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Tozeur is one of the desert fringe cities that ring the northern edge of the Grand Erg Oriental, and is very near to the Algerian border. I didn't wander too far out of town, then...

I figured Tozeur would be a good point to finish off my trip into darkest desert Tunisia, so I crossed the Chott el-Jerid salt lake from Douz by louage, changing at Kebili on the way. From there it was about 9 hours by train straight back into Tunis.

Chott el Jerid

Chott el Jerid is a large salt flat which occupies a sizeable portion of southern Tunisia. It is almost never full of water, and today was no exception, but had there been a flash flood we would have been protected by the road being on top of an embankment.

Some of the salt is still visible on the lake bed, and, as you'd expect, there's the skeleton of a bus in the background. Perhaps they took a wrong turn.

Chott el Jerid


Fancy brickwork in the medina of Tozeur, which was monumentally confusing.

I eventually found my way out of the medina maze, into a sort of market place. This is the local Avenue Habib Bourgiba.

Horse man

Orson Cart

Tozeur had plenty of traditional elements, like horses and carts, going around.

I took a wander to the west of town, to check out the music park. On the way there were some folk having fun with the scarce water the town has.



Tozeur's music park was another strange place, although it kept to its theme with large model violins etc.

They've even got their own version of Mount Rushmore here - featuring the repeated face on all four sides of perhaps Tunisia's most famous poet, Echebbi.

Faces of Echebbi

Face of Echebbi

The faces give the place a bizarre feel, but they're very well done and blend in with the rock nicely. They are in fact made of fibreglass.

One of the Echebbis had a hole in the back of his head, so it was possible to have a glimpse inside...

Inside Echebbi


There was also a quite impressive eagle statue, and a few real camels wandering around.

From the top of Mount Echebbi I could see the hard work going on to expand Tozeur's golf course out into the Sahara. A small but well proportioned canyon runs through it.



The following morning at 6am it was time to head back to Tunis, on the only train that day from the Gare de Tozeur.

The train looked worryingly rustic from the outside, but was in fact quite comfy inside.


Chott el Jerid

The train skirts the edge of Chott el Jerid again, this alien landscape was also used in Star Wars, with an extra moon superimposed above it.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2008