A Tunisia Photo Tour - Photos from some must-sees in Tunisia
Tunisia is a wonderful country to visit - one that seems to fall under the radar of maybe people. Especially for English North America. Tunisia is a far more common destination for people in Europe, as it is cheaper than most European countries. Tunisia Vacations provides something for every type of traveler. A desert safari for the adventurous, soft beaches for those seeking relaxation, or ancient ruins and rich culture for those looking to expand their knowledge.
My Tunisia Vacation consisted of all of the above. Booking an all inclusive vacation allowed for cheaper air travel and a beach to relax on at the beginning and end of the trip. I took a train to Tunis for a day, to explore the culturally rich areas of Carthage and Sidi Bou Said. Another four of my days in Tunisia I spent on a guided tour, consisting of only 6 of us, through the Sahara desert, visiting oases and taking a 4x4 over sand dunes.
No vacation to Tunisia is complete without leaving the resort and exploring the diverse areas Tunisia has to offer. From ancient Berber troglodytes, ancient Roman ruins, sand dunes, palm tree forests and oases, Tunisia has it all.
Be sold a carpet (or let someone try to)
It sounds odd, but this is an essential experience in Tunisia, and one I experienced twice. The hotel I was staying at offered free excursions into Sousse, first stopping by a carpet shop where they make carpets. So we agreed.
From the arrival, I was taken by the hand and sat down next to the women making carpets. They took my hand to show me how to do it myself, then I was swiftly brought down to the basement, full of carpets. I was offered a coffee - and this was an amazing coffee! This is also a sign of hospitality - feel free to accept the coffee or tea or whatever you may be offered.
They are salesmen to the extreme - there's nothing you can say that they can't counter. It's intense, and after they realized I wasn't going to buy a carpet, or a leather jacket (which they put on me and then poured water over it and tried to light it on fire..), they allowed me to browse quietly - almost.
Nothing is free
While walking down the beach front towards the center of Sousse, a very friendly man approached us, chatted, told us about him, asked about us. Then he offered us two free Cokes -and then asked for us to pay. While grumbling, we did. We knew we should have known better.... but they were ice cold, and we were at a very nice location to sit down an enjoy the view.
After finishing our Cokes, we left the bottles for him to reclaim - as requested.
Visiting a Troglodyte home - a typical Berber home
Visiting a troglodyte home is an interesting experience. These homes have existed for hundreds of years, and are dug out, rather than built up. This is good for security - since you can't see them from a far (and sometimes from close up) as well as making them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Going deep into the desert and finding an oasis is a great experience. Being from Canada, palm trees are exciting enough, but visiting an oasis is even more exciting.
Take a ride on a camel
A camel ride is an interesting experience. And even more enjoyable when your camel ride takes place in the desert, perfectly timed for the sunset. Be sure to hold on when you camel stands up!!
Deep in the oasis
Crystal clear waters within the oasis are an enjoyable sight.
Many waterfalls can be found
There are many waterfalls to be found in Tunisia. Many tucked away in hidden locations, so be sure have a good guide!
The Roman amphitheater of El Djem
If you enjoy history and exploring ancient ruins, be sure to visit the amphitheater of El Djem. It was built in the 3rd century AD, and had a capacity of 35 000 people. A visit here is very interesting since you can wander into many more tucked away areas than permissible in most other amphitheaters and coliseums.
The Spice Market of Gabes
The spice market of Gabes is a great place to stop if en route to another location. It is quite small, but the number of spices sold is quite impressive.
Get a henna tatoo
If given the opportunity, why not get a henna tattoo! But be sure not to join hands in a dance after (as I did) - it will smudge!
Wander the medina
Although getting lost in the Sousse Medina was one of the more stressful experiences I had, it was also quite interesting! I hope to go back another time so I can get lost again and enjoy it more the second time around.
Visit a mosque
Tunisia has many mosques, which are very interesting to visit. Although women are not allowed inside, I was still allowed to wander the inner courtyard, and look inside the mosque.
A palm tree forest
Not like any other kind of forest. You never know what you may find... the forest is divided up and different families own different areas. We took a tour through one area, and met a 70 year old man who could climb the trees barefoot.
Shopping in Tunisia
Shopping in Tunisia is a unique experience. I'm not very good at haggling, but I was pretty proud at dropping the price of sunglasses from 20TD to 10TD. Although, not long after I saw the same sunglasses on a shelf in a store for 7TD...
See a show
Going to a Tunisian dinner show provides lots of entertainment. This show took place in the middle of a palm forest. We drove deep into the forest, down dark roads, to end up in the middle of an area made for wonderful shows. It started with an outdoor horse show and ended with dinner.
Don't miss Sidi Bou Said
Sidi Bou Said is said to be the resort town for tourists. Where the richest Tunisians have there homes. It is a beautiful little town not far from Tunis, easily reachable by their above ground metro. The buildings are white washed with bright blue trim - similar to what you expect to see in Greece.
While walking up the main street, look for a small door on the left hand side advertising a museum - it's worth it!
Look for a mirage in the desert
After our 4x4 took us up and down the sand dunes, we found ourselves here. Off in the distance was what appeared to be a lake - but it was really a perfect desert mirage.
Be sure to visit Sousse
Sousse is a very interesting place to visit. Be sure to visit the Great Mosque as well as the Medina.
A visit to the market in Sousse
While wandering the Medina, we came across this market. It seemed to be on an outside wall of the Medina. Although busy, wandering through here was a bit of a relief because we were no longer being harassed to buy something, and we were now shopping with locals.
No visit to Tunisia is complete without Star Wars
The original set of Star Wars is still in place in the Tunisian desert. We were the only tourists there at the time and were allowed to wander freely. The set has a couple security guards, who were very nice and chatted with us, even letting us share their orange juice.