The Amazigh Ksours, known also as Berber Ksours, are a must-see during your trip to Tunisia.  The beautiful architecture of Ksour rises up before you in the middle of a parched and hilly terrain peppered with plateaus and jagged peaks. In Arabic language, “ksour” means castles. The singular of “ksour” is “ksar”. 

 

When we speak about “ksour” in North Africa, we are referring to  "desert castles" that are tucked away in the middle of nowhere and resemble enormous rock-colored beehives, were once gathering places for the area's semi-nomadic people who stored their harvest there, safe from looters, in overlapping store rooms known as "ghorfas." 

 

Some Ksour are communities perched atop impregnable hills, such as those at Chenini and Douiret. Their "ghorfas" are in ruins, and the residences are partially dug out of the rock walls. The ruins merge seamlessly with the mountaintops. Even now, people still speak Amazigh. 

 

In this article we tell you how and from where to access these gems of Medenine and Tataouine.

Ksar Hallouf

From Tunis, take the road towards Medenine. 44 minutes later, head in the direction of Tataouine, following the signs to Beharya then Ksar Hallouf. 

On a rocky outcrop, Ksar Hallouf remains far away from mass tourism. All around the village of Beni Khedache, you will find exceptional mountain landscapes worth the visit alone. 

ksar hadada zammour

Ksar Khrachfa 

18 minutes from Ksar Hallouf and in the region of Beni Khedache, your second destination is Ksar Khrachfa. Not well-known, this ksar dominates a hill, offering a great view of the surrounding areas. Some ghorfas here remain in good condition, although most have unfortunately collapsed over time. 

Ksar Jouamaa

16 minutes away from Ksar Khrachfa, Ksar Jouamaa is a defensive site located on a steep hill. Composed of two superimposed floors, sometimes 3, the ghorfas are arranged in an irregular rectangular shape. With a traditional oil mill and two cisterns, Ksar Jouamaa is a friendly and welcoming tourist destination, which also offers a restaurant and a café. 

Ksar Ouerjijen

From Ksar Jouamaa, take the C113 direction and continue this way, turning right after 9 kilometers. The road is only 22 minutes to your next destination: Ksar Ouerjijen.

This ksar is located in a plain near a village. No constraint of accessibility here, this is easy access. Unlike the mountain ksours, Ksar Ouerjijen is easy to access and offers a great view of the entire region.

Ksar Hadada

28.8 kilometers and 34 minutes away from Ksar Jouamaa lies your next destination. Passing through the village of Beni Khedach, continue your way until you reach Ksar Hadada. 

The ghorfas and the rounded domes give a particular Berber architecture to Ksar Hadada. We recommend that you climb on the terraces to enjoy this breathtaking panorama. 

Ksar Temzaït 

12 minutes away from Ksar Hadada lies Ksar Temzaït, a ksar far from the rest of the world. Hidden from the rest of the world, with hardly any tourists, it is a place filled with calm and serenity. Far from the beaten track, Ksar Temzaït is a hidden gem that you will love.

Ksar Temzait

Ksar Laaraf 

Our next destination is 19 kilometers from Ksar Temzaït, meaning a mere 25-minute drive. Practical, isn't it? 

Above the valley of oued Graguer, Ksar Laaraf is one of the less frequented ksours of Tunisia. Near Ksar Bayouli, you will find many ghorfas. Unfortunately abandoned, some ghorfas have even lost their doors. This does not take anything away from the beauty of this magnificent site, which is really worth a visit. 

Ksar Bouyali Oued Guerguer

Take the south-west direction and find yourself in front of Ksar Bouyali Oued Guerguer, a mere 9 minutes away from Ksar Laaraf. This ksar includes several ghorfas in good state of conservation, whose unique architecture is a history lesson in itself. A wonderful panorama of the whole region awaits you on the site.

ksar ouled bou ali

Ksar Zhahfa

On a rocky spur, your next address is located 7 minutes from Ksar Bouyali Oued Guerguer. By passing this oued, take the 1st exit of the roundabout and drive in the direction of this small and perfect wonder. 

With a characteristic triangular shape, Ksar Zhahfa includes several ghorfas distributed mostly on one floor. As it is not very known or frequented by tourists, you are more than likely to strike a conversation with one of the inhabitants, who will gladly teach you the history of this splendid ksar. 

Ksar Aouadid

From Ksar Zhahfa, follow the road to Zayatine, Ksar El Mourabtine towards Maztouria. After 50 minutes, you will find yourself in front of one of the magnificent ksours in the country. 

Built on a hill overlooking the valley of the wadi Zondag, Ksar Aouadid is richly decorated. The troglodytic dwellings bring it an undeniable charm. You will find ghorfas with two and even three floors, which is rare in most ksours. 

Copyright: Colin Hepburn from Sale, UK — Maztouria

Ksar Daghara

Just next to Ksar Aouadid, 3 minutes away in fact, Ksar Daghara is located on a hill overlooking a valley. Accessible via a staircase, you will enjoy the calm of the region as well as the fresh air in a purely Berber setting in the middle of ghorfas. Enjoy this breathtaking landscape from the windows of the ghorfas.

Ksar Tounket

6 kilometers away from Ksar Aouadid and Ksar Daghara, Ksar Tounket is your next destination. While heading west, continue straight towards Maztouria. 

Ksar Tounket is round in shape, which gives a really original character to this ksar. You will observe an exceptional landscape at 360 degrees, near several oil mills and the Bouhaouach mosque. 

ksar tounket tataouine

Ksar Gattoufa

From Ksar Tounket, take the road towards the Tataouine center and continue your way towards the Gattoufa village  to visit the ksar. 19 kilometers, or 28 minutes further, you will find yourself in front of a large Berber village. 

Not far from Ksar Jlidet, which is on the roadside, Ksar Gattoufa is located in a truly spectacular environment. In the heart of the village, this ksar showcases the remarkable beauty of Gattoufa, without any topographical constraints. 

tataouine hike

 

Ksar Chouline

From Ksar Gattoufa, continue straight towards Cité Ettahrir until you reach Ksar Chouline. A short 25-minute drive brings you directly to this little frequented ksar. 

Ksar Chouline presents a multitude of ghorfas, which allows you to visit these small hiding places in this incredible setting. We recommend that you take a tour of the surroundings and discover the ruins.

You May Also Want to Read: 3 Amazing Road Trips to do in South Tunisia

Ksar El Mourabitine

Your next wonderful destination is 13 minutes away from Ksar Chouline, on the road from Tataouine to Ghomrassen. Arriving at the ruin of a Qalaa, near a mosque, you will find Ksar El Mourabitine dominating a hill. 

Ksar El Mourabitine has about 180 ghorfas arranged on 2, 3, or even 5 floors. Contrary to other Ksours, the charm of Ksar El Mourabitine lies in the fact that most of its ksours are maintained in a good state of conservation.

 ksar mourabitin tunisia south

 

Ksar Tlalet

Almost a 16 minutes drive away from Ksar El Mourabitine, Ksar Tlalet is located in the center of the Tlalet oasis. In this beautiful and hilly landscape, the mosque and the marabout of Sidi Chahbane are located right next to the ksar. Mostly one-story ghorfas, they are almost all covered with wooden doors. 

Ksar El Ferch

9 minutes further from your previous destination, another rather particular ksar awaits you. Ksar El Ferch belongs to the plain ksours near the road from Tataouine to Ghomrassen.

230 meters wide and with about 280 ghorfas and a traditional oil mill, it is a unique wonder, not to be missed. The particularity of Ksar El Ferch lies in it’s spectacularly spacious courtyard.

You May Also Want to Read: Why to Opt for a Stay in a Guesthouse in the Southern Tunisia

food tour tataouine

Ksar Mgabla

Ksar Mgable is located a bare 17 minutes from Ksar El Ferch. So close !

Despite its age, this ksar has kept most of its original character, which is something that can lack in the most heavily restored ksours. In perfect condition, the inhabitants still use the courtyard of Ksar Mgabla often, thanks to its easy accessibility from the village.

Ksar Ouled Debbab

9 kilometers away from Ksar Mgabla, Ksar Ouled Debbab is a large collective granary with two courtyards. This Ksar includes a museum on Islamic and Berber art as well as the ghorfas. 

Have a coffee in the local hotel, where you can also spend the night, and enjoy this authentic architecture. 

Ksar Ouled Debbab

Ksar Chgeyeg

In the plain of Djeffara, Ksar Chgeyeg is located 1 hour and 36 minutes from Ksar Ouled Chebab. Unlike Al Qasr Al Jadid, this site has an oval shape, which is very rare for a ksour, which is usually rectangular. It gives you this amazing feeling of being surrounded everywhere by ghorfas. 

Ksar Ghilane

A little further down the road lies Ksar Ghilane, which is truly a must-visit. Between Douz and Tataouine, this wild place in the south of the oasis, which is really worth the detour, is located approximately 2 hours away.

The oasis of Ksar Ghilane is located at the limit of the Grand Erg and at the doors of the Sahara. It is becoming more and more touristic, so we recommend that you enjoy and take a ride in the dunes on the back of a dromedary. An experience not to be missed!

 

The ksours of southern Tunisia, a symbol of authenticity

 

The Berber ksours of southern Tunisia are one of the major curiosities and must-see for the amateurs of photography and discovery off the beaten track. The origin of these magnificent granaries is still very unknown. 

 

Even if some of these wonders are preserved in good condition, many are unfortunately in ruins. All you have to do now is take your camera and your backpack, and come discover the ksours of southern Tunisia for an unforgettable trip!