Tamerza: Sahara Trip Day 1
One of the reasons for this visit to Tunisia was to go south and see the Sahara dessert. After 9 months and one revolution, we decided it was time to make the trip.
We picked up our hire car on Monday morning and set off bright and early. We packed some sleeping bags in case it was cold in the desert as well as a cool box to keep water cool in the daytime. All eventualities were covered!
The first part of our journey was our favourite road down to Kairouan (well it must be our favourite road, every time we hire a car we seem to go this way!!)
One of the pot stalls on the way to Kairouan – unfortunately the picture doesn’t show how sparkly they are!
We passed quite a few trucks with various loads.
A couple of sheep off on a mystery tour L
Our first big town in the South was Gafsa. We were aware the curfew had been re-imposed in this town yesterday
to quell some recent troubles, however we saw no problems.
Arriving in Gafsa
We just drove through Gafsa – the town itself was really just another Tunisian town with not much to see. Once through Gafsa we turned off the main road and headed into the hills. At this point Anne was driving. As she was driving on the twisty windy road through the mountains admiring the view, she turned to look out of the side window and had a shock to see a Policeman on a motorbike riding next to the car. Once he realised we were not Tunisian or Algerian, he waved us on as he and his friend overtook us.
The road into the hills is on the right – there is a pipeline on the left.
Once in the hills we went to Mides. We paid a guide to show us around, as there aren’t too many tourists finding their way here at the moment. Mides has a Palmeraie, a rather spectacular gorge, and a border crossing to Algeria. We were only a few hundred meters from Algeria at this point.
The Tunisian/Algerian Border – you can see the fencing at the border. The white part of the building is Algerian, the darker part is Tunisian.
.. and the Palmeraie
As we didn’t get kidnapped by the Algerian rebels we carried on to Tamerza (in Tunisia!!) We had a choice of Hotels here and after an early start and 7 hours of driving we were ready to stop. The hotel choice was the 4 star Tamerza Palace or the run down Cascades (the Lonely planet guide book described the rooms as “not worth the price” and at £10 a night per room that’s not a good recommendation!!).
We opted for a bit of luxury to get the trip off to a good start. As we got near to Tamerza we were rather confused by the sight of a tennis court in the middle of desert, with nothing else around. As we carried on we realised it was the tennis court for the Tamerza Palace Hotel. The Hotel was fantastic. The setting was just beautiful, overlooking the old town of Tamerza and the pool was very inviting. We had meant to go and explore Tamerza but decided to stay in the hotel for the evening instead. We had a very relaxing evening and a wonderful meal. The hotel was fairly quiet with only 11 other guests, so the staff were very attentive.
Hotel Tamerza Palace - pool
Sitting/Lounging area of our room at Tamerza Palace Hotel
The hotel was beautifully decorated with large wooden door leading to the bedrooms – shame about the guest!!
The view from our room was of the old town of Tamerza
We had an early night ready for an early start the next day. The hotel was brilliant even if it did cost more for one night than the total of the next 4 nights!