One of the things that Kais was very adament in showing me was the South of Tunisia, more specifically a part of their desert. My only part was “yes” or “no” when he would ask me: “would you like to visit this or this?” However, I kept having this feeling that maybe it would not be a great idea going knowing that I was pregnant. After all, 38-40 degrees weather, honestly, this girl from the northern part of Canada was not great in handling very hot destinations….especially pregnant. However, in the end I gave in to my curiosity and we drove 6 hours South of Sousse to the city of Tozeur.
What is interesting about Tunisia is you have different landscapes, while the North is colder and the East Coast borders the Sea, the South is where the desert lies.
We visited palm fields and date trees.
Tozeur is known to be the entry to the Sahara which goes deeper if you continue your drive South. It has one of the largest palm trees fields and production of dates that gets exported throughout the world. Let me tell you that this was very impressive to see!!
The dates are covered with the bags getting ready to send as soon as they are ripe (it takes about 3 months), as we were told on our visit.
Driving through the desert…
Watch out for camels crossing the highway in the desert! Being tourist we had to stop and take photos with them as proof… hahaha!
One afternoon and evening we had a private tour guide pick us up with his range rover and drive us into the desert. It was hot!! I did not know what to expect but I would strongly discourage any pregnant woman from doing a tour in the desert as it is very bumpy and hot. I was a little nervous because I thought the ride would have been much smoother since we were driving in sand. Not at all, the driver had to go really fast to prevent sinking. Ughhh! Needless to say, I was sick that night and the following days …
We went to Chebika and the mountain Oasis. It is has picturesque views!!! Chebika old town which is now in ruins was our first stop. We started with a 45 minutes hike, yep that’s right, at about 40 degrees!! The thing is that it is NOT kid friendly as the trail is very narrow and without our guide, we would have lost our way. Kais and I took our turn holding Sasha as it was too steep and slippery. He wanted to run and play with rocks. It was a major sweat session and doing it while pregnant was an extra challenge for me.
Then we continued in the desert about another 40 minute drive to the Stars Wars movie set. It is now abandoned by Hollywood but locals use it as a tourist attraction. Having seen most of these movies with my brother when I was younger, I obviously wanted to visit it.
We arrived at sunset and even went…well Kais and Sasha (I couldn’t since I was pregnant) on a camel ride. Sasha kept screaming “chameau!, chameau!” in french. He absolutely wanted to go and loved it while Kais found it very uncomfortable!
The most wonderful place we stayed in Tozeur.
In Tozeur we stayed at a “maison d’hôte” which usually is the best way to travel if you want to immerse yourself in the culture, as opposed to staying in hotels. It is similar to a bed and breakfast, local, intimate, usually friendly, but you may also have the option of adding a supper (as ours did) to your stay. They serve authentic Tunisian meals which is much better than hotel buffets! From the outside it looks like nothing but once you enter the house, you are transported into a perfectly decorated oasis. The best part about traveling during the low season (december-march is considered the high season for Canadian tourists) is that we had the entire house and swimming pool to ourselves and even got a free upgrade! I would truly recommend this place, Dar Tozeur, if you are in the area, even though it can be more expensive, it was well worth it as the service and quality is Oh So Good! When we arrived we were served a basket of local fruits, dates and I believe almond patisserie. One of my favorite things about visiting new areas is finding local gens like this one!
Until next time ….
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