Tozeur is the largest Tunisian oasis, and one of the most charming towns in the country. This can be seen in the winding streets in the center of the town, with its characteristic brick designs, in the suq, not as overwhelming as many other Arabic markets, and in its vast palm grove, with a surface area of more than 1,000 hectares and live demonstrations of the date collection, the main local product.
This is Tozeur, in the Djérid region, in Southern Tunisia, which in December hosts the International Oasis Festival, which reproduces the celebrations held by the ancient nomadic peoples. The first ones took place in 1938 under the name of the Palm Festival, but were interrupted by World War Two. The festival restarted after the Independence, in the late 50s. And it became an international festival in 1991.
Tozeur is a perfect place to enjoy the dunes in comfortable 4×4 vehicles, walk by white salt lakes, visit the mountain oases and their incredible waterfalls, enjoy starry skies, view the majestic Atlas mountain range, and visit the landscape where “Star Wars” and “The English Patient” were shot.
A trip to the Chebika mountain oases will take you to a rocky desert with a palm grove in a gorge with various water sources. The oases are accessed through steep steps, so tread carefully! Oases in desert areas are generated by large underground aquifers. The impressive Midès canyons are worth a visit at sunset: the earth opens up and visitors can go trekking. On your way back, you shoudn’t miss sunset, at about five, in Chott El Jérid, the salt lakes with their vast, glinting white fields, and the reflection of the last sunrays upon them. Take care not to slip as you walk and to wear sufficient sunscreen, as the refraction of sunlight on the salt is 35%. Viewing them from the road is also wonderful.
You can also go shopping in town: the atmosphere is very peaceful and you won’t be bothered, although haggling is mandatory: if you don’t haggle, sellers will almost be upset. How far down can you go? At least down to half the price. The best purchases are dates, desert roses, slippers, crafts, silver, pipes, antiques, carpets, fabrics… A paradise of Tunisian souvenirs!
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