Tunisia 1992

Djerba Beach Hotel, Jerba Sept 28-Oct 5

One of our most unforgettable holidays, for good reasons. The main reason being the ride on a camel into the Grand Erg desert.
Jerba is more or less an island, joined only to the mainland by a causeway or a ferry. We flew into the small airport on Jerba, and the journey to our hotel was only about fifteen minutes from the airport, traveling through Houmt Souk. The entrance to the hotel was enticing, with green grass and palm trees lining the drive. The back of the hotel faced the sea, with a large swimming pool and brightly coloured umbrellas, separated from the beach by more lawn, and a low wall.

The beaches were long and not crowded, the camels were a sign of a journey to come.

We did not hire a car on this holiday, so we booked for several coach trips out. The first was to Matmata, a town with homes and hotels built underground. The film Star wars was partly filmed in the area of desert here.

One of the houses, where a crater is dug out of the ground, and the house is constructed by digging out the tufa like rock.



We ate a meal in one of the underground hotels, very cool compared with outside.
On our journey back we stopped at one of the Souks.

Another of our coach trips was a two day affair with an overnight stop in the oasis town of Tozeur.
On the way we crossed the Chott El Jerid, a fifty kilometer wide wet saltpan. We stopped in the centre of the saltpan, where they were a couple of road side ramshackle restaurants, and souvenir stalls !!!.

A tarmac 50 kilometer long, straight tarmac road across the Chott El Jerid.


The salt pan on both sides of the road.




We continued on to Tozeur, an oasis town where dates have been grown for centuries, we had a horse and carriage ride around the oasis, and then retired to the hotel for the night.
The next day we had to be up early to go to Douz, before it got too hot. Douz is positioned on the edge of the desert proper, and we had passed many areas at the side of the road where the desert was encroaching on the village.
As we got off the coach we were given suitable clothes and scarves to put on, everyone looked the same, dressed for the camel ride.

                                          Lyn and Malcolm

The camels were waiting to go (or not).

Just as we had got off the coach one of the men in charge of the camels, had tried to communicate with us, we couldn't understand what he was trying to tell us. He then gestured with his hands as though he was drinking from a bottle, and followed with a shaking of his head to say no. What for we were not quite sure.

We set off into the desert, what a way to travel, we were in quite a large group, but it did not detract from the feelings of remoteness and peacefulness of the desert.
We passed a couple of young children walking in the same direction as we were heading, they were carrying buckets in each hand, what was in the buckets we had no idea.


Later we stopped in the shade of some palm trees to rest a take in the beauty of the desert. There was not a sound, a few butterflies flitted by, the air was still. Venturing out from the shade to take some pictures, the sun beat down, and it was still early in the morning.
To our surprise, in the distance we could see the lads with the buckets, heading towards us. They slowly got nearer, and the contents of the buckets became apparent. Bottles of fizzy drink !! sitting in iced water.
Now there's a way to make some money from hot thirsty travelers. But of course, at a very much inflated price. That is what the man was trying to explain to us as we got off the coach.
We were soon back in the saddle (or rug on the camels back). We really felt as though we were in a camel train voyaging across the desert. Back on the coach traveling back to the hotel on Jerba, we both agreed that the experience was not to have been missed, it was brilliant, and is still vivid in our mind to this day in 2004.