Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ROUND TRIP THROUGH TUNISIA 3 - Chott El Jerid, Tozeur



Chott el Djerid is a large salt lake in southern Tunisia and lies in the middle of Tunisia, close to the Algerian border. It is the largest salt pan of the Sahara. Due to the extreme climate with annual rainfall of only 100 mm and temperatures reaching 50 °C (122 F), water evaporates from the lake. In summer Chott el Djerid is almost entirely dried up, and numerous fata morganas occur.

Earlier, many caravans were lead astray by the mirages out on the chott. Souvenir stalls and cafés are found all along the causeway.

Chott el Djerid was also used as a filming location for the Star Wars series.



It was a fabulous view all along the road to the place we stopped.




Little shops and a "Normal Toilet" I think it was meant that it is a toilet we are used to and not a hole in the floor.



The views reminded me the "Death Valley" in the States which I had seen many years ago, but on a far smaller scale !



This man had a little desert fox for taking pictures with the tourists. I didn't do it, I pittied the little fox.



and then we saw the salt



From far away our bus in front of a range of souvenir shops.





Then I discovered sculptures made of things the artist had found in the desert



it looked quiet amazing







The sculptures were extremely well done and very creative !



There was a huge choice of sea roses (desert rose) and other souvenirs, but bones and dried animals weren't so much my taste. It would have been much nicer if our Tunisian guide hadn't mixed up the program or I don't know what he had in mind instead of arriving early we were there around 11 am when the sun was burning and we had 50°C (122 F) in the non existing shade !

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Tozeur in ancient times, before the advent of motorized vehicles, is an oasis and was important for the transportation through the Sahara, which took place in caravans. It also was an important Roman outpost.

In the medina (old city) of Tozeur, one can find traditional architecture, fashion and workmanship.
The old town is an exquisite example of the local brickwork. Mandated by the local government, the narrow streets, walls and facades were decorated with bricks, resulting in one of the most distinct and beautiful architectural styles of Tunisia. This work took more than 10 years to complete and really worthwhile to see.

You don't need to have a well filled wallet to find some cheap summer interesting find some cheap summer interesting getaways ideas !





Just after lunch, our guide took us to the Medina (old town) to also see the market. His sunburnt brain had forgotten that markets are only open in the mornings and all shops were closed because of the heat ! Again around 50°C !



The entrance where two curious locals admired the crazy tourists walking around in this heat !





We didn't see a single soul, not even a cat !



but the brickwork was just gorgeous. The museum was closed too of course.



The senile guide asked one souvenir shop owner to open his shop ! There were lots of things to buy and he even sold beautiful carpets, but we only went in because the shop was airconditioned and we got a free cup of tea while we had to attend a carpet display. Nobody bought anything, we only wanted to go back to our comfortable bus and drink water ! I think I never drank so much water, I felt like a camel.



We stopped for a drink at this beautiful place where it was not so hot, it also was an olive oil museum, but honnestly I didn't go, I prefered to rest with the others under the palm trees.

To be honest mid June is already too late to visit the South of Tunisia because of the heat !



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12 comments:

Fun60 said...

I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your Tunisian travels - especially about UG (useless guide). Do they harvest the salt?

sandra carlier said...

The last pictures with the palms is marvelous! The architecture is really interesting in the town you visited! Your guide should find another job! But you did a great trip! I understand the fact you say Juny isn't the best season to visit Tunisia. the beginning of the spring must me better why not so heat.

diane b said...

Those salt lakes are amazing. I loved the one in South Australia. I see the one in Tunisia also had the red colour due to a bacteria which grows in the warm water.
Your tour guide was a dud. fancy taking you places at the wrong time. I would have been hopping mad. The heat would have been awful too. However the scenery is exotic.

Gary said...

Great tour despite the hear. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Matkatar said...

Wow, amazing story and photos! I would like to go that kind of tour also. Once I have visited only in Tunis for one week. It was exotic.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

A fascinating post thanks for sharing your trip with us. Love the toilet block!

Maribeth said...

I just can't tolerate the heat. My feet and hands swell so badly. It is better for me to stay in colder climates.

A Lady's Life said...

Amazing things to see but that kind of heat would be terrible I think to walk in.
No wonder your guide was senile. He probably had heat stroke lol

Loree said...

50C! I would have died. It's bad enough here. I am already longing for rain.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Wow! What a wonderful trip. Love so much all photos! The photo DSCF1292-001, the brick wall is just amazing. Thanks fo sharing!

Black Jack's Carol said...

The poor little fox, the incredible sculptures, the (maybe inexperienced?) guide, the Star Wars landscapes, and the fact that maybe I could find a way to afford a trip like this - so many aspects of this post resonated with me. Thank you!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Sounds like the tour wasn't exactly perfect but you sure got some wonderful pictures! I had to go look up how hot 50 c is....wow!

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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