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Tunisia

Author kintante
Registered
#1 | Posted: 3 May 2018 07:39 
Tunisia is a nice hotspot to tick off a few WHS in around a week. A few travel tips:

Stay and travel around
If you are only there for the WHS, Tunis is clearly the place to stay. You could see all WHS within day trips from Tunis. Most are close to the African Highway. Only Dougga and Kerkuane are off. We stayed half of the time in Port El Kantaoui near Sousse to combine it with beach holidays. Be aware that you will cross the "all inclusive crowd" there. Go for quality, when I filtered in Kantaoui for hotels with an 8+ rating on booking.com, around 95% disappeared.

Driving will save you a lot of time or money, if you have the skills to drive in a no rules country. The public transport system is not good at all. Almost no trains, only buses. But there are taxis everywhere, even in the most remote places. Locals mostly do hitch hiking. Not sure if that is a save option for foreigners. There is road pricing, but fares are very low. Around 1 TDH per pay station.

Internet & money
There are booths at Tunis airport for every mayor phone company. I bought a data only SIM from Ooredoo for only 11 TDH with 2GB included. Enough to be always online. Coverage is quite good in the country. I was never offline.
Tunisia is quite cheap, but you should always have some cash from the start. Count 20 TDH in a good restaurant per meal and around 10 or less for a local place.

Weather
Just like Morocco, Tunisia is not a sunshine only country. Weather can change fast. There is lots of cloud movement and I had to time my visits to get sunny sky pictures. Temperature in April varied between 20 and 30. Pools and the sea were too cold for me personally, so I only used an indoor pool. I January I had already canceled a trip due to bad (cloudy) weather. If you want sun for sure, I guess it would be better to go in Summer. But then, temperatures are rather too high to wander around stones.

WHS
All WHS can easily be covered within one week. If you have to select, I would skip Kerkuane and Ichkeul. Dougga is a must, as it is the best site in Tunisia. Ticket prices are usually 7 TDH + 1 TDH for picture license. None of the WHS were overrun by tourists, so you can enjoy them almost for yourself. Be aware of touts and shop owners in the Medinas, that could ruin your fun.

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#2 | Posted: 15 May 2018 03:56 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Thanks for that kintante, and I'm enjoying reading the reviews as well.

It has now been almost 14 years since I visited, but looking online some of the things I learnt still seem relevant.

I visited all the sites (except Lake Ichkeul, though I did go further down to Matmata in the Sahara) in a 10 day trip covering everything by public transport, and managed to fit in the WHS plus quite a lot more on a pretty relaxed schedule.

Trains
Whilst the Trains are pretty limited, I found them useful, mostly for one long haul trip from Tunis down to Gabes (T-List) which gave access to the Saharan hinterland or onwards to the Island of Jerba (T-list). I did it on a decent overnight train, though I see the timetable has changed a little so doing it the opposite way round is a more practical process now if you want an overnight journey.

We also used trains for a couple of the short haul trips, between Tunis - Carthage, Sousse - Monastir (former T-list) and Sfax (T-list) - El Jem.

Other Public transport
The bits that weren't served by trains we filled in with a mix of Busses and Minibus Share Taxis (Louage). The scheduled busses took us out to Dougga and Kairouan, everything else was done by Louage. These Minibus Share Taxis were excellent, flexible and cost effective, there have been innumerable times since that I wished every country had an equivalent form of transport. They were particularly useful in getting out to Kerkuane.

My most memorable things from Tunisia

Dougga
Yep certainly agree this is the finest site in the country. Also keep an eye out for the Punic Mauseloeum in the field below the Theatre as this is part of the T-List site (Les Mausolées Royaux de Numidie, de la Maurétanie et les monuments funéraires pré-islamiques) I'm not sure how it stacks up against Leptis Magma in neighbouring Libya (when we arrived in Gabes they had day trips available in 2004, though visa issues meant us Brits weren't able to join them at that time, I don't know if this is possible now).

Kerkuane
I think Kintante's review is pretty fair on Kerkuane and broadly chimes with what I saw. However it looks like I have fonder memories, and I think that is because I visited having spent a night in nearby Kelibia rather than seeing it after a long return car journey.
To me this was a highlight, the slow evening in a quiet town at the end of the Cap Bon Peninsular, going to visit a small remote site telling a distinct story of the country was so enjoyable because it felt very removed. As such I think if you are picking it up on a road trip it may not be as rewarding.

Matmata
It may be slightly touristy, but how many times can you say you stayed in a troglodyte dwelling under the Sahara? Extra bonus points that it is also the childhood home of Luke Skywalker. The food at Hotel Sidi Driss was great when we stayed.

Harissa
This Glorious deep red chilli paste was served with a baguette as a starter with pretty much every meal we ate, this should be adopted universally.

Friendly
At the time of my visit Tunisia was the friendliest country I had ever been to. Looking back hassle levels were much lower than they were in Morocco, with the only real issues coming around the more traditional holiday resort of Port el-Kantaoui.

Author clyde
Registered
#3 | Posted: 17 May 2018 11:29 
Thanks guys! I'll surely make use of your tips once I'm a bit less busy. I'll definitely look into the possibility of visiting Leptis Magna if I venture further south in Tunisia, even though the security situation in Libya might be an issue.

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