Gazing at the desert for the first time is very similar to the first time you see the sea. But not a sea in August, full of people in the water, rather a calm sea in January, an empty, endless and silent beach. The desert seems to be the end of the populated world, kilometers of sand amidst a silence as great as the immensity of what the traveler has in front of him. But just any desert doesn’t achieve this, because they are usually rocky, gray plains or arid territories with scattered mountain ranges forming an oasis, such as Chebika, Tamerza, and Mides. In order to find the perfect desert, like the ones from Lawrence of Arabia or The English Patient, travelers must look for the so-called “Erg”. And it is present in the far east of Tunisia, stretching from Douz to Morocco. It is the so-called Grand Erg Oriental.
The Sahara is the biggest desert on the planet, covering 9 million square kilometers and occupying a third of the African continent. The Tunisian Erg is only a small part of the 11 countries that the Sahara spans. Hence its immensity, its infinite dunes which appear white, yellow, golden and red depending on the daylight, hence its changing shapes due to wind erosion, hence its magic. A magic that is seen by the visitor, as the Bedouins and Berbers who live in the region have to fight against the unrelenting advance of the sand: the desert advances an average of 30 centimeters per year.
Taking a trip to the desert and spending the night under the stars is something beyond your wildest dreams. There are all kinds of excursions: in buggies, on dromedaries, on horseback, on quads, in 4x4s, etc. there are even agencies that offer motorbike trips. On almost all of them you will feel as if you are on a movie set, a place which you will not only never forget but which will give you a new outlook on the idea of “immensity”.
Don’t miss: A visit to the real locations where Star Wars was filmed. The city of Mos Spa on the planet Tatooine, where Luke Skywalker lived, remain completely intact. You can even put on a tunic and wave a lightsaber, making a triumphant entrance to the Cantina. May the force be with you.
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