town in the Islamic world.
Unfortunately, no time was scheduled to enter the mosque. We had only a brief opportunity to peek inside the mosque and take a couple of photos from the roof of the souvenir shop.
This was our last stop on our way back to Port El Kantaoui.
Overall, Sahara Explorer excursion offered a relatively quick and inexpensive way of visiting some the most interesting places in Tunisia.
Would we go again? definitely yes, however, we would have to consider whether it would be better for us to go on our own, in order to have a bit more time and fully explore all historical sites.
Overall, it was very enjoyable two days.
PUBLISHED ON 12 FEBRUARY 2010
BY GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURES,
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AREK & VIOLA
Camel ride on the desert
Douz, camels on the desert
Question & Answer
Q: Where can I book 2 day excursion to the Sahara Desert?
If you stay in Port El Kantaoui, the easiest way of purchasing this excursion could be through your travel representative.
This is assuming that you are visiting Tunisia on an organised package holidays with one of major tour operators and you have your own designated travel representative.
If you do not have one, the only alternative would be to ask in your hotel or try to find a local agent which sells this trip.
We usually advocate to shop around and book excursions through local travel agents - which on many occasions proved to be less expensive than tour operator’s representatives.
However, on this occasion the only travel office we managed to locate was situated well outside the town centre, on the outskirts of Port El Kantaoui and as such it was not easy to find.
Once we found the office, we learned that we could not save a great deal of money, so taking this into account and adding the time needed to find the office, we could say that it is not worth a hassle.
It is a lot easier and quicker to book excursion to the Sahara Desert through our own travel representative.
Q: Is usually everything included in the price of this excursion?
At the entrance of the Roman Amphitheatre in , we were asked to pay an additional “photo” fee for each camera / camcorder we intended to use to snap a couple of photos inside the amphitheatre.
Although it was the unexpected expense, the fee was not too expensive. We felt that money were well spent, as the amphitheatre was stunning. You could really feel the history in this beautiful Roman monument.
Q: Are there any downsides of this excursion to the Sahara?
The only limitation we could think of is that you will not be able to hop off the coach to snap a couple of photos every time you see some interesting landscape. If you do not mind this, it will not be an issue for you.
However, if you are a keen photographer, this could be sometimes a bit frustrating, as there are so many beautiful spots and you may miss the opportunity to take some good photos.
On the the other hand, there are far more benefits than the downsides, as everything is organised for you i.e. the coach, food and accommodation in the hotel. In addition, you will have an experienced, knowledgeable travel guide who will provide you with plenty of interesting historical facts and stories about visited locations and monuments. It is really good trip.
It was professionally organised and delivered by experienced travel provider - Tunisian Travel Service (TTS).
It offered us an excellent opportunity to explore Tunisia in relatively easy and stress free way.
Everything was organised for us (coach, meals, hotel, jeep safari) so we could sit back on the coach and relax enjoying the view.
The following itinerary was included into the excursion in which we participated in, however, it may differ from the excursions provided on another date and as such the following description should be regarded as an indication of what you could expect.
Sahara Explorer excursion provides a perfect opportunity to discover Tunisia further.”
Go south to the Sahara Desert
Sahara Explorer excursion is an excellent way to see Tunisia.
About this article
Travel information presented in this article is based upon our own experience, which means that descriptions given here, necessarily contain an element of subjective opinion, which may not reflect your own experience on another occasion.
Information provided in this travel article was accurate at the time of our journey