Tunisia Photos

Tunisia is a relatively small country but has so many different eco-systems from the lush green belt of the Med through the salt pans to the arid deserts. It is also extensively toured and filled with tourists so no problem with getting lost. George Lucas has used it's architecture in two of his Star Wars films, the first (or fourth - the one that came first) and the fourth (or first - the one that came fourth) Phew!

Welcome to the Middle East Tunisia is an Islamic country and has a long Islamic history. This can be seen in all of Tunisia and this door is a typical example of the architecture. The Medina in Tunis has many examples of this type of door.
This is taken at Cap Blanc, the Northern most point in Africa. As you can see there is not much here, just the obligatory military base. It is however very daunting to know that you have tens of thousands of kilometers to go before you reach the point at the South. As far  North as you can go!
Green and yellow in the North of Tunisia. The North of Tunisia is very green and once formed, along with North Libya, the "Bread Basket of Rome". All along the coast and quite a few kilometers South you see these green fields.
The Chott El Jarid is a huge salt pan, it covers approximately 5000 square kilometers and is a place where temperatures reach 45 degrees Celsius without any effort. It is quite treacherous to drive on as the surface is very thin and it soon become a quagmire. We tried it once and not again. There are many oasis around this pan where camping sites abound. Chott El Jarid - Salt Pan
Holy Mans shrine on the edge of the desert. Religious teachers, called Marabouts (Holy Men - Marabit in Arabic), live and are eventually buried in these domed buildings. The local people think it brings luck to live near these places and there is a family household just out of the picture on the left. These are dotted all over Tunisia, this particular one is near Gafsa in the Central Western part of Tunisia.
The Chott El Jarid lies on the Northern most edge of the greatest desert on Earth - the Sahara. This is taken just South of the Chott near a town called Douz. It was very very hot and our first experience of getting stuck in the dunes occurred not long after this picture was taken. So the desert begins
Ghorfas - fortified grain storage bins. Ghorfas (or Ksar), constructions made around grain bags and used to store grain, are built on hill tops and can also be used as fortifications. The best preserved is Ksar Ouled Soltane shown here and is a few kilometers South of Tataouine. We took loads of pictures here and were entertained by a French speaking local - we managed to get by somehow by throwing in our Spanish.
Matmata is now a famous place - George Lucas arrived here with a film crew to make the opening shots of his first (or fourth) Star Wars film. This is where Lukes Uncle and Aunt were killed after he went out to rescue R2D2. Matmata, about 40km South of Gabes, has a few of these homes still "standing" and occupied. One is now a hotel. We took a guide (Italian speaking only) and it is well worth it. Troglodytes of Matmata.
Inside a private Troglodyte home. The guide around Matmata is a must because he will take you into private homes. They can be arranged at the Matmata Tourist Info in town and cost very little. This is the kitchen of one of the dwellings. The layout is that all the rooms face onto a central courtyard called a Housh. They are amazingly cool, a constant 17 degrees Celsius, and offer some defense against raiding tribes.
This was taken on the day we were leaving Tunisia just before the Libyan border at Ras Adjir. 2604 km just to get to Cairo - bloody hell - how far is it then to Cape Town. The road along the Med is very good but does carry a lot of traffic.