Tunisian sahara is a true gem. A visit to these areas gives an experience like no other. In the center of the Sahara, you can find chotts, hot springs and oasis and indulge in hiking activities and cultural tours. 

Wildyness guides you to recommend some activities and places you need to mark in your plan. 

Visit Nefta, Douz and The Oasis of Chebika

Explore Douz 

The Douz region provides one of the most peaceful approaches to the desert, with its delicate white mantle evoking a scene blanketed in snow. The highways that the sand gradually reclaims are surrounded by elegant bouquets of palm trees and dunes.

The huge, golden desert is right here, and the palm trees nearby provide delicious resting spots in the shade of date palm groves. 

Discover the Other Side of the South 

Tozeur and Nefta, towns that emerge from the desert and are forced up against enormous palm trees, astound, enchant, are able to immerse tourists in an incredible setting. Between the tall façades and golden-colored brickwork in the old quarters' winding streets, the blazing light of the Sahara shines.

Around the ancient town of Tozeur, palaces, theme parks, and museums have flourished. Numerous domes in Nefta point to saints' tombs that are situated above an oasis that is contained within a basin known as the Basket. The Saharan dune system is only a few kilometers distant.

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Get Lost in a Tunisian Oasis 

Time to explore the Oasis of Chebika. Located near the Djebel el Negueb mountains and in an area with a small population, the Oasis offers you the slow and quiet moments you need to disconnect, detox and relax.

Once serving the Romans as an outpost and Amazigh as a refuge, the Oasis has a unique landscape combining a rocky mountain, a crystal blue river and green palms. Hike toward the mountain so you can enjoy the view of all of this as well as Chott Jerid, a salt pan. 

 

chebika oasis

Visit Old Movies Sites 

Mos Espa

The abandoned movie set known as Mos Espa was built to represent a desolate spaceport in a  far away galaxy. It is located between two salt lakes, the massive Chott El Djerid and the smaller Chott El Gharsa. If you're a fan of Star Wars, Mos Espa is a "must-see" because of the fantastical scenery and compelling otherworldly constructions.

Even if you're not a fan of the movies, it's still a fantastic visit. You don’t always have the opportunity to visit an abandoned film site left intact. 

Movies and Mos Epsa

Mos Epsa, one of the main spaceports in Star Wars, is shown in the films as a lively town filled with the everyday activities of many aliens from throughout the galaxy.

We are informed in the film that the site is on a far-off planet known as Tatooine, which served as home to hero Anakin Skywalker from Episodes I, II, and III. The planet was named after the Tunisian town, Tatouine. 

Lars Homestead

One of several ancient Tunisian relics from a distant galaxy is Lars Homestead. The inconspicuous building served as the original movie set for hero Luke Skywalker's house, who served as the series' major protagonist in later episodes as well as the original Star Wars film trilogy.

Lars Homestead and Movies

For all Star Wars buffs, the tiny dome, which can be found in the Eastern region not far from the town of Nefta, is an amazing residence abandoned in the middle of the desert after the Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope film team arrived in Tunisia in 1976.

 

tozeur sahara tunisia

Spend a night at Camp Mars 

Climb a dune in the heart of the Sahara and watch a stunning sunset over the crimson sands. Seize the magic of the sahara to the fullest by gazing at the star-filled sky after a fantastic meal with your folks. This dream-like night is what you need not only to spice up your journey but also to make your trip memorable and immersive.

In the morning, get up early to capture the sun’s rays as they emerge from behind the sand dunes and usher in yet another sweltering Sahara Desert day. Explore the world on a camelback, a 4x4 or quad bike, or test your sandboarding prowess.

authentic dinner in the sahara tunisia

 

Take a Camel Trekking Tour 

Once you hop a camel, you will sense the power of the vastness of the unforgiving landscape, the sand's ever-changing colors, and the extreme quiet.

Overpowering, yet calming. Usually, you will find dromedaries and not camels as none of them are two-humped. If you’re uncomfortable with riding a camel, you need to check your tour operators and ask them the questions you need answers for before making your decision.

Besides this, you can expect an amazing immersive experience where you live back the days when north africans made strong bonds with camels culminating in more than 5000 years of domestication. 

Visit the Viewpoint of Sidi Bouhlel 

From Tozeur, head to Deguech governorate to visit Bouhlel canyons. This less-known destination will take you back in time where the large orange landscape and slow life reign. In a deserted alley lies two marbouts Sidi Bouhlel and Sidi Ben Abess, who were both saint men who taught religion and spirituality to their people.

If you have enough time, a hike is a great activity to do to explore this filming site where Goerge Lucas and Anthony Minghella filmed some scenes for their movies Star Wars and English Patient. Those who are into geology and paleontology, this is a must-go place. 

 

bouhlel hike

Visit Chott Jerid

Sebkha or Sabkha is an Arabic word denoting a salt ban. Chott Jerid is one of the most famous sabkha in Tunisia and it’s deemed to be the largest salt lake in Africa.

Dominated by the Saharan Atlas mountain range, Chott Jerid is located in a very interesting geographical location between the algerian borders and the gulf of Gabes. Here, you can enjoy the landscape while you gaze over this salty landscape with its mirages above the horizon.

djerid experience

Visit Troglodyte Houses of Matmata, Tamezret and Toujane

Matmata lies near the city of Gabes, close to the Sahara desert and the Dahar Mountains. It was used as a backdrop for Star Wars. Star Wars fans will surely enjoy visiting the Sidi Driss hotel, used as Luke Skywalker’s home, which still welcomes guests today.

The hotel has multiple props used in the film as well as photographs of George Lucas, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on display.

The troglodyte village of Matmata is located in the Gabès Governorate near the Sahara and the chain of Dahar mountains. While urbanization has touched the new Matmata, the village continues to exist and indigenous tribes still live in there maintaining many aspects of their authentic lifestyle.

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As one of the most famous berber villages, Matmata has buildings built within the mountain and connected via passageways and courtyards.

Unlike Matmamta, Tamezret, our next destination, is largely abandoned, and its stone cottages are in disrepair.In the village, there is a Berber Museum that tells the story of the village, its tradition and its contribution in the country’s independence.

After Matmamta and Tamezret, it’s time to explore Toujane and get the most of your Amazigh experience. Toujane hosts one of the most unique troglodyte houses with underground buildings and sandy colors.

In these troglodyte houses, make sure to combine your visit with a hike.

Explore Midès Canyons 

It is essential to visit the Midès Canyons to say confidently: “I visited a hidden gem in Tunisia”.  

This village is one of Tunisia's most stunning highland oases and hosts a breathtaking gorge that spans for three kilometers. The spherical forms and striking color contrasts of the throat make it stand out. One can see millions-old fossils and colorful minerals in these gorges with desert landscapes.

Historically speaking, the old Midès, which is situated on the Saharan lines that connect Tebessa to Gafsa, was utilized by the Romans to employ mirrors to warn of approaching invaders.

It is roughly sixty kilometers from Tozeur and ten kilometers from Tamerza away from the Tunisian-Algerian border.

Relax for One Day in a Traditional Guesthouse

Visiting the Sahara can be hectic and daunting. There are some venues en-route to the desert where you can stay, take a deep breath and take a rest. Guesthouses are a great option for travelers who want to seize the opportunity to mingle with locals, explore authentic gastronomy and contribute to the local economy.

Depending on where you want to take this day off, you can opt for Hotel Sidi Driss, Dar Abou Habibi, Dar Hi, and more. 

 

Try the Traditional Sahara Food

Mbakbka with Meat

Mbkaba with meat is one of the famous foods in South Tunisia. Usually prepared by singles and men who spend nights in the middle of the desert,  it is quick to prepare and has many nutritional benefits, because it contains starches, proteins and other important nutrients. If you’re a vegetarian, you can have mbakbka with veggies. 

Mtabga 

One of the must eat sahara foods is mtabga. Mtabga is the tunisian version of pizza or pancake.  As an authentic and traditional food, it’s always home made and prepared according to the original recipes. It is made out of semolina and stuffed with onion, tomatoes, harissa and sometimes meat fat.

Make sure to communicate your preferences in terms of spiciness. 

Chakhchouka

Chakhchouka and chakchouka are sometimes taken to be the same dish. But, they are not. - Chakchouka is a kind of vegetable-based ratatouille. Chakhchoukha is a typical  dish prepared in Nefta. It is made from semolina dough cooked in a pan and cut into small pieces, served with meat from lamb, broad beans and chickpeas, all drizzled with tomato sauce.

 

food tunisia sahara

Frequently Asked Questions about Tunisian Sahara

When is the Best Time to Visit Tunisia Desert?

The best seasons to visit the Sahara are spring, fall or winter for the most bearable temperatures. By choosing the winter month, you need to be sure about bearing the chilly nighttime temperatures that you can experience outside in December and January.

In Summer (from June to August), you don’t want to feel the high summer heat where temperatures can reach 40 to 45 degrees. The ideal period is the months from October to May.

How to Get to the Tunisia Desert? 

There is no direct connection from Tunis to the desert. But, Douz can serve as a great starting point for all meaningful excursions into the desert, despite the fact that the Sahara can be reached from virtually anyplace in southern Tunisia.

Douz, the Sahara's Entrance

The Sahara Desert is beyond the shaded palm palms that surround the village of Douz. Before heading into the desert, one can acquire fruit and nuts, especially dates, which will provide much-needed sustenance.

Coming to Douz from Other Nations

Tozeur-Nefta International Airport is a nice choice for tourists flying into Tunisia from abroad. A shared minibus taxi called a "louage" can take you from here to Douz; the trip takes around two hours.

Arriving at Douz from another Tunisian location

There are various local transportation alternatives accessible for those traveling to the Sahara from elsewhere in Tunisia, including train, bus, louage, and taxi. Visitors should research their best options based on where they are departing from.

What to Pack for Tunisia Desert? 

Comfortable clothes

Comfortable shoes - avoid sandals

A heavier jacket - depending on the season 

A hat - for sun and humidity 

A long scarf - in case there is wind, or you feel you need to cover more skin

Flashlight - useful for toilet trips or nighttime dune climbing. Usually, there is a shared restroom next to the camp area at the less expensive sites.

Power bank - access to energy is limited. You will need your phone even though 3G or 4G is not that solid in the desert camps so you may take pictures or use it as a flashlight.

Sunscreen - the sun can be very strong even in the winter. Before the camel ride or your tour in the sahara, apply sunscreen or make sure your face is covered with a scarf.

Sufficient water to drink (at least 2 liters each).

Wet wipes to clean up and get rid of sand before bed.

The bump or runner’s belt- a very handy accessory anywhere you go. Put your money and phone in there so you can move easily and do physician activities smoothly.

 

Tunisian Desert, a Great Choice for an Immersive Experience

Tunisia is a wonderfully amazing location to explore with its vivid colors, cacophony of sounds, mild sun, the aromas of the spice markets, and countless of exotic sights.

This exceptional North African nation blends a breathtaking natural environment with distinctive architecture, a vibrant culture, and warm-hearted inhabitants. It is now more understandable why Tunisian desert excursions are a well-liked travel choice.

From Tozeur to Matmata, you can explore hidden gems while traveling back in time where life is slow and calm.