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Tunisia

Douz, gateway to the Sahara

Berber dromedary

Douz marks the beginning of the Grand Erg Oriental ( Great Eastern Sand Sea) and its ochre thin sand dunes.

Leave the palm trees full of dates, the brackish water of the chott el Jerid and the pink mountain of Tebaga.

In Douz the oasis struggles with the desert, which relentlessly encroaches on it. The ghostly ruins of Zaafrane, 12 km away from Douz, testify to a village swallowed up by sand.

sand dunes

 

 

 

 

 

Walk towards the high dune of Ofra. The Sahara stretches away to infinity.

Bedouin people have learnt to live under these conditions. In the summer, the temperature never goes down under 50°!

lying dromedaries

In the desert, the inhabitants'best friend has always been the dromedary. This animal ( one hump!) is tireless, even if it doesn't always hold its tongue where it should...

Dromedaries always seem thirsty. In fact, they are true walking reservoirs. In winter, dromedaries are able to stand months without drinking.

When they find some water, they are able to drink quietly 135 litres in 10 minutes! It is worth visiting the animal suuq of Douz to learn about the range of dromedary races and attend to stiff haggling.

It is a picturesque place to go, just like the thursday weekly market. The international festival of the Sahara, which usually takes place in the end of december, attracts people from all over Tunisia to attend to dromedary races.

Sand bread

The Méharée

A night in the desert is sure to provide unforgettable memories.

Imagine: the starry sky, darkness all around, the sound of the wind sweeping the tents, and yourself, sitting around two small fires lit by your guide: one for the sand bread, the other for tea and the meal.

The Méharée is a caravan traveling in the desert. A one night trip is enough to reach the depth of the desert.

 

Douz inhabitants (named M'Razigians, after the nomad tribe M'Razig) enjoy wandering in the dunes to hide water behind the scarce bushes.

They are then able to find these treasures back in case of emergency. Many other secrets of the desert wait to be discovered...

go-kart in the desert

 

Means of transport have evolved quite a lot in Douz, to the benefit of those who enjoy unusual sports.

You may drive a sand go-kart (a slope was set for it next to the dunes), or try sand skiing in the desert.

For those looking for more thrill, it is possible to fly over the oasis and the desert on a microlight.

If you prefer cosy transport, the jeep tour is a sound alternative.

microlight in the desert

 

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