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Tunisia Uncovered

TOUR IN

AFRICA

  • 17 May
  • -
  • 28 May 2022
  • |
  • 12 days

$3955

per person

Availability: 12 places

    Lying at the heart of Africa’s once infamous Barbary Coast, sandwiched between the palm fringed shores of the Mediterranean and the sands of the Sahara Desert, Tunisia is a land of quite startling contrasts. Blessed with a mix of cultural traditions that can trace their origins back to the Berbers, the Phoenicians and the armies of Rome, it is home to an incredible natural diversity and a historical pedigree for its diminutive size.

    Beginning in Tunis, the country’s bustling capital, we’ll have some time to enjoy the UNESCO grandeur of its medina and the impressive contents of the Bardo Museum, before paying a visit to the ancient ruins of once great Carthage. The World Heritage Sites of Dougga and Kairouan and the oasis town of Tozeur then provide Roman and Umayyad treasures in abundance, before we head into the deserts of the Sahara.

    Camping (or rather glamping Tunisian-style) amongst the dunes around Douz then provides a chance to experience something of nomadic life amongst the sands of the Sahara, before we head back through the Berber settlements that lie amongst the hills around Tataouine. The magnificent amphitheatre of El Jem, the captivating medina at Sousse and inviting Mediterranean coast then provides a stunning climax to this quite superlative journey.

    Day 1

    DAY 1: TOUR START IN TUNIS

    The tour starts today in the Tunisian capital with accommodation in the nearby town of Sidi Bou Said, overlooking the Gulf of Tunis, available from mid-afternoon. Due to the arrival times of our suggested flights, accommodation for this night is included in the tour cost. Those on the suggested group flights will arrive to the hotel in the early hours of Day 2.
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    Day 2

    DAY 2: TUNIS

    The largest city in the country, Tunis has a long and distinguished historical pedigree. Originally a Berber settlement, it came under the influences of the Carthaginians, the Romans and the conquering armies of the Muslim Arabs. Today its historic medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we pay a visit to it and the equally impressive Bardo Museum this morning. Later we’ll then drive out to the nearby ruins of ancient Carthage, before returning to the Mediterranean charms and idyllic bay views of Sidi Bou Said.
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    Day 3

    DAY 3: TUNIS - TESTOUR - DOUGGA - BULLA REGIA - LE KEF

    Departing the capital this morning we head west, towards the old Andalusian town of Testour and the well-preserved ruins of Dougga. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as the “best preserved Roman small town in North Africa”, Dougga can trace its history back to the Berber and Punic times, pre-dating the Romans. Moving on to Bulla Regia we then have a chance to explore the mosaics and underground ruins of this ancient archaeological site before ending our journey in Le Kef, where we will overnight. Please note tonight may involve splitting the group between two hotels, depending on availability and group size.
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: LE KEF - ELLES - MAKTHAR - KESRA - KAIROUAN

    The provisional capital of Tunisia during WWII, Le Kef’s historic old town nestles along the cliff face of Jebel Dyr, some 40 kilometres east of the Algerian border. After a chance to explore a little of its heritage this morning we then depart for Kairouan, stopping en route to visit the ancient ruins and museum in Makthar and the prehistoric tombs at Elles. Breaking the journey in the Berber mountain village of Kesra, one of Tunisia’s small villages, before completing the day’s journey to Kairouan.
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: KAIROUAN - RAQQADA - TOZEUR

    Another World Heritage recipient, Kairouan was founded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and went on to become an important centre for Sunni and Quranic learning. We’ll pay visits to its Great Mosque, Barber Mausoleum and the old town this morning, where we’ll find several carpet shops for which the town is famed, where carpets are made exclusively by women. Departing after lunch we then visit the National Museum of Islamic Art in nearby Raqqada, before ending our day on the edge of the Sahara Desert in the oasis town of Tozeur.
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: TOZEUR

    Surrounded by oases and date palms, Tozeur was the site of the ancient city and former bishopric of Tusuros, before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century. With a full day to explore the town and its environs, we plan to take a 4WD jeep safari out to the oasis villages of Chebika, Tamerza and Mides this morning. Returning to the city this afternoon, we then explore something of the old town, taking in the narrow streets and geometric brickwork so common to this region.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: TOZEUR - CHOTT EL JERID - DOUZ - DESERT CAMP

    Leaving early this morning we pass through the surreal salt lake landscapes of Chott El Jerid, en route to the desert town of Douz. Covering over 7,000 square kilometres, these enormous salt flats are the largest in the Sahara and daytime temperatures here can reach over 48°C! Douz provides our gateway into the vast desert landscapes of the Sahara and here we will switch to 4WD vehicles to set out into the sands heading for our fixed desert camp set amongst in the vast untamed dunes. We'll have the afternoon to relax and enjoy our desert retreat or to take some easy walks nearby. The desert camp offers a comfortable Tunisan-style glamping experience with beds and some private facilities
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: DESERT CAMP – DOUZ - TATAOUINE

    Awakening to a desert dawn we'll leave our camp this morning in our 4WDs and return to Douz, where our bus will be waiting. Driving through a barren landscape of bare mountains and craggy hills, we’ll pass through a region scattered with Berber villages and ancient granaries (ksours), some of which featured in the Star Wars movies. After a stop at the troglodyte dwellings of Matmata we continue to Toujane, where we can enjoy the views and see the local handmade carpets for sale before completing the journey to Tataouine.
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: TATAOUINE

    A town that can truly claim to have inspired a legacy, Tataouine was used by George Lucas as his iconic desert setting for the original Star Wars film. With a full day here to explore we’ll make the most of its evocative backdrop and head out to explore the surrounding hilltop villages. An 8 km walk (approx 2-3 hrs) between the villages of Douiret and Chenini provides some stunning views across the stark landscapes, along with an opportunity to visit the huge fortified granary of Ksar Ouled Debbab.
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    Day 10

    DAY 10: TATAOUINE - EL JEM - MONASTIR

    Heading north this morning our journey takes us next on to the stunning Roman amphitheatre of El Jem, another World Heritage Site that can lay claim to being one of the finest collections of Roman ruins anywhere in the world. Unique in Africa, its colosseum is rivalled only by the one in Rome itself. From here we then head towards Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast, where we’ll spend the next two nights in the resort city of Monastir.
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    Day 11

    DAY 11: MONASTIR & SOUSSE

    Founded on the ruins of a Punic-Roman city, Monastir is home to a well-preserved ribat (fort) and the imposing mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia’s first president. With a day to explore the area we’ll begin with a visit to the city, before taking lunch at a local restaurant. We’ll then move on to nearby Sousse, which is home to a large walled medina that has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and represents one of the earliest examples of Islamic construction in the Maghreb region.
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    Day 12

    DAY 12: MONASTIR - TUNIS

    This morning we have some free time to soak up this beach setting before driving to Tunis in the afternoon. We'll have a final dinner with the group before those on the suggested group flight are then transferred to the airport for a late night departure flight.
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