Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Desert Dream Renowned for Its Sandy Beaches and; Renowned for Its Sandy Beaches and Party Atmosphere, Sarah Rainey Heads to Tunisia and Discovers Why There's More to It Than Summer Fun

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Desert Dream Renowned for Its Sandy Beaches and; Renowned for Its Sandy Beaches and Party Atmosphere, Sarah Rainey Heads to Tunisia and Discovers Why There's More to It Than Summer Fun

Article excerpt

My holiday WHEN a camel licks your face on the first day of holiday, you know it's going to be a trip like no other.

We'd only been in Tunisia one night when Mahmoud the camel decided to get acquainted, and -drooling aside - his unassuming charm set the tone for the rest of the week.

Despite some reservations about visiting Tunisia in late November, we discovered that with fewer tourists and calmer temperatures, it's a great time to get to know a country rich in culture and vibrant with life.

Our winter getaway took us to the quiet resort of Djerba situated on "the island of 10,000 palms", connected by road to the Tunisian mainland of northern Africa. With lush palm trees situated everywhere it certainly lives up to its name, and is about as tropical as you can get for a three hour flight from the UK.

Aquamarine waters fringed by ribbons of white sand make Djerba every tourist's dream, but this Tunisian oasis offers a bit more than the typical winter sun package.

From sweet smelling spice markets to inspiring architecture, there's an intriguing mix of Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions, with an African twist.

Legend has it Djerba was the island of the Lotus Eaters from the Greek myth of Odysseus, and since then has been influenced by Roman, Sicilian, Spanish, French and Ottoman cultures.

Dramatic landscape Its tourist trade, which suffered in the aftermath of the Ghriba synagogue bombing in April 2002, is now booming, with more than 120 hotels on the island and tourists flocking yearly from all over Europe. Temperatures range between 20C in winter and 40C in summer, which lasts from April to October.

Unlike the westernised cities in the north of Tunisia, Djerba is mostly unspoilt, and its red desert landscape is peppered with Mediterranean-style whitewashed houses, olive trees and farmland.

And the dramatic landscape on the nearby mainland draws thousands of visitors for another reason: this stretch of mountainous desert was made famous by film-maker George Lucas when it became the location for his Star Wars movies.

Populated by the indigenous Berber people, the desert is accessible by car from Djerba and a guided tour around the local villages will take you back to those famous movie moments and give you an opportunity to absorb an ancient way of life.

Closer to our resort, there were also lots of lovely local excursions on offer. Taking a tour of the resort of Djerba offers an insight into the island's quaint but lively culture. From the fishing haven of Zarzis to the pottery village of Guellela, a tour will take no more than a morning's leisurely drive through the main sights.

Impressive museums Or if you've got a day to spare, you could take a trip on one of the spectacular tall ships at the Port de Plaisance, which leave daily at 9am for a tour of the bay and nearby Pink Flamingo Island. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.